Every generation gets to witness a show that stays in their memories forever. In 1998 came such a show called Hip Hip Hurray (HHH), which acquired a cult status. It was a story of a bunch of high school students studying in the 12th standard. The show focused on their hopes, dreams, adventures, peer-pressure, fears and many different relationships, including parent-child.
The show became popular not only due to its fresh approach but also because it dealt with subjects like dating, drugs, careers and exams in a lighter way. The show had ample amount of comedy, emotion and drama, which appealed to audiences.
Fresh on air
Purab Kohli, who played the role of a “cute boy” Mazhar, says, “It was amazing doing the show, and the fact that people still remember it is even more amazing. It feels wonderful to be part of projects, which are remembered for so long. There are many people who loved the show and even grew up with it. HHH will always be special. It had 14 kids who had never been on TV before. We were all in college and school, and would shoot over the weekends. It would be like a weekend party for us.” The show starred Nilanjana Sharma, Peeya Rai Chowdhary, Candida Fernandes, Kishwer Merchant, Rushad Rana, Shweta Salve, Sharokh Bharucha, Vishal Malhotra, Suchitra Pillai and Vinay Pathak, among others.
Suchitra played the role of a stylish teacher on whom “boys would have a crush”. She says, “I had styled myself like my mother who was a professor in a college. My character, Alaknanda ma’am, wore cotton saris and a big bindi, and her Indian yet modern look got rave reviews. Boys would attend her classes as they had a crush on her, including Vishal’s character. It was all real as it happens in school and college days. The dialogues, too, were normal and real, and not filmi at all.”
Ahead of its time
The concept of the show was fresh and novel for its time unlike other TV shows, says Suchitra, adding “The show was a game-changer. The way it was shot and even the script and storyline – everything was forward. Alaknanda was modern in her attitude and personality, and all the characters were real. The whole unit got along well and that was half the battle won. Each actor went on to become successful, and we have stayed in touch all these years.” Most part of the show was shot at St Mary’s school in Byculla.
Comments like ‘you have been part of our childhood’, warms Vishal’s hearts, who remembers laughing non-stop with Sharokh in cahoots. “Director Nupur Asthana would get upset but soon she would start laughing with all of us. We hardly ever needed a reason to crack up. We were blissfully unaware of what we were creating – the magic, the success and the impact we left. The innocence came across on screen.”
Purab adds that the cast has a “HHH group [on whatsApp] and chats regularly”. He says, “We are all in different parts of the world - some are acting, some aren’t, some are in totally different professions, and most are married with kids. We talk about the show, and tell each other about the show, if there any mention of it anywhere. The show ignited a wonderful energy that still exists.”