Edit II honcho, Sanjay Kohli, producer of &TV show Happu Ki Ultan Paltan, is very happy with the initial response that this spin-off of Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain! is getting.
“We started off with 0.69 and have gone up a tad in the second week. Normally, most shows even on bigger channel always drop off in the second week, as the first week numbers get the lift of a huge PR blitz. But we have instead grown, which is a vindication of our efforts.” Sanjay and better half Benaifer share duties; while he handles the creative part, Benaifer deals with the nitty-gritties of production.
“I guess what has worked is the entire package. Happu Singh (Yogesh Tripathi) has anyways become a household name, courtesy his bribe-taking stint in Modern Colony (Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain). You always heard him cribbing about his tormentor wife and mother, but never saw them. So we had a ready story to tell.”
“Apart from Happu, even his huge family (9 kids) is full of interesting characters. Daughter Kat only speaks in broken English, while the other Haryanvi gal wants to be an honest cop, unlike her old man. Any clan is incomplete without its share of snitches; so Chamchi tips off the grandmother (Himani Shivpuri) and son bribes his mother for info about Happu’s antics”
“Last but not the least, three infant kids always pee on Happu’s face when he tries to make them stop crying.”
Talking about Kamna Pathak who plays Happu’s Bundelkhandi-speaking wife, Rajesh (women in this part of Central India have male-sounding names), Sanjay says, “At first the channel rejected her, but I was adamant, for she knew the lingo very well and was capable enough. It would really up the graph, given the time. Eventually the channel agreed for they have blind faith in me.”
The mother-in-law – daughter-in-law relation is really fun; they converse with each other via film songs. Rajesh is the ideal daughter-in-law to boot.”
Sanjay does not think that language should be an issue anymore, “As viewers have already loved Happu talking in the same dialect since the past four years. But here I will let you in on the secret that even in Bhabhiji, the channel was not ready to go with the dialect. But I convinced them saying that the new sub-language itself adds another character and layer to the narrative.”
When asked whether some Happu Ki Ultan Paltan tracks could not have been carried forward into Bhabhi given that both shows run back to back, he says, “It is essential to keep the stories separate as fusing would be a cumbersome creative task. Also, audiences, becoming smart, appreciate the differences.”
In closing, Sanjay is very happy with the growth of Yogesh as an actor. “He has been with us for years, starting with FIR. We are glad that we could give him a chance with his own lead show. Now it is up to him how he takes his career forward. Hope he can keep his head on his shoulders, lest he falls by the wayside, as has happened with other tantrum throwers.”