Dilip Joshi: Even when Taarak Mehta was weak, his humour was top-notch

Updated: 06 March, 2017 21:51 IST | Letty Mariam Abraham |

Veteran writer-playwright Taarak Mehta, who inspired popular comedy show 'Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah', passes away at 87; mid-day speaks to actor Dilip Joshi who plays Jethalal in the show

Taarak Mehta
Taarak Mehta

The man who inspired one of the most popular comedy shows, Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, is no more. Taarak Mehta (87) passed away last morning in Ahmedabad following a prolonged illness.

A well-known writer, Mehta was known for his column, Duniya Ne Undha Chasma, which became the basis of the comedy show. He went on to write six more popular plays and is the author of over 80 books. He received the Padma Shri in 2015. Besides writing, the humourist also had a penchant for acting and had performed in several of his own plays.

When mid-day spoke to actor Dilip Joshi, who plays Jethalal in Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, he said, "He was a legendary writer with a great sense of humour. During the initial part of his career, he worked on several Gujarati plays, both as writer and actor. His comic timing was always spot on. His plays would leave an indelible
mark on your mind. I had the privilege of working with him in a play called Sakha Sahiyara in 1998."

Friends at his funeral yesterday morning. Pic/Nirav Trivedi
Friends at his funeral yesterday morning. Pic/Nirav Trivedi

Joshi recalled the time Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah launched in 2008. Back then, Mehta was a resident of Mumbai. "I would meet him quite often and even after he moved to Ahmedabad. It was always a pleasure to see him. His health started deteriorating in the last year. But even when he was weak, his humour was top-notch. He'd crack one-liners that would leave us in splits. He spoke less, but whatever he said was almost always witty," Joshi added.

Did Mehta ever watch the popular show? "He never offered me any feedback, but I am sure he spoke at length with our producer when the rights to his column were acquired," Joshi said. Taarak Mehta Ka..'s producer, Asit Kumar Modi has been getting calls since the news of the demise broke.

Dilip Joshi
Dilip Joshi

"Taarakji was a positive person. He always found reason to smile. Whenever I'd be stressed, I would go to him for advice. I was like a son to him. He was happy with the way the show turned out. His columns were popular among the Gujaratis, but the show managed to take his writing to the global stage. He was thrilled when it became a hit worldwide. When we acquired the rights to his column, he rarely asked for changes to the script, which we had to make in order to adapt it for television. I would try and meet him every month. He was a man who lived happily but always on his own terms," Modi said.

First Published: 02 March, 2017 13:50 IST

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