Nirmal Pathak Ki Ghar Wapsi: Not an attempt to preach
While the audience laughs at the foolishness of the characters, for the characters themselves, those are serious issues
SonyLiv’s latest web series, a light-hearted social drama, Nirmal Pathak Ki Ghar Wapsi, which stars Vaibhav Tatwawadi in the titular role is “phenomenal” in every sense, says the actor.
“The script was phenomenal, the writing, the screenplay, everything was phenomenal,” says Tatwawadi, adding, “Each and every character won't just touch you, but will make a home for themselves in your heart.” The actor believes even if someone is in the show for just a scene, “aapke zehen mei uske bolne ka lehza reh rahega”.
Tatwawadi’s character, Nirmal Pathak, is a man in his 30s who has spent his entire life in Delhi, in an elite, well-read social circle. The actor says, “He’s someone who returns to his village to find his roots.”
But contrary to the other characters on the show, actor Vineet Kumar, who plays the role of Netaji, doesn’t believe that Nirmal’s trying to change the village. He explains, “Nirmal has his own way of thinking and his own ideology. So when he comes back to the village, he has a lot of differences with people, who perceive that as him trying to change them, or preaching to them.”
Underlining the various political themes in the show, Kumar says his Netaji makes farcical statements that expose the realities of the “so-called communists and leftists” today, who don’t practice what they preach. Kumar adds that the show is light-hearted in the sense that the audience laughs at the foolishness of the characters, but for the characters themselves, those are serious issues.
He mentions a dialogue from the trailer which says that whoever isn’t a communist till the age of 40 doesn’t have a heart, and one who still remains a communist after turning 40 doesn’t have a brain, and another which raises a question on Delhi’s JNU. Says Kumar, “It’s the irony of our society. And these statements might be political, but they’re intended to bring out humour and make people laugh.”
According to Kumar, “Nirmal is an extension of everything that his mother is.” Alka Amin, who plays Tatwawadi’s mother in the show, agrees with her co-actor. Says she, “Santoshi is someone who doesn’t talk much, is quiet, always has a smile on her face, but is a very strong woman. Whenever she says something, usme wazan hota hai.”
However, Amin did encounter her fair share of challenges, since it was the first time she was playing a Biharan. Amin says she wasn’t familiar with the language, as she’s not spoken or even heard it a lot, so learning it was definitely difficult, but she hopes she did justice to it.
For Tatwawadi, it was challenging to shoot in winters and please his extremely meticulous director. But even more challenging was “exploring Nirmal’s emotions and feelings, and trying to trace his character’s graph” as the titular character is someone who speaks less, but has a whirlpool of emotions flowing inside, says Tatwawadi.
Ask Kumar if he faced any challenges, and he gives a fair warning before answering “Mai toh teacher bann jaata hu”, while grinning. His warning is followed by a deep sigh and the words, “What even is a challenge?” Kumar continues that for him everything and everyone on the sets becomes a challenge. Whether it is an object, the light, his co-actors’ lines, notations, the way they say it. Unless you see everything as a challenge, you won’t be able to make the show your own, is the philosophy that the actor lives by.
But the challenges aside, all three of them say they had a great time on the sets. Tatwawadi says, “Our director, Rahul (Pandey), was very clear about what he wanted and how he wanted to show the story to the audience. So as an actor, it became very easy.” He believes he’s become a better actor and a better human after the show because everyone put their heart and soul into making the show a success. It was a dream come true, smiles Tatwawadi.
On the other hand, Kumar credits the producer for bringing about a kind of unity on the sets. He says it’s not often that you come across a crew where everyone is equally passionate about making a show. And to add to it, he had fun “matching the energy” of the younger actors who he loves working with.
(Nirmal Pathak Ki Ghar Wapsi is streaming on SonyLiv)
(This was first published in National Herald on Sunday)