Mumbai, Nov 15 (PTI) Veteran actor Supriya Pathak says late stars Rishi Kapoor and Sridevi were fans of her character of Hansa Parekh from "Khichdi" and the "English Vinglish" star even requested her to imitate the character when they met on a flight.
Pathak, 62, is reprising the fan-favourite character in "Khichdi 2 - Mission Paanthukistan", which is set to release theatrically on November 17.
"When I worked with Rishi ji in 'All is Well', he would constantly ask me, 'How did you do this'. He was a fan," Pathak told PTI in an interview.
"She (Sridevi) told me, 'Yeh Hansa ke jaise bolke dikhao na' (say it like Hansa). I’ve never had an actor tell me to speak in a certain character's voice,” she said recalling her meeting with the actor.
Hansa, always decked up in sari, jewellery and gajra, is a slacker whose catchphrases 'main to thak gayi bhaaishaabh' and 'Praful, what is...' are popular among fans.
Pathak said people in her family, including husband Pankaj Kapur and brother-in-law Naseeruddin Shah have also liked the show. She said Kapur particularly likes JD Majethia's acting as Himanshu, Hansa Parekh’s younger brother.
"Through the television series, everybody in my family was in love with ‘Khichdi’, they are fans of it. Pankaj and my kids loved ‘Khichdi’. It is true that JD (as Himanshu) is Pankaj’s favourite, it’s definitely not me.
"But Naseer came up to me once and said, ‘It is a very good show’. It is a big thing for Naseer to say. When the film was released, my elder son came to see the preview and I had never seen him laugh so much. He said, ‘Mom, it was really good’. I feel ‘Khichdi’ touched a lot of people in my family in different ways. They are looking forward to ‘Khichdi 2’.” The “Khichdi” franchise, born as a stage play, first ran on TV channel Star Plus as a sitcom in early 2000s. It was renewed for a second season, titled “Instant Khichdi”, which aired in 2005. It was followed by season three, which premiered in 2018. The “Khichdi” movie was released in 2010.
Pathak, well-known for her dramatic parts in films like “Kalyug”, “Bazaar”, “Mirch Masala” and "Ram Leela", said she wants to play more comedic characters.
"As an actor, I should be able to do all kinds of work. I had that belief that if I have it (talent) in me then I’ll be able to do it. I wasn’t worried or scared about doing this kind of character. I was rather very excited about doing something which I had not done before.” She said that she closely collaborated with writer-director Aatish Kapadia on creating the character.
"I remember asking Aatish 'Is there anyone like Hansa in real-life?' because I didn’t believe there was a person like her. He said, ‘Yes, in my family I’ve people like this’. I was like, 'I've to believe in it’. As a person, I’m not at all like Hansa, so the thing that I had to try was to believe in Hansa, the minute I did that, I fell in love with her. The rest is history," she said.
Actor Rajeev Mehta, who plays Pathak's onscreen husband, Praful Parekh, said he was the only choice to play this character, whose absurd interpretation of English phrases often leads to funny situations.
"This was very uncommon (show) on television. I don’t think there were any auditions that happened for any role. Aatish was very clear which actor will play which role. I was very happy that I was the only choice for the role of Praful, for that matter everyone," he said.
"I’ve been doing it in theatre but I hadn’t done this kind of comedy where nobody is cracking jokes. It should be attitude and behavioural comedy. All this excited me,” Mehta added.
Vandana Pathak, who plays Jayshree Parekh, said she instantly agreed to do “Khichdi” as she found her character appealing.
“‘Khichdi’ has a different kind of comedy and I had never done something like this before. Initially, I told Aatish that I wasn’t sure. Aatish and JD (actor-producer) were like, 'We are confident that you will be able to pull it off'. I just followed Aatish to play my character, I just copied him and then I knew how to go about it,” she said.
Anang Desai -- seen as Babuji -- said he too fell in love with his role.
“When I heard the script I was floored because it was something unusual and iconic with a different concept, I immediately said yes. Then we all started working on my look and began shooting. I had confidence in Aatish and I surrendered to his vision.” Actor JD Majethia, who also serves as a producer, revealed that he wasn’t the first choice for the role of Himanshu.
"We were going to Dubai for an international schedule of ‘Khichdi’, and I was busy with production work for the show. We had cast Deven Bhojani for the role, he said yes to it but couldn’t do it because of his work commitments. Later, we thought of Umesh Shukla (director of '102 Not Out'). He is a good actor, but he said, 'I'm busy with a show with Paresh Rawal'.
"We had two days left to shoot, and one of them from the production team suggested I should do the role of Himanshu. I started thinking of the logistics and I decided to do it." Kapadia expressed gratitude to the fans for their love and support for the “Khichdi” franchise.
"We are grateful to everyone and I’m also thankful to one of the producers, who told me I don’t know how to write for TV and that was the origin of ‘Khichdi’, and here we are with ‘Khichdi 2’ after 21 years. So, that anger turned into creativity, challenge and an adventure comedy, which is going to be ‘Khichdi 2’.” A Zee Studios worldwide release, the movie is presented by Hats Off Productions. PTI KKP BK BK BK