July 2, 2010 5:30:32 pm
As popular sitcom Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah completes 400 episodes,lead actors Dilip Joshi and Disha Vakani,better known as Jethalal and Daya,traverse their journey in the show
How does it feel to be a part of a show that has redefined comedy?
Dilip Joshi: I feel elated. We started off with this show two years ago when no one was attempting comedy on television. Honestly,we didnt expect Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah to become so popular. Right from children to teenagers and adults,everyone enjoys watching the show. Im glad that our hard work has reaped benefits.
Disha Vakani: Im extremely happy. Hanste hanste kaise charso episode guzar gaye pata hi nahi chala. Today wherever I go,people recognise me instantly,thanks to this show,which is my first tele-serial.
What ups and downs have you faced in the last 400 episodes of the show?
Dilip: Fortunately,there have only been high points. When we started off,our TRPs were 0.3 but today its 3.5. Thats a huge leap.
Moreover,initially there were many newcomers in the show but over a period of time they have become skilled actors. Every family has some tiffs. But we are one big happy family where thankfully till date there have been no ego hassles. All of us work together as a team.
Disha: I agree. For me,personally,its been a great career move. I still remember the day when I gave an audition for this show after Ambika Ranjankar (who plays Komal bhabhi in the show) asked me to do so. I had no clue it was for the lead role. Im glad that I bagged it,thanks to Dililpji,who had seen my work in a Gujarati play. I was excited to work with Dilipji,as hes a well-known actor and Asit Modi (the producer) as both of them have always done quality work.
What do you think is the secret behind the shows success?
Dilip: Theres a certain innocence in all characters that has appealed to the audience. The comedy is subtle,its not slapstick and we dont indulge in buffoonery. Theres a logic behind everything. Even today,after two years,we have not allowed ourselves to become complacent. We have realised its very difficult to do clean comedy so we try and improvise every scene. After all,there are no shortcuts to entertain the audience.
Disha: You can watch this show with the entire family. It gives out a lot of good advice and propagates positive thoughts through comedy.
How different are both of you from your onscreen characters Jethalal and Daya?
Dilip: Im very different from Jethalal. My mannerisms,thinking process and attitude is completely distinct.
Disha: Im quite different. Im not as friendly as her. I take some time to open up with new people. Once I do,then I become talkative.
How did you prepare for the role?
Dilip: An actor always learns from observation. I know a few Gujarati businessmen. I would observe their body language and linguistic skills. Usually,Gujaratis are stereotyped in Hindi films and serials. I simply hate it. It was a conscious attempt on my part to do something different yet not go overboard. So if you have noticed in the show,theres a touch of Gujarati in the way I speak Hindi. I think thats what has made Jethalal real.
Disha: Director Dharmeshji helped me a lot with the voice modulation and Dayas mannerisms. If you noticed earlier,I had a nasal voice but now I have adopted a slightly gruff and loud tone. Dharmeshji suggested I do my trademark garba. My takiya kalam Hey Maa Mataji was also his brainchild!
What challenges did you face?
Dilip: I have been reading Duniya Ne Undha Chasma,the column written by Taarak Mehta in a Gujarati publication,since childhood. Its so well written that people have a set image about all characters. In the column,Jethalals character wears dhoti kurta,jacket and topi and stays in a chawl. But in the serial we have modernised him. He stays in a building and wears shirt and trousers. So I was apprehensive if viewers would accept Jethalal in this modern avatar. That was the biggest challenge.
Disha: Since this was my first tele-serial,I was quite apprehensive. And I had to do comedy,which is quite difficult as it requires good timing and tuning. All my co-stars would improvise a lot on the sets. Initially,it took me some time to get used to it,but once I got accustomed,it did wonders to our performances.
Whats the secret behind the amazing chemistry that both of you share onscreen?
Dilip: Both of us clicked instantaneously from day one. Disha and me are theatre actors so it was easy for us to find the right rhythm immediately. That comfort level is evident on the show.
Disha: We constantly exchange ideas and Dilipji always guides me.
Who is your favourite character in the serial?
Dilip: Of course Daya. Her innocence is her biggest asset. Usually as we grow old,we tend to lose our innocence. But one who can retain it is truly a good human being.
Disha: Jethalal,undoubtedly. Dilipji does a fabulous job as Jethalal and I have always followed his work closely. Its an honour to work with a well-known actor like him in my first tele-serial.
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