Updated: July 3, 2021 8:35:50 am
It inspired a million baa and bahu jokes, it also launched gazzillion of saas-bahu operas that would hold Indian TV hostage in decades to come. However, when Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi started, it was path-breaking in more ways than one. A young team realised that it would take kitchen politics of the great Indian joint family to take TV to millions of households across India. Cable television, which was producing content that appealed to the sensibilities of largely middle-class households in cities till then (Tara, Banegi Apni Baat, Kora Kagaz and Saans) was going democratic, and how.
As the iconic show turns 21 on July 3, we questions if its cultural impact went beyond wet hankies and ridiculous storylines involving lost memories and plastic surgeries. The Ekta Kapoor show that made Mihir and Tulsi cultural icons, also established the careers of multiple actors.
One of them is Ketki Dave, who played Daksha, on the show. Pigeonholed as a manipulative character, her aa-ra-ra is remembered to the day. As the show turns 21, Ketki spoke to indianexpress.com about her Kyunki journey and why she feels the show should come back with season 2.
I had initially said no to Kyunki
I was called by the team for the part. However, it had negative shade and seemed like a time-consuming job, and so I refused it. The writers had seen my work and wanted me to play this typical Gujarati character. They were quite adamant about having me on board. Then, Apara Mehta, who I knew from theatre called me and coaxed me saying we will have fun, and that’s how I said yes.
On the first day, Ekta and the writers came in the evening to see the rushes. Now, I had performed the part normally and that’s when they said they want me to do it in a typical fashion. When I told them that I will have to make it a little comical, they said yes.
People started greeting me with “Aa ra ra ra”
Initially, I had the ‘aa ra ra ra’ dialogue once in a while, and then suddenly every day I would have the expression. I asked the writers what was happening, that’s when they told me that people have been enjoying it. Everywhere I went, people would greet me with “aa ra ra ra”. I then started creating different ways to say it. It took a little time for me to get into the character but I really liked her and was eager to perform her every day. She was innocent and would blurt out anything that came to her mind. I loved that fact about her.
21 years journey with Kyunki…
I think it was in my destiny to get so much love and affection, and also earn a lot of money (laughs). I became famous because of the show, and it even opened many opportunities for me. When you do stage shows, you get an instant response from your audience. However, with television, we don’t get to know about the audience’s choice till a few months. Honestly, Daksha was not an important character but given her colourful personality, her scenes increased.
We would all sleep on the same bed during breaks
Unlike these days, there was no set and we would shoot at the Balaji house, which you guys saw in the show. I remember there was just one make-up room for four-five of us, and we would all fight to get ready first. Also, when there were no scenes, we would all huddle up together and sleep on one bed. Since shooting would happen in the next room, we would have to be extra quiet.
I really miss that camaraderie we shared and I don’t think we can be that close anymore. Today, everyone has their own rooms on set and things are more professional. Now, people get their own food from home and honestly, we would feast on set ka khana. I think that warm bond was visible on the screen. There was really no competition between us. We all were family.
On quitting Kyunki…
While initially, I was doing 10 days for Kyunki, it soon became 20 and then the whole month. I told them my husband will leave me if I don’t stay at home (laughs). Honestly, it still feels special when I meet fans who remember my character. There was this senior man, when I quit the show, he told me I had no right to do this to my fans. He would actually wait for my scenes to come. That’s when I felt hurt that yes, as actors we sometimes don’t give thought to how our audience will take our decision.
After Friends Reunion, we should have a Kyunki reunion
I think Kyunki should come with the second season. It was probably the only show which did not have a typical protagonist and antagonist. It also brought alive the family value on screen. Yes, after 21 years, it would have to be modernised but if Ekta does it, I am sure it will work. I don’t know if I would be able to be a part of it as Daksha would be too old by now, and no one would want to see her as an old lady (laughs). I think as a viewer, I would be really excited about it. After the Friends Reunion, we can also think about having a Kyunki Reunion, where we all get together in our old avatar. That would be really fun.
Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi starred Smriti Irani as Tulsi while Amar Upadhyay played Mihir, who was later replaced by Inder Kumar and then Ronit Roy.
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