HT City Vibe of 25: Good writing is a rarity on TV, says Apara Mehta - Hindustan Times
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HT City Vibe of 25: Good writing is a rarity on TV, says Apara Mehta as she looks back on Ek Mahal Ho Sapno Ka

Feb 05, 2024 06:32 PM IST

Actor Apara Mehta remembers her iconic TV show Ek Mahal Ho Sapno Ka and reflects on the cast, the challenges of shooting, and the success of the show

It’s been 25 years but actor Apara Mehta fondly remembers her “unforgettable” TV show Ek Mahal Ho Sapno Ka (EMHSK) that paved way for family dramas on television. It starred actors Ajit Vachhani, Dina Pathak, Apara Mehta, Manoj Joshi, Vandana Pathak, Suchita Trivedi, Supriya Pathak, Sarita Joshi, Deven Bhojani and many more and ran for 1000 episodes creating a record.

Apara Mehta
Apara Mehta

A still of Ek Mahal Ho Sapno Ka
A still of Ek Mahal Ho Sapno Ka

'I couldn’t walk on the streets as I would get mobbed in Mumbai'

Walking down memory lane, Mehta says, “It was planned as daily soap for Ahmedabad Doordarshan with an ensemble cast of talented Gujarati theatre actors. The producers, Shobhana Desai and Vipul A Shah, wanted to make a bilingual- Gujarati and Hindi. We will never find a cast like that again- talented theatre actors with fabulous memory and great understanding of languages.”

The shoot took a toll as they got “scared” and “wondered” if they had taken on too much. “We didn’t realise daily mein kitna kaam hota hai. The script was written in Hindi and after shooting the scene, we (actors) would translate it in Gujarati and shoot. It was a lot of work. Look at TV shows today, good writing is a rarity. But once it went on air and became a success, our payments increased to 1500 per day. Back then, there was no lead in a daily soap as the story focused on characters’ track. We had such beautiful scenes to perform and such nuanced characters to play. We kept on working and there seemed to be no end to the work,” she laughs, adding, “even today, I say my best work is from that time in regional Gujarati space”.

'I couldn’t walk on the streets as I would get mobbed in Mumbai'

While EMHSK made her a hit in every household, her next serial Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi took her popularity to another level. Recalling the time back then, she says, “After those two shows, I couldn’t walk on the streets as I would get mobbed in Mumbai, where no celeb gets mobbed.”

Mehta feels EMHSK paved the way for family dramas, which later evolved into saas-bahu shows. “Kyunki... too was a family drama but later it became a saas bahu show and after that almost every next show on TV was a clone. EMHSK didn’t need to take any time leaps to continue the story. We didn’t need any crutches to keep the story moving forward. The story was so powerful. The show is so close to my heart and even today the kind of popularity I have is because of EMHSK and Kyunki. When people remember EMHSK, it makes me so proud. Sure, Kyunki changed the history of Indian TV.

'Good writing is missing on TV'

Having worked on TV in multitude of shows, today she rues the fact that the good writing is missing on TV. “A handful of shows have interesting plots. On TV, now I look for cameo roles only like recently, I did Anupamaa where my role was supposed to be for two months but lasted for nine,” she ends.

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