Mumbai, 06 May 2022 0:30 IST
Created and directed by Dnyanesh Zoting, the SonyLIV series starring Sai Tamhankar and Lalit Prabhakar is a refreshing, informative take on the joys (and stresses) of living with animals.
In the sweet and charming series Pet Puraan (Pet Chronicles), Aditi (Sai Tamhankar) and Atul (Lalit Prabhakar) are a modern Mumbai couple who also happen to be without children. At the baby shower of her younger sister Anjali (Deepti Lele), the two are faced with probing questions from relatives about when they will add a child to their family.
Aditi and Atul, who are financially secure and have been married for a while now, see no need to procreate just because society expects them to. But what’s a carbon footprint to do when it goes up against the traditional Maharashtrian family?
The couple do look into the possibility of children, but when they spend time with friends who have a boisterous young son, they decide against it. Another good friend Parag (Rushi Manohar) asks them to petsit his cat Godakka and Aditi decides she wants to get a cat home.
Meanwhile, Atul wants a dog, having been denied one by his father when he was a child. Somehow they agree on getting a pet. Created and directed by Dnyanesh Zoting, the series wonderfully shows the couple's journey into pet parenthood as they explore different avenues of pet ownership.
Pet Puraan comes from a place of great affection and love for animals and it shows in the work the makers have put into the show. Aditi and Atul research and look into buying pets, and discover the horrors of breeding and puppy mills.
They come across an NGO run by Miss D’Souza (Rasika Agashe) who enlightens them about abandoned pets and their traumas. This largely has to do with our society’s obsession with breeds, and also with puppies and kittens. Miss D’Souza rightly points out that no one really wants to adopt adult dogs; everyone wants cute puppies.
Aditi and Atul, who are naive and inexperienced in this matter, grow up as a neat little turn of events brings Baku the kitten, played by Banku the cat, and a golden retriever named Vyanku, played by Buddy the dog, into their lives. They face sleepless nights and wrestle with disciplining the two in the household.
But pretty soon, the two have taken over their lives and hearts. Even their interfering mothers (Pournima Manohar and Asmita Ajgaonkar) accept them as their ‘grandkids’ by the time they leave.
In a comedic but relatable manner, the screenplay and dialogues by Zoting and Digant Patil aptly show the joys and stresses of pet ownership. There is the unconditional love we get from them, but there is also the anxiety of veterinary visits and the strains of dealing with unaccommodating neighbours, especially if you live in a housing society with its own sets of rules and regulations.
The finale especially nails the stereotypical characters one can find in a housing society, all ready to barge in on a situation. Satish Alekar as the building secretary and Ninad Gore as Bhaskar the pet trainer are especial standouts in the series.
The ensemble cast of Pet Puraan are excellent and believable in their parts. Tamhankar and Prabhakar deserve extra kudos for the wonderful exploration of their relationship with Baku and Vyanku, going from panic-stricken amateurs to devoted parents, ready to give up everything for them.
The six-episode Marathi series, with each episode under 30 minutes, is both entertaining and informative for those who might be thinking of getting an animal home as a pet. Pet ownership in India is not as popular as it is in countries like the US and the UK, and here too, dogs are a more popular choice. A report by Mars Petcare India in November 2021 stated that “an estimated 80 million homeless cats and dogs in India are living in shelters or on the streets”.
As parent of a rescued cat myself, I really hope a show like Pet Puraan inspires someone to go out and adopt a cat or a dog, not as a status symbol, but as they would a child. As the show rightly demonstrates, pets are family and it would benefit society greatly if we accepted them as such.
Pet Puraan is now streaming on SonyLIV.
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