Joined: 07 January 2008
With Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma (TMKOC) topping the TRP charts in its fifth year, producer Asit Kumarr Modi traces the show's journey...by Ankita Chaurasia
How the madness began:Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma is a popular column in a Gujarati
newspaper. Serials like Malgudi Days, Tamas, Hum Log and Buniyaad were
adapted from the work of some great writers. I wanted to do something
similar and so, bought the rights to the column and its characters back
I was very confident that if made into a serial, the stories would have an instant connect with the Gujarati audience. The name was also retained to tap the recall value.
Stars agree:SAB TV, a channel dedicated to quality comedy serials, was launched
around the same time as Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma and that helped.
If aired on another channel, the show might have been lost in the
barrage of saas-bahu sagas that were
the order of the day.
Crazy character sketches:The character sketches were already established in the column. We just had to add to the dimensions and build them up in a manner that would make them stand out. Jethalal's character was cut out for him. I have always been a big fan of Dilip Joshi's work and with him on board, I knew the show would generate a buzz. Dilip helped me develop other characters including Daya's. It was he who suggested we change her talking style.
Roadblocks:When we started out, I was mocked by some of my acquaintances and people from the fraternity. I guess when you try to break the mould and do something different, people are apprehensive. They think you are making a mistake. I agree that Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma was a huge risk, but it was worth taking.
Turning point:The 25th episode which was a Janamashtami special marked the turning point. It was an hour long episode and after it concluded, I started getting calls congratulating the team's efforts. N.P. Singh, CEO, Sony Entertainment Television, appreciated our work.
Sweet success: Success in the television industry calls for patience and our efforts of five years have finally started paying off. I think we have been the No.1 show for a long time but it was only after digitisation that the actual figures started coming in. We will be 5 years old this July and to be topping the TRP charts now is significant.
'Being Jethalal in real life will be difficult': Dilip Joshi
Seasoned television actor Dilip Joshi says that the other day when he was travelling by plane, the airhostess came up to him with a request for a photograph. "After the flight landed, I was held back because apparently the cabin crew also wanted to meet me," he reminisces.
But did he think that the show would be as successful as it has
proved to be? "I had no idea it will be this big," Dilip confesses and
is quick to add "But I loved Taarak bhai's stories and knew they had
potential." At a time when comedy shows have flooded television, how
does the show retains its charm? we question. "Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah
Chashma is a situational comedy and the humor in the show comes from the
eccentricities of the characters. Unlike the stand-up comedy shows and
in-your-face, slapstick junk, it is clean, avoids clichs and lets you
have a good time," Dilip reasons. So what will he do if he wakes up one
day and finds himself as Jethalal in real life too? He laughs, "Then I
would like the world around me to change as well. He is a simple guy and
the characters around him are as uncomplicated. Being
like him in real life will be little difficult."
'Touchwood': Disha Vakani
Question Disha Vakani aka Daya ben of the show about how she feels about Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma topping the TRP charts and she gushes, "Touchwood, the team is very happy and we even celebrated on the sets." Speaking in her usual twang she elaborates, "We had never thought the Jethalal-Daya jodi will be such a hit and sweep all the awards."
Yeah, but what's with the voice modulation, doesn't it hurt? "I used to mimic people on the sets. Dilip sir caught me and asked me to retain it for my character. Thank god it hasn't hurt ever," she says. Daya's character lacks intelligence, but what is the IQ of the real Daya? "I am not answering that. Pass pass pass!," quips the winner of most Anokha Naach (unique dance) on television. "The dance is not my creation," she smiles. "Choreographers taught me the basic steps, I just added some Daya-giri to it."
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