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Dilip Joshi: Disha Vakani a.k.a Dayaben is a wonderful artist with a whacky sense of humour

Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah’s Jethalal opens up about Disha Vakani’s return, the new star cast, and theatre, in an exclusive interview




Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah (TMKOC)has been a cult serial on the small screen.  Even after a decade, the show continues to appeal to a loyal fan base. Recently, the show’s lead actress Disha Vakani aka Dayaben’s return made some headlines, and we got into a conversation with her co-star Dilip Joshi who plays Jethalal. Here’s what he had to say about her, the show and himself…

It’s been more than 10 years since you’ve been playing Jethalal on TMKOC. How close has the character been to your heart?

It has been very close. Just like how you know a friend for many years, I have an equation with Jethalal the same way. It is almost 11 years.

We have seen many new actors join the team of late. Have equations changed internally or has the gelling in part been easy for them?

The new artists who have joined are nice. Nobody in our team has an ego or personal agenda. Opportunities like Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah come once in a lifetime. So we all enjoy working, and the working pattern remains the same as before. New members just get into the groove and rhythm of the team. Plus, the whole team is very accommodative to make any new member comfortable.

Recently, Sonu quit the show. Has that made a difference?

 Well, Dayaben, one of the most prominent characters of TMKOC, was away since a year-and-a-half, yet it has not affected the ratings of the show. I guess it’s not going to make any difference with Sonu quitting the show either.

 Everyone has loved Dayaben and Jethalal from the show. Who is your personal favourite?

My favourites from the cast are Daya and Bapuji.

There has been high curiosity amongst fans about Dayaben’s return to the show. What is happening on that front?

I am clueless about it, I don’t know what has communicated between Asit Bhai and her. Disha is a fine artist, we have had some very good scenes together. But everyone has their priorities in life. She got married, then she had a child, so we can all be hopeful.

How are the makers planning to make up for Dayaben‘s absence?

 Well, if you look at the TRPs, they are making up successfully since the last one-and-a-half years. 

Does the team miss Dayaben (Disha Vakani)?

 Absolutely. The whole team misses her. And it’s bound to be because it has been a long association of 10 years. We all hope and wish she returns to the show as soon as possible.

What is the fondest memory you have of her as a co-star?

Well, I can’t pinpoint one particular thing, but I would like to say that she is a wonderful artist with a very whacky sense of humour, and I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every scene we’ve enacted together.

Can we say the show has helped in understanding and appreciating the joint-family concept amongst the modern generation?

I cannot say if it has helped in shaping up that. Many foreigners tell us how their kids get educated about the festivals that we cover on the show. So yes, we have tried to portray the joint-family system that existed in India earlier, and many people applaud us for that even today. It is amazing to see the show faring so well even today.

You have done a few films in the past. Will we see you doing one in the future too?

Yes, I would definitely like to work in films. In fact, films have gotten so much bigger these days. Earlier, there were single-screens, and now we have multiplexes.

Initially, you also acted in plays and have done some great stage shows. World Theatre Day just went by – do the memories make you miss the stage?

I still miss theatre, there are so many fond memories of the time. I did theater for a good 20-30 years, and not only in India, but even abroad. My last show was in 2007.

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