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I was a very awkward teenager in Hum Paanch: Vidya Balan

Vidya Balan reminisces about her hit 1995 sitcom Hum Paanch, calling it an amazing experience. The cast Shoma Anand,Vandana Pathak and Bhairavi Raichura talk about the show too and producer Ekta Kapoor.

tv Updated: Dec 09, 2016 08:18 IST
Hindustan Times
Vidya Balan,Hum Paanch,Ekta Kapoor
Ashok Saraf and Shoma Anand played the lovable Mathurs. Their five daughters always landed them in trouble. (Youtube)

Producer Ekta Kapoor’s second production, Hum Paanch, was a sitcom that clicked immediately with the audience. The 1995 hit show starred Ashok Saraf, (Anand Mathur) and Shoma Anand (Bina Mathur) as parents with Vandana Pathak (Meenakshi), Vidya Balan (Radhika), Rakhee Tandon (Sweety), Bhairavi Raichura (Kajal bhai) and Priyanka Mehra (Choti) playing the roles of their five daughters. Shoma says, “It was popular because of a different concept. A man lives with his five daughters, who often land him in trouble yet he loves them. He has a wife, who always favours the kids and his late wife talks to him through a photo frame.”

The sitcom delved into trending topics which the audience could relate to. Initially, Vandana was auditioned for the tomboy Kajal, ultimately played by Bhairavi. “They felt they wanted a younger girl and I was apt for the role of the eldest sister, Meenakshi,” says Vandana. Rakhee’s character of a ditzy girl, who wants to marry Shah Rukh Khan, and Bhairavi’s character were among the most loved. Vidya played a nerdy girl, who wore spectacles and a hearing aid. Talking about her experience, Vidya says, “It was amazing how warm Shoma, Vandana and Bhairavi were. I was a very awkward teenager, who had never faced the camera properly, as I had done one amateur TV show. I will always remember how supportive and incredible they were.”

Vidya says she will always remember how supportive and incredible the cast was. ( Youtube )

Recalling the experience, Bhairavi says, “I owe my career to Hum Paanch as it gave me my identity as an actor. People still remember my role as Kajal bhai. I am thankful to Ekta and her team. Even today, the bond between all the actors is strong. We recently met for a reunion and reminisced about the show.”

It was Shoma’s first comedy show and that’s why she took it up. But she was reluctant to play the mother of five kids. “But when I was told that I play the second wife, I agreed. We all shared one room to get dressed and we would talk, share food and play games. We shot for six days in a month and it felt like a picnic.”

Bhairavi Raichura’s character Kajal bhai was quite appreciated. ( Youtube )

Vandana came to Mumbai after a hit streak in Gujarati theatre. “I learnt a lot working with Ashokji, Shomaji and Priya Tendulkar. Priyaji played the role of Ashokji’s character’s first late wife, who spoke to him through a photo frame. She emoted only through facial expressions which was commendable. Ashokji was the king of comedy and I learnt comic timing from him. We were all raw and new but the experienced actors helped us develop our skills.”

Talking about Ekta, the producer who back then was new to the business of production, Bhairavi says, “Ekta would come on the sets post jogging in the morning. The set was close to her house and would drop by often. She was hands-on as she is today with her shows. Initially, she was nervous about the show and hoped it worked as it was new for her as well.”

Rakhee Tandon rose to fame with her role as Sweety. ( Youtube )

Watch Hum Paanch Episode 1

First Published: Dec 08, 2016 18:12 IST