With the on going lockdown, the channels have decided to bring back many shows on your Television screens once again. Now with Hum Paanch being back on TV, Bhairavi Raichura who played the role of Kajal Bhai reveals that she is a shy person and hence it was very difficult for her to play the role.
How do you feel about Hum Paanch returning on Zee TV?
I got the news a few days back and it instantly took me down the memory lane. I must say that Hum Paanch has given me my identity and I share very fond memories with the cast of Hum Paanch. It’s pretty exciting a deal, the comeback and I will be seeing it on the channel everyday. In fact, i believe it airs once at 12 noon daily and at 9 PM every Monday to Friday on Zee TV.
Could you share some memories of the show? How did you feel playing a tomboy-ish character?
I still fail to understand how and why Ekta and Kapil Ji cast me for that role. I still remember when I first met them, I was very flustered. They briefed me on how they wanted a petite, timid looking girl to exhibit the typical tomboy-ish attitude. The demand of the character was channeling the inner ‘bhai’ attitude. I was completely clueless, but the members of the crew helped me develop the character, teaching me how to walk, talk or conduct myself to get into the role. I also got constant support from the King of Comedy, Ashok Uncle and I can't thank him enough. Comedy as a genre is very difficult to adapt, and my role was daunting too, but eventually everything fell in place. In reality, I’m a shy person and it was really tough for me. However, I guess I still delivered it well.
How did your parents react when you got the role and achieved so much fame?
I come from a very rooted family, so it (the fame) was very strange for my parents, my younger sister and my closest friends. I must say that my family has always been very down to earth, and stardom is a particularly foreign concept to them. Thus, I never let any of it enter my home. All of them were very supportive and my family was very proud of me and I’m thankful for that. I remember we did not have a cable connection before, but after convincing my parents, they finally gave in and got a cable connection only because my show, Hum Paanch was coming on TV.
Do you feel today’s shows lack the kind of writing that the earlier shows had?
Every decade has good and bad shows and there were quite a few mediocre shows being made back then as well. Hum Paanch was different and it definitely stood out as an exemplar for excellent writing. In fact, the characters of the show were not really fictional, but were inspired from real people belonging to a particular neighbourhood and that’s why the show is still loved by people, even though it is 25 years old. In that regard, there are many other shows that have become landmark shows because of their narrative and characters too. While some definitely managed to make history, not every show has reached that level. On the other hand, a few shows today are also very well made and well received. So I disagree that today's shows lack writing.
Did you ever get typecast because of the role of Kajal Bhai?
Thankfully not! I was doing a couple of shows on ZEE TV at the same time and those shows depicted characters vastly different from what Kajal was. However, while I was playing the character of Kajal, I often used to miss the feeling of dressing up like my other co-actors. Unlike them, I would just require 5 mins to get into my character and often I would wear my costume from home and come to the set. At times, I felt quite the urge to look like a girl. But then, I would remember the importance my character added to the show.
If you had to describe a particular day on the set of Hum Paanch, how would that be?
Our day would usually begin at 9 am with a reading session of the script, post which would begin our scenes. We were a team who would often have fun on the set, but when it came to work, it was all about that. A common thing between all of us was that we all felt the urge to take nap post our lunch. There were just two bedrooms in the bungalow that we were shooting at and despite 4 or 5 of huddling in one bed, we would peacefully take a nap for about 30 - 45 minutes before we began out shoot routine again, which would go in till 9 pm. This is one of my most vivid memories from the Hum Paanch shoot.
Are you still in touch with all the actors?
I do talk to them on and off and whenever we do, we connect from where we left off. We all shared a phase where almost every small secret and even breakups was discussed and sorted together. Ashok sir and Shobha ma’am cared for us like our real parents, so much so that it has been hard to disconnect.
If there were a season 3 to Hum Paanch, would you like to play Kajal Mathur again?
Yes I would definitely love to! Of course, I would need to do my homework on the character, but it wouldn’t be as hard to step into the character as it was back then.
Tune into Hum Paanch every Monday to Friday at 9 pm and every day at 12 noon only on Zee TV