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Khichdi 2

Supriya Pathak talks about playing the endearingly dumb Hansa in Khichdi 2

After a theatrical release last November, the absurdity, the gags and the silliness return on Zee5 as the Parekh family’s adventure transcends various landscapes – cities, beaches, snow-clad mountains, deserts, and caves

Sudeshna Banerjee | Published 07.03.24, 12:13 PM
Supriya Pathak (centre) as Hansa in a poster of Khichdi 2: Mission Paanthukistan

Supriya Pathak (centre) as Hansa in a poster of Khichdi 2: Mission Paanthukistan

Sourced by the Telegraph

It was first served as a TV series in 2002 on Star Plus. The second course, titled Instant Khichdi, aired in 2004 on Star One. Then came a third helping, in the form of a movie in 2010. More than 13 years later, the makers returned with a second movie Khichdi 2: Mission Paanthukistan, in which the Parekh family goes on an adventure to save the world with Praful playing a double role and also serving as an emperor of a fictional country. After a theatrical release last November, the absurdity, the gags and the silliness return on Zee5 as the Parekh family’s adventure transcends various landscapes – cities, beaches, snow-clad mountains, deserts, and caves. t2 catches up with Supriya Pathak, who plays the endearingly dumb Hansa, whose pairing with Praful is a key ingredient of Khichdi.

So you are serving another installment of Khichdi with an intriguing title. What is Paanthukistan?


Yes! The story is about the same Parekh family. Paanthukistan is a fictitious place. The family has been given a mission to go there and solve the problem of a tyrant’s rule. The fun is in the journey. The story is how, in their innocence and naivete, Hansa, Praful and Himanshu solve so many of the terrible things that are happening. They don’t have any ulterior motive. It’s a place jo paan thook ke gandha ho gaya, a dirty place, and the story is about how they clean it up.

Where did you shoot?

The set was in Bombay itself. But we went to Bhuj and a beach town called Mandvi in Kutch. There was also a song that they shot in Switzerland.

Every time there is a reboot of the franchise, be it in a sequel like Instant Khichdi or Khichdi: The Film, do you see the characters progressing in any way?

We have been doing Khichdi for 20-21 years. The first Khichdi film was in 2010. My character Hansa does not age. It is said happy people like Hansa don’t age badly. People who like these characters don’t want them to change. They enjoy the things that they do. It is a stressbuster for them. The characters make them leave their problems behind and laugh.

What about technological changes like mobile phones and Internet? Do they come into the story?

Yes, those things have been included in the show. But technology does not make much of a difference to a character like Hansa. Of course, she can use a mobile to reach out to (her husband) Praful. But other than that, there is not much change. Today everything is at the click of a button. When she needs to know the meaning of something in English, she could ask (sister-in-law) Jaysree also. Even if Jaysree didn’t know, she could check on Google. But that is not who Hansa is. She would not do that. In an earlier episode, when Hansa did not understand something, someone started giving her the correct answer but Hansa stopped him, saying: “Nahin, nahin, mujhe Praful samjhayenge.” For her, life begins and ends with Praful. Even the spectators are interested only to know what kind of explanation Praful will give to the English word. I have received mail from people who have taken up English words and explained them in a way that they think Praful would do it. That explanation is what they enjoy. No one is interested in the meaning.

In Mohan Niwas, where the young generation wants to sell off the house but cannot because of the elderly Babuji Tulsidas Parekh, there is surprisingly no malice and everyone stays together. While the first part of the premise is true in many of today’s families, the second half is not.

See, we don’t go by logic. What we are trying to show through the story is that a family can stay together and be happy in any situation. That is what we have to strive for in life. Ek jethani aur devrani hai jo apas mein ladte nahin hai. Though the jethani is so stupid, the devrani is not upset with her. Hansa never questions Jayasri and Jayasri will do everything for Hansa. Life can be simple if people can adjust to each other. Not one person, the entire lot has to adjust.

Would Khichdi be the antidote that Indian television needed for audiences fed up with saas-bahu politics?

That’s how we started. I remember at that time in daily soaps, the characters were fighting with each other, every marriage was going down the drain, there were extra-marital affairs… so much negativity! So our stand was to bring in positivity. There was an episode planned on our show where another woman was coming into Praful’s life. I told Aatish (Kapadia, the writer): “Don’t do it. This is there everywhere.” Hansa and Praful cannot see beyond each other though they are so dumb. The audience wants to be happy like them. Jeetna negativity aap daloge utni negative aap ki life hogi. In my own life, I always try to look for a positive angle. The Parekh family treats Babuji terribly but why do people enjoy that? It is because we don’t leave Babuji out. We all care for him. We don’t do anything bad to him. In any situation, you can look for some khushi. That is the core of Khichdi, in my view.

Khichdi is also unique because you have the producer acting with you. What are the positives and negatives of that?

There is only positive (laughs). JD (Jamnadas Majethia of Hats Off Productions, who plays Hansa’s brother) is like my brother. We have been working together from the time they were young boys starting their company. Khichdi was their first production. When he is on the sets, he is an actor. We have known each other for too long for the producer part to matter.

Yes, you worked together in Baa Bahu aur Baby also, another Hats Off production.

True. For me, Hats Off is like a home production. The first Khichdi film had JD’s older daughter (as the narrator). In the web series, JD’s younger daughter and Aatish’s son came in (as Chakki and Jacky respectively). All that never mattered.

You were a part of Raakh which completes 35 years. Just as JD started out in Khichdi, that film saw cinematographer Santosh Sivan and editor Sreekar Prasad start out in Bollywood while Aamir Khan was just one film-old after Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. What are your memories of that film?

That was a wonderful time we all had. We were young and wanting to do good work. It was a dark and intense film. The director Babla (Aditya Bhattacharya) and I had grown up together. My mother and his father were close friends. I got to work with Pankaj (Kapur, her future husband) though I knew him from before. Aamir was on his second film. He will always remain a lovely actor to work with.

Talking of intense movies, your role as Dhankor Baa in Ramleela was quite an eye-opener as people are used to seeing you play softer roles, like in comedy. Did you also discover another side of yourself as an actor in the film?

I was aware of that side. It was a great opportunity given to me to do something different. It is one of the most endearing roles I have done and holds a special place in my heart. I want to do a variety of roles and I am thankful to Sanjayji (Leela Bhansali) for it.

Another film that is being discussed because of an advertisement that the lead pair Ranbir Kapoor and Konkona Sen Sharma did together recently is Wake Up Sid, which you were also a part of. Any thoughts on that?

It was a sweet and unusual film for its time. Ayan (Mukerji, the director) came up with such an interesting story and script. The story was of the awakening of a young boy and it touched many hearts. The mother’s role I played was a small part but a mother always has an important part when there is a decision to be taken in a boy’s life. He turns to her thinking that her instincts will be correct.

Supriya Pathak and Ranbir Kapoor in Wake Up Sid

Supriya Pathak and Ranbir Kapoor in Wake Up Sid

The mother was such an endearing woman. She wanted to do things for her son in her own way. I was very happy with the role and that happiness showed.

You and Pankaj Kapur started the production house Grass Company in 1994. What happened to that?

We were doing television and we wanted to do television. That’s where we started. But once daily soaps came in, then it was quantity that started to matter, not quality. We believe in good interesting entertainment. When it became a matter of doling out just about whatever, we did not want to be a part of that.

Are you hopeful of a revival, now that OTT platforms have come?

I’d love to be a producer again. It gives me hope that we will be able to do good work as we did in the initial stages of television.

Last updated on 07.03.24, 12:14 PM

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