February 06, 2019

'Bhakharwadi' is full of humour: Deven Bhojani

In a candid chat, the veteran actor Deven Bhojani talks more about his show 'Bhakharwadi' and revealed what made him sign the show. He also said, the show has emotions, drama and is layered full of humour, which is making it very relatable. Excerpts from the Interview:

What is the concept of the show ‘Bhakharwadi’?
According to me, this is a slice of life show with two families playing a major part in it. One, being a Marathi family and the other a Gujarati family, both who run Bhakharwadi business in the same locality and hence, the show is titled as ‘Bhakharwadi’. The two heads of the family become competitors and their son and daughter fall in love; as simple as that.

I feel really happy with the way the show is being made as there are such amazing characters, interpersonal relationships and the detailing as well. These things have been underlined so well in the writing itself that it becomes easier for us actors to execute them. I personally have the habit of interacting with the makers, writers and the director to understand how to enhance and develop my character and I did that for Bhakharwadi as well. We also held a workshop of a few days, with the whole team, which helped break the ice between the entire cast and understand each other better. However, I had worked with some of the actors already and shared a good rapport with them.

Tell us something about your character- Anna.
Anna is the protagonist of this story and a very principled man. The story is woven around him, his family and his new friend Mahendra, who turns into an enemy. He is very strict and actually belongs to the old world as he gives a lot of importance to his values. He is also very cutely romantic with his wife and gets emotional as well, especially with one of his sons, Amol. Although being very emotional for his daughter, Anna has broken all ties with her due to some reason. He has complete trust on his youngest son, Abhishek, and considers him to be the most responsible one, he is someone who would take the family ahead after Anna goes away.

Anna runs the business of Bhakharwadi and is funnily sarcastic. He is a proud Maharashtrian, who gets offended even if the customer says ‘Bhakharwadi’ instead of ‘Bakarwadi’.

How excited are you to work again with Aatish Kapadia and JD Majethia?
We have done umpteen number of shows together and hence we (including Paresh Ganatra), have this great rapport; we are like brothers. So, there is an ease and a comfort level with each other which also helps the character and the show as we are able to tell each other. Very frankly, if we disagree with something we even argue, but it is all taken very sportingly. However, since I am not directing this show, I know where to draw the line and take ahead improvisations in my character only with my director’s permission, giving that respect to the chair. It all actually starts with the writer, which here is Aatish; he is the germ. He creates his characters as is own babies. I have also observed JD contributing a lot towards the creative side. So, I’m quite as much enjoying this show.

How has the experience been, shooting on the set of Bhakharwadi?
It has been a great experience and since it is just the beginning, we are yet trying to find tune with each other and our own characters as well. Our makers have given us enough space and they do their best to help us develop rapport. It reminds us of one of our old shows ‘Baa Bahu Aur Baby’, which we all were very sentimental about. The set design, colour combinations and the family relations, somehow it has the tinge of Baa Bahu Aur Baby, in a nicer way. It is also because all four of us, me, Aatish, JD and Paresh are working together, that there is that similar feel. Our DOP, Vijay Soni, is shooting this show like a film and the kind of efforts he has put in is simply commendable. The show has emotions, drama and is layered full of humour, making it very relatable.

Having given hits like Sarabhai vs Sarabhai, Khichdi and Baa Bahu Aur Baby, what are your expectations from Bhakharwadi?
I am proud to be associated with all these shows as I was involved to a major extent to all these three shows. All of them were critically acclaimed and the irony is that they were far apart from each other in concept. I feel Bhakharwadi will create its own genre which will be very unique and that will be the USP of the show. The characters are as such which you would have hardly scene earlier on television and I am trying my best in terms of putting my best foot forward and doing justice to the character.

How challenging is it to play such a principled character? What are your thoughts on having such strong principles and abiding by them?
I do relate to this character in certain ways. I have seen directly, or indirectly, such characters in my relatives or neighbors, or just people around me. Sometimes you would feel Anna is wrong but you still love him due to the likeability that this character has. So, this is the richness of the character that everyone doesn’t get to play and I feel I have got a very meaty role.

Are there any similarities between your character and you in real life?

I am also rigid at times and do follow certain principles like Anna does.

Do you know how to make Bhakharwadi in real life? Or cooking in general?
I just know how to eat Bhakharwadi very well, whether it is Maharashtrian Bhakharwadi or Gujarati Bhakharwadi.

What is the audience going to like in the show Bhakharwadi?
Everything. I think the audience is going to love this show, its concept, the characters, the relationships portrayed, the humour, the drama, the emotions and most importantly, the newness of the show.

If you were in Anna’s place in real life, how would you deal with such a competitor coming up?
Personally, in this case I’m not like Anna at all. I am not competitive at all and this kind of competition doesn’t bother me at all. I generally try improving myself in comparison to myself. I rather feel happy if someone is doing something better.

What made you take up this role?
I loved my character. Apart from the lingo quirk, there are many other quirks in this show, along with the characterization, that lured me to do this role. I have been off radar as an actor for quite a while. I have been busy as a director whether it was for a couple of TV shows or with my feature film Commando 2, last year. The reason for this was firstly, I was not keen on working more as an actor and secondly, I wasn’t getting such projects that would make me give up direction and take up something as an actor.

So, considering all this, when Aatish and JD offered me this character, they were also sceptical whether I would say yes to acting or not. Aatish just told me one line of the show and requested me to hear the story out. I was very impressed with what I heard over call and loved it instantly when he explained everything about the character to me in detail. I felt that I haven’t done anything like this previously on television and decided to take a break from directing, for this show as I was actually missing acting and the idea of getting into someone else’s skin. Also, the idea of working again with Aatish, JD and Paresh excited me as we always have great time together.

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