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    Feb 2010


    Default I am very different from Popatlal- Shyam Pathak

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    Duniya Na Oondha Chashmah by columnist and journalist Taarak Mehta was based in a chawl. It did have a character called Popatlal Pandey who would chew paan and drink. When this character was remoulded for the TV series Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah on SAB TV, to make it palatable for family viewing and also keeping in mind that many kids would watch the show, Popatlal’s character had to be altered to a great extent.

    The most important change obviously was that his addiction to paan and the bottle was completely eliminated. He was transformed into a very lovable character. In Duniya Na Oondha Chashmah, Popatlal never said ‘cancel’ like he does frequently on the television show.

    Shyam Pathak who plays Popatlal informs us that he is poles apart from his screen role. “Any person after talking to me for five minutes says that I am extremely different from Popatlal. Academically I am a Chartered Accountant, an introvert and a family man. My reel character is a journalist, talks loudly and is perpetually single. It is quite a challenge to play someone who is so unlike me.”

    Fans of the series often ask Shyam with great concern, “When will Popatlal get married? We will look for a girl for him.”

    Popatlal is happy to be single. He doesn’t need a human wife as he is blissfully married to his umbrella instead. Shyam says, “The umbrella is his faithful companion. He even talks to it sharing both his joys and sorrows. In the sting operation he had fixed a video camera to his umbrella- it is of great utility to him too.”

    Would Shyam like Popatlal to get married? He concludes the interview with a hearty laugh, “Well, that is for the viewers to decide.”



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