Shabhaye Barareh Format Satire Created by Mehran Modiri & Peyman Ghasemkhani Starring Mehran Modiri
Mohammad Reza Hedayati
Vahid Mahin Doost
Reza Shafiei Jam
Country of origin Iran Language(s) Persian No. of episodes 92 Production Running time 45 minutes (including commercials) Broadcast Original channel Channel 3 Original run September 24, 2005 – January 30, 2006
Shabhaye Barareh (شبهای برره in Persian, literally "Nights of Barareh") was an Iranian satire television series broadcast by the IRIB network. The series was finished after 92 episodes, even though the story of Barareh was not complete. It could be seen every night at 8:00 p.m. Tehran time on Channel 3 in Iran. Repeats of the show were shown daily on IRIB 1 and IRIB 2 for those living out of the country. The show's last episode aired January 30, 2006. It was directed by and starred the renowned Mehran Modiri.
The show is set in the fictional village of Barareh in the 1930s in Iran, during the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi, whose picture can be seen on the set. The village people have their own Persian dialect which humorously modifies the language. In addition to this, the Barareans also have certain customs and rituals which at times are comical, such as their method of eating chick peas—by slapping individual peas from palm into mouth. The village of Barareh is believed by many be a microcosm of Iran itself. The town is split along the lines of Upper and Lower Barareh, which allegedly mimics the difference between the classes in modern day Iran. Events in the village, such as football ("darbid") matches, village council elections and marriage all also closely mirror today's Iran.
The show stars Mehran Modiri, as Shir Farhad, the son of Lower Barareh's khan, or leader. He lives with his sister, Saharnaz; mother, Shadoneh; and father, Salar Khan. The show begins when a journalist, Kiyanoosh, from Tehran is arrested for writing an article criticizing the government, escapes capture, and then is promptly bitten by a snake. Shir Farhad finds him collapsed and brings him to the village of Barareh, nurtures him to health, and gradually introduces him to the town and the other characters in the show, such as the families of Upper and Lower Barareh's Khans, as well as the flamboyant village poet, Bagoori, and village doctor. Later in the series, new characters such as the village gendarme and Upper Barareh's Khan's son and daughter, Keivoon and Leiloon, join the cast. Davooneh doesn't appear in this.
Shabhaye Barareh is the prequel to Mehran Modiri's 2002/2003 serial, Pavarchin. Whilst not taking place in Barareh, Pavarchin introduced the oddities and strange behaviours of Barareans. The series also has many of the cast members from Modiri's earlier works such as Pavarchin, Noghtechin, and Jayezeye Bozorg.
"Shabhaye Barareh" is full of gags, which make a huge contribution to language of people. Some of these gags are listed below:
- Give me money!: In the show Keyvoon is a thug, even though his parents thought he was a doctor. He often robs people by telling them: "Give me money!" (Persian: پول وَده), and when they reply: "Why?" He says: "Bullying money!" (Persian: پولِ زور وَده) Sometimes he says "Give me money" for no reason.
- Zorro: In one episode, Salar Khan turns out to be the Zorro of Barareh, a comic homage to the original Zorro. Because of his old age, he wants his son, Shir Farhad, to succeed him as the next Zorro. In a later episode, Shadoneh tells Shakhe Shemshad that her husband is Zorro, and Shakhe Shemshad replies: "No! My son, Keyvoon is Zorro!" Shadoneh replies: "But when Zorro came, Keyvoon was among the people, how can he be Zorro?" Shakhe Shemshad retorts: "Well, because he played in two roles, simultaneously."
- The Sadomasochist Saharnaz: Saharnaz, Shir Farhad's sister and Kiyanoush's wife is a modern feminist. She is aggressive, agrestic, and tough. When Kiyanoush asks her: "Why are you so violent towards me?" she replies: "Because I hurt who I love." In some episodes we see that Saharnaz likes to be hurt as well.
- It Differs: In Bararian language, there are four expressions to say: "It Differs". While Persians say: "Fargh Mikoneh" as a synonym to "It Differs", Bararians say:
- "Fargh Makooleh" for large differences
- "Fargh Fookooleh" for medium differences
- "Fargh Fan Coil" for small differences
- "Fargh Phil Collins" for extremely small differences
Fargh Makoolah was first said by Davood in Pavarchin.
- Khoob Biiid?: Was it gooood?; the poet Bagoori says this after every poem to make sure that people liked it.
- Jiiiiigar: This is Salar Khan's slogan, meaning sweetheart.
- Voooygoolanjz: Voooygoolanjz denotes the third person plural conjugate of any verb at present tense and past tense. In barareh language every verb gets a prefix of "va" added to the standard forms of the verb conjugates, but the third person plural of the form of the verb changes radically to vooygoolanjz regardless of the verb. For example the verb "to go" or "raftan" becomes: va-raftam, va-rafti, va-raft, va-raftim, va-rafteed, voooygoolanjz. Since the third person plural any verb is vooygoolanjz, the meaning of the sentence can only be determined via context. For example when Barareans mean to quote a statement from any source, they say: "Vooygoolanjz ke Sahrnaz--is not married" in this context vooygoolanjz denotes third person plural conjugate form of "say," meaning "they say." Much of the humor of the barareh language is hidden in the context of the vooygoolanjz and at times you find the actors laughing when they have to use the third person plural in their sentence. Also, since in Persian, unlike some other Indo-European languages, consecutive consonants do not occur, the existence of Vooygoolanjz and the constant reminder of it throughout the story, is the confirmation of the claim that Barrareh language is a deliberately posh version of Persian, where more than two consecutive consonants can occur, i.e. "njz" and the nonsensical "vooygoola" prefix is added to make it sound Western.
- Hashtaplakoo (هَشتپلَكو): A drastic measure to frame up someone. By Bararean definition it is one degree harsher than Haftaplakoo (هفتپلكو).
- Chourmang (چورمنگ): A Bararean curse to offend the addressee. Broken down to its elements Chour-mang: "Chour" is also a colloquial term for "penis" and "mang" is also a colloquial term for "forgetful." Chourmang is the transvest version of the other commonly used Persian curse "Koskhol" which broken down to it is elements kos-khol: "kos" is the standard word for "pussy" and "khol" is the standard word for "crazy". Both Koskhol, in today's Persian, and Chourmang in Barareh, are intended convey to the addressee that he/she is behaving irrationally.
- Sistani Curses: Yavar Toghrol is from city of Zabol in Sistan, a province in South-Eastern Iran. Toghrol uses Sistani curses which sound very funny when mixed with common Persian. He uses words like: "Toskatoso", "Shonpet", "Kata Kalla", "Allakhootak", "Khosou Khosou" and so on. In one episode of Pavarchin, he gets angry with Farhad and tells him: "Shonpet!" Farhad replies: "Did you mean Sean Penn?"
- He doesn't know anything at all: The Bararians regularly encounter problems which can be easily solved with a little bit of common sense, but they can't solve them on their own. Kiyanoush ends up solving the problem, but he is shown disrespect and the Bararians accuse him of being stupid. They always say "In hichi navafahma" meaning "He does not know anything at all" in Bararian language.
- The Cemetery: Bararians claim that the most famous people of the world are from Barareh, and even some of them like Claude Debussy, Wassily Kandinsky and Victor Hugo are buried in the cemetery of Barareh.
- Alexander Pit (Persian: چال اسكندرون) : Bararians also claim Alexander the Great has had a big fight when he passed from their village and effect of that big fight is a small pit which is called 'Alexander Pit'. This exaggeraion of history shows its version differently in different episodes, e.g. in one episode Shir Farhad claims there has been 60 million person killed in this small pit, and in answer of Kianoosh protest to him about population of village by this time he mentions there has been after that horrible war the population reduced from 60 million to 92 persons. In another episode Shir Farhad talk about 'Roxana Barareh-i' who claims Alexander the Great falls in love with her when he passed from Barareh so he did not continue his wars. It has a lot of satire comparing with Iranian way of looking to their history.
- Beh man cheh: It's none of my business, Kiyanoosh is constantly being bullied by the people of Barareh and replies with "It's none of my business" when they always ask him to do things
- Cholombeh: If one goes on a date with a woman and the woman leads him on and then at the end she refuses to have sex, then that person is Cholombeh or in barareh Persian "cholombah vashode." Also on the wedding night if the woman refuses the man, then he is also cholombeh'ed. Cholombeh can also mean stood-up and can apply to both sexes.
- Siamak Ansari - Kiyanoosh Esteghrarzadeh (the journalist from Tehran, and subsequently the son-in-law of the Lower Barareh's khan)
- Shaghayegh Dehghan - Saharnaz (the Lower Barareh Khan's daughter)
- Falamak Joneidi - Shadoneh Khanoum (the Lower Barareh Khan's wife)
- Mehran Modiri - Shir Farhad (the Lower Barareh Khan's son)
- Mohammad Shiri - Salar Khan (the Khan of Lower Barareh)
- Hassan Shokohi - Babri Khan (Brother of Shadoneh)
- Behnoosh Bakhtiari - Leiloon (the Upper Barareh Khan's daughter)
- Fatemeh Hashemi - Shakheh Shemshad Khanoum (the Upper Barareh Khan's wife)
- Saeed Hedayati - Jan Nesar (the Upper Barareh Khan's quasi-servant, whose sole purpose is to compliment and cajole him)
- Hadi Kazemi - Nezam De Barareh (the Upper Barareh Khan's nephew and the soldier in training )
- Saeed Pirdoost - Sardar Khan (the Khan of Upper Barareh)
- Reza Shafie-Jam - Keivoon (the Upper Barareh Khan's son)
- Ali Kazemi - Bagoori (the poet of Barareh )
- Mohhamed Reza Hedayati - Yavar Toghrol (Bararehs Gandarmerie)
- Asghar Heidari - Dr. Jakool (Village doctor/barber/banker/dentist)
- Mokhtar Saegi - Corporal
- Shayan Ahadifar - Village Jester
- Shabhaye Barareh at the Internet Movie Database
- "TV comedy raises tough issues in Iran" — article from Reuters.
Directorial works of Mehran Modiri
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