someone asks you about a comedy serial on Indian television that made
its mark, chances are you will start thinking of the last decade or
even before that. There are very few comedy serials n the recent past
that have really made it to the Hall of Fame on Indian television.
Tarak Mehta Ka Ulta Chasma, currently being shown on SAB TV is one of
those rare shows which makes you laugh and also runs successfully on
the TRP charts. And, we are not talking about the standup comedy shows
that try hard to forcefully tickle you.
The show is based on a popular column called 'Duniya Ne Undha Chasma'
penned by eminent Gujarati writer Taarak Mehta. His columns cover
topical issues that have a mass appeal and deals with them in a funny
The serial also deals with those issues and revolves around the life of
Jethalaal (Diilp Joshi), an uneducated Gujarati businessman. He and his
family live in Gokuldham Co-operative Society where Taarak Mehta
(Sailesh Lodha) is his neighbour and his friend, philosopher and guide.
Daya Ben (Disha Vakani), his wife and a mischievous son Tapu (Bhavya
Gandhi) add to the worries of Jethalaal. Together all of them
constitute a laughing riot on Indian television. But Disha Ben
definitely stands out. And all credit goes to Disha Vakani for essaying
her role so well.
The first lady of the serial Tarak Mehta was born and brought up in
Ahmedabad and can relate to her character very well having seen many
such people in her real life. "It feels great to see so people loving
my character. I really had to work hard in building up my character —
changing my style of talking, modulating my voice to suit my character
and even altering my actions. My nine years of experience in theatre
helped me do that. And so did Dilip Joshi, my onscreen husband, who
helped me a lot in improvising," says Disha.
"I knew Umesh Shukla (director of the serial) for a long time. We used
to do theatre earlier. He was the person who recommended my name to the
producer (Asit Modi) of the show. I am grateful to him for that,"
remembers the actress who did serials like Khichdi, Resham Dankh
But what is it that makes Tarak Mehta... such a big success? "Well, to
be honest, even I did not think that the show will become so popular. I
think the simplicity of the show and its storyline — everyone from a
small kid to an old man will be able to relate to this story — are the
key ingredients of success. And this story makes funny incidents out of
day to events which happen to all of us," explains Disha who feels
Dilip Joshi also has a big role to play in the success of this serial.
"He is an institution when it comes to acting. He has helped everyone
in this serial through his tips about small things, which we would have
overlooked otherwise," says Disha.
"I knew we had succeeded when I received a congratulatory SMS from
Atish Kapadia, the makers of famous comedy shows like Sarabhai v/s
Sarabhai, Khichdi etc. He said he loved our show and the job we were
doing in it," remembers Disha. For the cast of Tarak Mehta it was also
a tremendous morale booster when Abhishek Bachchan personally
congratulated Dilip Joshi on the team effort in the show which he had
Disha, despite spending close to a decade in the industry still feels
like a newcomer because there is so much to learn. Does she plan to
take up reality shows on comedy next?
"I have not really thought about it since no one has offered anything
to me. But if something is, I will definitely think about it and won't
say an outright no," says Disha who has played a key role in reviving
the sagging fortunes of comedy serials on Indian television and SAB