One of the few daily comedies that have withstood the test of time, Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah recently completed 500 episodes. Producer Asit Kumarr Modi looks back:
* Writer Taarak Mehta is 82 years old. When his daughter heard of the success of the show, she hosted a function to acknowledge the fact that her father has achieved so much at an age where not many people expect much from their lives. She was teary-eyed.
* The show has been adapted from Duniya Ne Oondha Chashmah, a column from a Gujarati newspaper. Books were also published on it. After the show started, the sales of these books went up, and surprisingly, a lot of children are reading them. Even the writers earned more royalty and fame.
* Kavi Azad, who plays Dr Hansraj Hathi on the show, was critical at one point. We were convinced that we’d have to replace him. Nevertheless, the entire cast and crew prayed hard for his recovery. Today, he is active on the sets. It’s a miracle.
* SAB TV wasn’t popular when we started, but we were convinced that if our content was good, people would watch, irrespective of the channel. People watched. The channel’s viewership rose.
* In places like Muscat and Canada, people have given me gifts for the entire team and offered to pay baggage charges! The show helped bring a depressed, suicidal family out of their misery. A girl who topped the state exams in Gujarat once said that she set aside time every day just to watch the show as it helped her relax.