Suno Chanda: A Biased Recommendation

March 23, 2023by Amit Jagdish0
Dear Sir,
Imagine the joy of listening to your own language from a part of the world that you don’t know. I felt the rush of excitement that comes with making your own happy discovery. I was joyous at listening to a mix of Hindi and Urdu that I had grown up with in Lucknow. I was taken by the turns of phrase, the sharpness of intent riding words that are laced in sweetness unimaginable and the euphemisms dipped in tradition of a bygone era yet living with the language. Without the words saying so much, I was told again one more story (of the many in humanity’s history) of human migration.

Serendipity surrounds you in surprising ways. And so it was that one evening upon a late return from work, I saw Anjali ensconced in a light blanket streaming something on YouTube. So engrossed she was that she did not hear me open the door and come in through the kitchen. I always like to have a hot cup with Anjali in the evening. Seeing her engrossed in her show, I put the water on boil and made two hot cups. I sat down besides her with my inherent bias of the show being an utter waste of time.

What I saw captured me instantly. I found myself chuckling to the witty dispensation of the characters. The show finished shortly and our topic of conversation over tea was this show that I had just seen. Anjali gave me a little bit of background story and I said to her that I would like to watch one episode of the show every day in the evening. The name of the show is ‘Suno Chanda’. Chanda is the name with which the male protagonist ‘Arsal’ teases his cousin and childhood frenemy ‘Jia’.  

The storyline revolves around a couple of young twenty-somethings who have grown up competing with each other at every level and have a love-hate relationship. Suno Chanda is anchored by a matriarch who knows how to run her joint family and whose word is the last. This is woven as an every middle class family story replete with suddenly sprouting relatives from all over Pakistan and bringing their language with them, long held prejudices, reproaches and complaints, and pushing against a pliant and loving wall of familial traditions. There is a smattering of characters that we find in our everyday lives – an overweight and indulgent younger brother of a high achieving older sister, a bone in the throat son-in-law, a hypochondriac son and the ever obedient older son. It is topped with a peppery sprinkle of females whose allegiance towards each other are as flippant as the English weather. 

Suno Chanda’s plot and screenplay follows the traditions established by Shakespearean comedy. It is intelligent and not slapstick. It doesn’t push the audience to laugh, but pulls it inside to create joy and laughter within. It is not prescriptive but does push against the conservative social norms by presenting an example of a family that remains together while embracing and espousing liberal progressive ideas. It presents an example of an overall satisfactory life lived with making and receiving compromises to accommodate everyone’s needs but not their greeds. 

Suno Chanda is spread over two seasons with thirty episodes each. All episodes are available on YouTube.

Happily viewing,

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