Actor Shreyas Talpade (Iqbal) and television-theatre producers Parritosh Painter and Balwinder Singh Suri of IDEAS — The Entertainment Company, were college mates.
They studied at Mithibai College and did their bit of acting together even then.
"Shreyas was junior to us. At that time, he was excellent at mimicry as well.
He would take on Bollywood actors perfectly, especially Dharmendra and Hema Malini. We were also actively involved in drama activities," says Painter.
Though Talpade is now Bollywood-bound, he has agreed to feature in the duo's comedy, Home Sweet Home, on Zee Smile.
This daily will have Talpade playing himself from April 3 in two episodes - as part of the April fool special. The actor was at the Afocan Studios at Charkop yesterday, shooting for the episodes directed by Raminder Singh Suri.
"This is my way of repaying Paritosh, Balwinder and Raminder," says Talpade. "They helped me a lot in my initial days. We used to do a lot of dramas together as students. Even though it has been quite a while, we have been in touch. We still remember those days and the crazy stuff we did."
Meri aawaz suno
Does Talpade still indulge in mimicry? "Not any more," he says. "I used to do mimicry along with an orchestra. At one point, I realised I was losing my voice. It was scary. I felt that my own voice would disappear and I would be left with somebody else's. That's when I put a stop to it.
Now I hope some mimicry artiste takes on my voice. It would be great fun for me to hear," says Talpade, who will next be seen in Nagesh Kukunoor's Dor and Sangeet Sivan's Apna Sapna Money Money.
Home Sweet Home is the desi version of the successful American show, Full House. The main protagonist is a talk show host Rahul (Rajiv Kapoor) who lost his wife in an air mishap.
He's raising his three daughters — Pooja (Sakshi Sem), Aarti (Shivani Joshi) and Karishma (Aditi Bhatia) single-handedly. Talpade's entry in the show will have these three girls expressing a desire to meet Iqbal after watching the film.
And to their utter surpise, one day they actually have their screen Iqbal walking into their home.
"I have done plenty of Marathi serials earlier. On the Hindi scene I featured in Amanat, Sarhadein and X Zone," points out Talpade, who would now rather stick to the big screen. Incidentally, Soha Ali Khan had also been seen in Home Sweet Home, as part of its 100th episode celebration.