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Friday, October 2, 2009

"yeh jo zindegi hai" and "nukkad"

Ace film maker
Kundan Shah had once said,
‘the audience loves
the underdog. They can relate to displaced dysfunctional characters’. True to
his saying the first Hindi sitcoms aired on TV in India were essentially, for
the common man and of the common man. The first of the kind was the big crowd
puller Yeh Jo Zindegi Hai. Shown in
Doordarshan, in the year 1984-85, the serial was an instant hit. It was about a
couple played by
Shafi Inamdar and Swarup Sampat and Shafi’s
brother-in-law Rakesh Bedi. It dealt with the trouble they get into. So intense
was the impact of the sitcom that people could see deserted streets in most of
the over-crowded Indian cities whenever it was on the TV screens. Retired
Judge, Somir  Mukherjee recalled, “people
would talk about the failing box office openings in cinemas because of the
popularity of the show”.

What made Yeh Jo Zindegi Hai memorable were the character sketches played by
Satish Shah.
These characters
would be regular people like a plumber or repair guy, a prospective servant,
someone from the street who wants to use their bathroom, and so on. The audience
loved his unique mannerisms, his borrowed accents from all over India.

next sitcom that took the country off its feet was Nukkad (written by Prabodh Joshi and directed by Saeed Akhtar Mirza
& Kundan Shah). It dominated the television during 1986-1988, and almost
everyone would remember it for its realistic approach to life. The idea of the
serial was to show their life, and for many of us, it was a good awakening to
see how people separate from us lived, what were their hopes and aspirations,
and most of all, they emotions, their ambitions, and their despair. Indeed it
was Nukkad of every street corner. The serial was directed by Saeed Mirza, and
starred such actors such as Dilip Dhawan as Guru (Electrician), Avtar Gill as
Kadar Bhai (Hotelier), Sameer Khakar as Kishore Bhatt (Gupta ji)the drunkard
Khopdi, Javed Khan as the barber, Pavan Malhotra as the cycle repair guy
(Hari), Rama Vij as the wise teacher, Suresh Chatwal as Chotu, and many others.
And people still seem to love it. The viewers identified themselves readily
with the characters for unemployment was still a menace and frustration did
lead to excessive drinking. There characters were at times even exploited by
vested interest. Overall they were miserable people and had no apparent joy in
their lives. Rakesh k. Mittal in his book ‘Positve Mind Theory’ commented about
Nukkad as,”…the group as a whole appears quite cheerful and contented. They
enjoy every moment of life despite all the problems they face. They try to help
each other beyond means. They happily accept the shortcomings of each other and
genuinely try to help each other. There is no tension visible on their faces.
Overall, the group, though beset by problems, is quite happy and enjoys life to
the extent possible under the    circumstances”.
In this connection one cannot forget the pleasant episode of one of
the characters winning a lottery and along with two of his friends, he spends
the entire day, buying clothes, eating out in restaurants, and going around
places; and finally when they find it difficult to spend the whole amount, they
give it away to a beggar considering the fact that even he has a right to enjoy
the taste of luxury once in his life time. The episode will also be remembered
for Khopdi , the Drunkard’s famous dialogue, ”chicken do paisa nahi bhai, hum tin hai, humare liye chicken tin paisa lao”.
Many of those who regularly made time to watch this serial would want it to be
re telecasted again.Some do lament that the idea of nukkad gossip or adda did afterall had a charm of its
own, something that the present generation will fail to understand.“Though
India has made a place for itself on the IT map, it hasn’t been able to balance
the unemployment ratio. Nukkad will be a good show for today’s youth, who are
coping with a lot of pressure,” says Srinivas Krishnamurthy, retired bank
officer. [2]


1)positive mind theory –rakesh
k. mittal Pg 9 sterling publishers -2006

2)The charm of old serials

SHILPA BANSAL 16 July 2009-the times of India.

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