Shoma Anand Interview on Hum Paanch re-running on Zee TV - Songoti | English

Shoma Anand Interview on Hum Paanch re-running on Zee TV

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How are you spending your time during the COVID-19 lockdown?

I am just doing some household chores, chit chatting with family, reading books and watching Hum Paanch on TV, thats what I am up to during the lockdown.

When you got to know that Hum Paanch is going to return on Zee TV, how did you feel?

It felt really good to know that after nearly 15 years, the Hum Paanch family is back to make people laugh, that too during such a testing phase of life. A lot of people who are at home were starting to feel depressed, but now they can forget everything and can have at least 30 mins of fun and laughter with the Hum Paanch family.

Are your family members also watching the show at home with you?

Yes, we all sit together and watch the show at 12 noon, and if due to some reason we miss it, then we watch it at 9 pm. In fact, just a few days back, while watching the show me and my family were observing how much I have changed in the 25 years since the show went on floors. I really enjoy seeing the younger version of myself and all my other co-actors because when we used to shoot, we couldn’t see the episodes. So while watching the show, we are reminded of all the good old

Did you connect with your co-stars when you heard the news about the show returning to Zee TV?

All of us are still like a family, so we keep talking to each and like staying in touch. But when we got the news, we made a family group of the crazy Hum Paanch family and I even ended up speaking to Rakhi for 2 hours. To be honest, even after working in the industry for so long, Hum Paanch is the only family that never lost touch with each other.

You had Vidya Balan with you on the show as well, who is a popular actor now. How do you feel about that?

It feels great that one of our cast members went on to become such a big star. However, we always knew that she was a great artist. In fact, I have seen her movies and she has done some great work. We all are very happy that at least one of us could make it so big and even, though we just wish each other on birthdays, I remember when I met Vidya last time, she greeted me very warmly.

According to you, why do you think shows like Hum Paanch are so legendary?

To begin with, the characterisation and casting of Hum Paanch was perfect. Just look at any family, be it a middle class or upper middle class family, they would also go through a similar scenario if they had 5 different kind of girls under one roof. So the relatability factor also comes in. In fact, all the artists on the show also dug deep into their character and played them perfectly. The situations and issues also bore resemblance to what every family goes through in their lifetime. So the
resonance with the show across generations is truly what makes Hum Paanch legendary. See, the show is being telecasted after 25 years, but if people see it even after 10 - 15 years from now, they will still like it. This is because the show was made in such a way that the issues that were shown were very common-man problems and it can be related to today as well as well in the future. I love the fact that the show has come back during a crisis situation where people are feeling sad and depressed being restricted to the 4 walls of the houses. So now, the can enjoy and have fun while watching Hum Paanch.

How did you get the iconic character of Veena?

Actually my husband was making a film when he got to know that Shobha ji is making a serial called Hum Paanch. So I went to her office where she narrated me the character and she told me that I will be the 2nd wife of Anand Mathur (Ashok Saraf), who will already have 3 daughters on the show. I was initially skeptical and I told her that I don’t think I look so old to play such a character. But then she explained that my daughters will be very young and how my character will gel up with the family. In Television, you don’t know your whole character graph unlike in movies. But I feel I played a wonderful character. Also, when the show started, things were pretty normal, but with time, the way these kids dug into their characters and presented them, I have to say it was amazing. I would also really like to thank Ashok ji for teaching me comic timing as I was doing it for the first time. I used to look at him and learn so much. From there on, we did not need any assistant to brief us on the episode, as we used to get the script and we knew what was to be done. In fact, when we used to go to the set it felt like we are a family only, and we used to miss each other on holidays.

What do you miss the most about the show?

To be honest, I miss my set and I miss my co-actors since we were really like a family. We still discuss how all of us need to work again as the 6 years we were shooting, we spent less time at home and more time on set. We used to eat together, so make up together, we used to do masti together and everything else. In fact, I believe we were the only set of artists who used to take a 1-hour nap post
lunch. We all used to complete all our work with sincerity and then rest together.  Now a days, everyone is so professional that all these things don’t happen. Earlier, we even used to open us each other’s tiffin and eat food and no-one used to question each other. We just kept eating so much between the shots and otherwise also. If someone used to order something for themselves, our production manager knew that it has to come for everyone else too. It felt like a picnic on the set! Now, that doesn't happen, so I miss it.

Rakhi ji had also mentioned in an interview that you slept waiting for a scene to start, is it true?

Yes, we used to do this because we didn’t feel like we were shooting. We used to act like we are at home only. Since we had to do 2-page dialogues and I just had one line towards the end of it, I used to be stuck and sleepy. So it was common to find us sleeping in between shots or while waiting for our shots to come. I really enjoyed that time to the fullest!

Did you improvise for scenes with her as well?

Rakhi, who was a professional in pulling off pranks, used to do anything that she liked, because her character was such! So, we never questioned each other, and improvised during a lot of scenes and I have to say they all came out naturally.

Which Hum Paanch actor did you bond the most with?
My bonding was great with all of them. In fact, even till today some of them call me ‘maa’ when they call me. Be it Bhairavi, Rakhi or Vandana, I have a very strong bond with all of them and even with Ashok ji. We still talk on phone for hours. To be honest, the bond that I share with my ‘Hum Paanch’ family, I haven’t had it with any other artist.

Now-a-days there are certain number of hours that you have to commit to for a show, but it was not the case before. What do you have to say about this?

Now a days there are strict rules about the number of episodes to be delivered, so I understand the scenario. But then, there are times when timings of artists don’t match. So, we have to shoot for close up first, then for the master due to all these reasons and hence, things don’t seem natural like they used to be. Everything becomes professional and hence the natural acting doesn’t come out. This I feel is detrimental for the show. Earlier, while shooting for Hum Paanch, we used to do a master shot and hence, we knew who gave what expression. That helped to get the expressions right again in
the close up shot. All of us also had a episode bank of 1 month, so we could work on our own pace. But now a days, after one scene finishes, we cut to the new scene of another 4 pages. Earlier people used to have the time to read what is happening, and what are other artists also doing. Now a days, time is so limited, and pressure is so much that the fun is gone.

What do you have to say about the current comic shows?

In the current comic shows, the writers pick the punch line, but earlier it used to come naturally. Now a days, you can predict what is going to happen when, but back then the body language and other factors added to the natural acting and comedy.

Let's get to the million dollar question. Who was Bina Mathur’s favourite daughter?

To be honest, all my daughters were my favourites. They all respect me and love me, and I never used to differentiate between them.

Why do you think that the Hum Paanch characters got so popular that people even today call all of you by the names of your characters?

I feel because everyone acted so naturally, people believed that we were our character. In fact, even today when people meet us, they call us by our character names and think that we are the same in real life as well. I must say that all the kids have put in so much hard-work to make their characters shine that people still think that Rakhi Vijan is half mad and I still have to clarify to them that it’s her character which was like this and not her.

Will we get to see you on a comedy shows or back on TV ever again?

Yes, of course! If I find something that I think will be liked by the audience, then I will definitely do it. In fact, we as artistes always keep learning and for us to come back, the writer needs to write a script that is strong and we fit into the script too.

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