Akkara Kazhchakal was a Malayalam sitcom considered to be the first of its kind. The show aired on Kairali TV from 2008 to 2010, with a total of 50 episodes. The show revolutionized the genre of sitcoms in Kerala, thus, paving way for a number of sitcoms in Malayalam. Creators Abi Varghese and Ajayan Venugopalan created the series following the lives of a middle-class Malayali family in the United States.
Akkara Kazhchakal served as a pathbreaker for the existing television culture in Kerala. Real-life situations accompanied by witty dialogues following natural and realistic storytelling led to its widespread acclaim. Audiences who were only accustomed to long pauses, dramatic dialogues, extravagant costumes and uneventful long episodes got relief from the monotonous and repetitive patterns of storytelling. The show received a great response from the audience after it was posted on YouTube. It still continues to enjoy a large viewership. The success of the show led to a subsequent release of a movie with the same name.
This article tries to explore the reasons behind the ever-continuing viewership Akkara Kazhchakal still garners.
Simple yet Powerful Storyline
An NRI family living away from home is not a ‘fresh’ concept, right? Though a repetitive plotline, its humorous portrayal made it stand out. The series followed the family of George Thekkinmootil and their lives in the United States. A number of characters were introduced in connection to this existing family, like their Appachen, George’s assistant, etc. who all hilariously substantiated the NRI family. A parallel plotline of two male nurses, Mahesh and Babykuttan arriving in the U.S. for a job, gave an additional comedic perspective to the youths of the time.
Through the course of the journey, the series lay insights into the lives of the NRIs, co-curricular activities and the socio-cultural divide they experienced. The series often portrayed satirical instances to bring out the harsh realities of an NRI life.
Shammi Hero Aada Level of Performances
The audience who were used to the over-expressive portrayals of characters were provided with a realistic alternative. The naturality of the show is evident from the casual dialogue delivery of the characters. The creators made it realistic to the level of including shots that could have been bloopers if done in another show. In fact, such moments made the show more relatable to the audience.
Josekutty Valiyakallumkal as George Thekkinmootil is often regarded as the star of the show, due to his natural comedic timing. His screen presence is at a level, where one will miss him if he does not appear in a scene. Sajini Zachariah as Rincy, Litto Joseph as Matt and Priya Joseph as Chakkimol, their children completed the family.
If you thought, Jacob Gregory who acted as Korah in ABCD: American Born Confused Desi, was his first screen appearance, you would be wrong, my dear friend. He appeared as Gregory (Girigiri) and garnered large attention due to his amazing humour talent.
Also Read: Why We Need Better Malayalam T.V. Serials
It is also worth a mention, that most of these characters made their debut through this show, throwing light on the courage of the show’s creators.
Elements of Comedic Gold
I may not be wrong to note that the hardcore lovers of the show still crack jokes from the show. Many scenes from the show still circulate through the various social media platforms.
When we look back at a comedy show, a major question that lingers is the political correctness in their jokes. Yes, it is true that there are instances of politically incorrect jokes being placed in the show, but the fact that it is very minimal at a time when it wasn’t realized is worth a mention. I’m pretty confident about the fact that most jokes that people retain from the show would be harmless, pure situational comedy.
The fact that the series can churn out laughter from people who see it for the first time after all these years is a great testimonial to the standards of the show.
Reflection of the NRI lives
The show had become a comforting space for a number of NRI families through its run. Being born and raised in the U.A.E., this show was a major part of our family time. An instance from the show where George takes the effort to make his children watch Malayalam television to learn about the culture of Kerala became a perfect opportunity for many Malayali parents like mine to have a TV time for this sitcom.
A major reason Akkara Kazhchakal is still relevant is due to the relative closeness of the show to the lives of the NRIs.
This article is a tribute to the creators and actors of the show for providing us with a masterpiece, that we can still look back and laugh at. Thanks to the team of Akkara Kazhchakal for paving a new genre in television.
Also, a side note, though this is not an attempt to convince the readers to watch the show, I would really appreciate it if you did. If you do, thanks!