In conversation with Popatlal Pandey of Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah

Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, a highly popular satirical show in Hindi, has created a sort of a world record by producing over uninterrupted 1,900 episodes since the last eight years. It has received wide-spread appreciation and all the characters have managed to impress the audience. One such actor is Popatlal Pandey. City Today Correspondent Karthik KK had an opportunity to meet Shyam Pathak, the real Popatlal Pandey, who was in the city at Jade Gardens on Thursday. He shares his journey as Popatlal Pandey and tells how a chartered accountant chose a career in acting.

In real life, how different are you from the charac­ter of Popatlal Pandey?

Poles apart. In real life, I am outspoken, an introvert, a family man and would complete my work on time. But Popatlal never does that. He is honest and good at heart but says ‘cancel’ often in the show and has made his life full of ‘cancels’. The serial was adopted by

Duniya Na Oondha Chash­mah written by columnist and journalist Taarak Mehta and it had a character called Popatlal Pandey who would chew paan and drink. But when this character was adapted for a TV series, it was altered to suit family viewing. The most important change obviously was that his addiction to paan rather than liquor. He was trans-

formed into a very lovable character.

What has been your most challenging role till date?

All the roles I have played till date has been quite chal­lenging. Be it Rajendra of Jasuben Jayantilal Joshi Ki joint family or the role of Dheeraj Mehta in Sukh or the Popatlal Pandey. It is really challenging to play all these characters which were

so unlike me. It took time for me to get in to those charac­ters. At the end, all the hard work paid off.

Which of your perfor­mance has left a lasting mark on you?

It is definitely Popatlal Pandey and I personally feel that it has left a lasting mark on me and also this charac­ter has been very close to viewers. For a person who is academically a charted accountant and strived to be an actor, Popatlal’s char­acter gave me the much needed recognition.

Why did you choose to join NSD instead of being a charted accountant?

My mother wanted me to become a CA. So, I worked hard and became one but that wasn’t something I re­ally wanted to do. I wanted to be an actor. Without in­forming anyone at home I

joined the National School of Drama where I did my specialisation in acting and the three years there was truly memorable.

What motivates you to act?

Any professional say a charted accountant can only be a charted accoun­tant. A lawyer can only be a lawyer. On the other hand, an actor can don the role of any professional. This is what always motivates me. I need to fit into different characters and explore it. What are your impres­sions about Mysuru?

This is not my first visit to Mysuru. I was here some­time back and had even staged a play at Rangayana. The city has positivity and gives a different feel. I had a good time here in Jade Gar­den and I must thank Ven­katesh Sharma and the staff.

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