Amidst the Coronavirus outbreak and the consequent lockdown, people are locked up in their houses and to entertain them, shows like Ramayana and Mahabharat are being re-run on National TV. Next in line was the 90s hit show Dekh Bhai Dekh (DBD) featuring 3 generations of the Diwan family.
The time was right to speak up with the man who was an integral part of DBD and ruled our TV sets in that era with his witty one-liners. Here are the excerpts from our conversation with Shekhar Suman.
Dekh Bhai Dekh is being re-telecast on National TV. Excited?
It was an iconic show in all manners and I was elated when I came to know that it's being re-telecast. When Ramayan went on air, people were asking me on Twitter and calls that why not Dekh Bhai Dekh.
In terms of recall value, Dekh Bhai Dekh is the first one to come in anyone’s mind in terms of sitcoms. I am more than happy with the fact that the current generation will get to watch it.
You think today’s generation will be able to relate to it?
In today’s time, it is significant because families have come back together under strange circumstances. Dekh Bhai Dekh will keep them hooked, united and bring smile on their faces.
Did you watch the episode which went on air yesterday?
Yesterday, Rangoli got aired instead as there was some problem. But I will definitely be switching on my TV set from today and watch it with my family.
It was your television debut. What made you take up a TV show when you were already an established name in the film industry?
I was going through a very rough patch in my life. My professional carrier was going down. In spite of doing so many films, there was really no good work coming my way.
At the young age of 30, I was already a father of two kids and there was a family to look after. I was struggling for economic necessities and money was drying out. The future looked dim and honestly I didn't want to do television because it was not considered as a great thing for film stars to do.
Then, Anand Mahendru called me to say that he was planning a serial which would be produced by Jaya Bachchan. When I heard her name and he asking me if I would be game to playing the main protagonist Sameer Diwan, I was very happy. But...
I went to Anand Mahendru's office in Juhu. I went there at 9 thinking that I will be back by 10 but I returned home next day at 6 in the morning. We started discussing episodes, and mind you, many of them.
So, how much did you charge for the show?
I would have accepted any amount. To begin with, I was told Rs 5000 per episode. I thought I would've 4 episodes a month as it was a weekly telecast but let me tell you he used to take 6-7 days to shoot one episode. He was a tough director who got into every minute detail. But what a learning experience it was!
We saw you playing Sameer simultaneously on the other show that time...
While I was doing this show, Vinod Pandey offered me another show Reporter wherein I was playing Sameer again. In that show, I was playing a serious investigative journalist whereas here, I was a fun-loving character. The two parts were diametrically opposite. In fact, both shows used to air at the same time with a TRP of 70. I became a huge hit quite soon.
Did you try to go back to films again?
After that, I never looked back and have given every single day to television. There was a time when I was being seen in 11 shows together. I was the first actor to feature on a prestigious magazine cover that time which used to be a big deal. Hmmm... to tell you the truth, everything I got- work, money, love and fame was largely due to Dekh Bhai Dekh. Post that, I have done almost 100 shows on TV.
What are your memories with DBD?
This show is also close to me because my elder son Aayush had fallen terminally ill post which we lost him. And incidentally, his birth anniversary is tomorrow. I was absolutely in shambles and felt destroyed. I didn't want to act any further. But, as I said, I had very less money and the hospital bills were so high that I had no other option.
Also, my younger son Adhyayan was just born around that time. It was really tough as despite going through a personal upheaval, I still had to make people laugh. I died a thousand deaths every time. Then there were times when Aayush used to feel very sad and I used to take him to Dekh Bhai Dekh sets. He used to watch his father act and laugh and clap. I even remember celebrating my 32nd birthday on the sets of DBD. I still have those pictures and videos with me. Those are very emotional moments for me. After Utsav, which was my first film- DBD remains the closest to my heart.
You have done so much of work but which show earned you the maximum recognition?
Hmmm... two I think- Movers & Shakers and DBD.
Do you think DBD 2 should be made?
Legacy should remained untouched. Don't know if the new one will do justice to it.
Image Source:- Imdb, Instagram/shekhusuman, youtube/ dekhbhaidekhtvcomedy
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