Ekta Kapoor's popular comedy show, Hum Paanch will be back on Zee from June.
|TUG-OF-WAR: A still from Hum Paanch. (From left ) Vandana Pathak (holding a portrait of Priya Tendulkar), Amita Nangia, Ashok Saraf, Rakhee Tandon, Bhairavi Raichura and Shoma Anand|
The serial, initially directed by Kapil Kapoor and later Rajat Rawail, will now have a new, yet-to-be-finalised director.
Says Kapoor, "Hum Paanch was very popular and people had been asking us to bring it back for a long time." The serial was Kapoor's second foray into TV, and she is understandably nostalgic.
"This is the first and last Balaji serial that didn't begin with the letter K." So will the serial retain its name? "Yes," says Kapoor. "We are signing on a new director but 90 per cent of the cast remains the same."
Ashok Saraf and Shoma Anand will play the Mathurs (Anand and Beena). Their daughters will be played by Rakhee Tandon (Sweety), Vandana Pathak, and Bhairavi Raichura (Kajal bhai). Amita Nangia, who played the fourth daughter, Behri, will be replaced by a new actress.
The casting for Anand Mathur's first wife (Priya Tendulkar, represented in the show by a portrait) is being changed as Tendulkar is no more. "Sudha Chandran will be enacting Priya's character," informs Kapoor.
The youngest Mathur, Chhoti, was played by producer Umesh Mehra's daughter Priyanka.
"We are trying to get her back; she has become a journalist today," says the Balaji head. A Balaji source reveals that Raichura and Pathak have almost been finalised, but "are asking for too much money. Once that matter gets sorted out, they are on."
Hum Paanch aired on Zee TV between 1995 and 2000. It will return after a gap of five years.
Adds Kapoor, "In keeping with the times, we have moved the story five years forward. The serial had ended with the Mathur family moving to USA.
The story takes off from what happens to the Mathur family five years later. The first episode will have them coming back from the US to host a Page 3 party.
One of the future episodes will have the casting couch in it. We have weaved contemporary issues into the plot and yet it is as funny as it used to be."
Says Shoma Anand, who plays Beena Mathur, "It's very exciting — I am going back to my first family again after five years." Hum Paanch was Anand's first TV role. She also acts in Bhabhi and Shararat (both Star Plus).
Balaji's lucky mascot
Hum Paanch revolves around the crazy capers of the Mathur family — Anand Mathur, his wife Beena and their five daughters.
After Balaji began operations with Mano Ya Na Mano (Zee), the second serial the company produced was Hum Paanch, also on Zee.
To start off their production house, Ekta Kapoor and mom Shobha made six pilots with three episodes each — all were rejected.
Jeetendra told them not to lose heart and offered money to try again.
The team clicked with Hum Paanch, Balaji's first ever success before their saas-bahu staple took over.