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Friday, February 26, 2021

Aanjjan Srivastav: I credit my entire success to Wagle Ki Duniya

Starting February 8, Wagle Ki Duniya - Nayi Peedhi, Naye Kissey will air Monday-Friday at 9 pm on Sony SAB.

Written by Sana Farzeen | Mumbai |
Updated: February 2, 2021 5:10:11 pm
aanjjan srivastav, wagle ki duniyaAanjjan Srivastav and Bharti Achrekar will reprise their roles of Srinivas and Radhika in Wagle Ki Duniya - Nayi Peedhi, Naye Kissey. (Photo: PR Handout and Aanjjan Srivastav/Instagram)

Sony SAB is set to launch Wagle Ki Duniya – Nayi Peedhi, Naye Kissey, a reboot of the popular 80s series Wagle Ki Duniya. Originally created by RK Laxman and directed by Kundan Shah, the sitcom presented the everyday ordeals of the common man through the eyes of its protagonist Srinivas Wagle.

In a bid to rekindle the same magic, the makers have roped in Aanjjan Srivistav and Bharati Achrekar to reprise their roles of Srinivas and Raghika Wagle. The Wagle Ki Duniya reboot will feature Sumeet Raghvan and Pariva Pranati in the lead roles.

In an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, Aanjjan Srivistav spoke at length about his association with Wagle Ki Duniya, what it did to his career and the new series.

Excerpts from the conversation:

What was your first reaction to Wagle Ki Duniya coming back on TV?

I had no second thoughts about being a part of it. If there’s anything happening with the show anytime, I have to be there. It’s my duty and responsibility towards Wagle Ki Duniya. I haven’t worked on television for the last seven years, but this show needed me, and here I am at its service.

Tell us about the experience of playing Srinivas Wagle once again.

Honestly, I was a little worried initially as I didn’t know if I will manage to play the same character again, and in the same way. I was trained well by RK Laxman, Kundan Shah and Ravi Ojha. However, when I read the script, I understood the hard work this new team has been putting in, and everything just fell in place. I found my Wagle as soon as I was on the set. This is not like any other TV show. It’s an exceptional project that needs special care and love. I never expected that someone would make this show with the same affection. I am so thankful to SAB and Hats Off Productions for bringing Wagle Ki Duniya back.

What can we expect from Wagle Ki Duniya – Nayi Peedhi, Naye Kissey?

The world has changed and progressed from the time you first met the Wagles in 1988. In the new series, you will get to see how Srinivas’ son tries to strike a balance with his parents’ traditions and the evolving new world. I am really happy that they cast Sumeet for the part. He is doing an amazing job as Rajesh Wagle.

In recent times, we have seen supernatural and saas-bahu dramas taking precedence on television. Do you think the audience would like to see something sweet and simple like Wagle Ki Duniya – Nayi Peedhi, Naye Kissey?

The USP of Wagle Ki Duniya is that it showcases simple life stories with a humorous angle. The show has always been realistic and we are trying to maintain that. I am sure the audience will take notice, and also give it a similar kind of love. Honestly, I had never expected a popular GEC to even pick up a show like this. It’s a huge challenge in today’s world. And given the kind of appreciation it received, we need to execute it on a similar level.

These days the race for TRPs often force makers to go off track from the original story. Since it’s a project close to your heart, did you speak to the makers about sticking to the format.

When I met Aatish Kapadia and JD Majethia, I knew they will maintain the soul of Wagle Ki Duniya even in the new series. They understand the world, and I too keep giving my inputs. The beauty of the show is in its simplicity and they know one cannot create Wagle Ki Duniya if you try too many gimmicks. However, since times have changed, of course, the audience will get to see contemporary subjects. Apart from being a nostalgia for others, we also want the young generation to connect with this show.

Aspirational or relatability – what do you think will be the highlight of Wagle Ki Duniya – Nayi Peedhi, Naye Kissey?

I think it will be a mix of both. Given it’s the story of the common man and his family, everyone will relate to it. In our country, the culture of joint family is slowly dying because of tough economic conditions. Children are even sending off elderly parents to old age homes. This show will bring alive the beauty of togetherness, and how Rajesh tries hard to keep his family together. He wants to bring up his young children with the same love and traditions that he got from his parents.

How much do you credit your success to Wagle Ki Duniya?

You have made me emotional with this question. I credit my entire success to the show. I started with theatre and it was Wagle Ki Duniya that brought me to television. I remember Kundan Shah had taken me to meet RK Laxman for the screen test. How it all worked out is another long story but I must say that this show taught me a lot about acting. I have learnt everything from Wagle and Laxman. Whatever I am today is all because of them. Even today people refer to me as Aanjjan Srivastav Wagle. Such is the love for the show and the character among people.

It’s also the centenary birth year of RK Laxman. Do you think the reboot will celebrate his legacy?

Absolutely, I think the show would be such a great tribute to him. I think he has given important lessons on how to make TV shows to many makers. Laxman created such a simple storytelling format. The show was so beautifully penned, and those subtle humour elements were magical.

Can you share some fond memories from the time you worked on Wagle Ki Duniya?

One of the most fondest memories is when we were shooting the sixth episode of the first season. It was based on society, and Kundan Shah and I had a major argument over how the scenes should be shot. He felt that we were being too subtle, and people would change the channel watching the episode. Laxman, on the other hand, had always maintained that even if no one watches, he wants to send out the message in his own way. And I too wanted to follow the same. At the end, we both were so furious that we sat facing each other’s back, and Ravi Ojha had to calm us down. He asked us to shoot both versions, and get it approved by RK Laxman. I am so grateful to have worked with Kundan and Ravi, with whom I shared a great camaraderie. Even when we had our share of creative fights, it was such a happy time.

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