Taarak Mehta, writer, columnist, humorist, and the man who inspired Sab TV’s nine-years-and-still-running show Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, passed away on 1 March, 2017. He was 87. The Gujarati writer died of age-related natural causes.
Best known for his Gujarati column Duniya Ne Undha Chasma, much of Mehta’s work was about everyday life and contemporary issues, written with humour. He published 80 books over the years; three books were based on the columns he wrote in the Gujarati newspaper Divya Bhaskar, while the rest were compiled from the stories in Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah. He received the Padma Shri in 2015.
His TV show began with writer Asit Kumarr Modi, way back in 2008, with him wanting to pay tribute to the writer’s works. The show has a character called Taarak Mehta played by Shailesh Lodha, who looks at the world through his ‘ooltah chashmah’ (upside-down glasses). The show revolves around Gokuldhaam Society, a fictitious society in Mumbai in which six families from different parts of the country reside. The characters are Taarak Mehta, Jethalal Champaklal Gada, Aatmaram Tukaram Bhide, Dr. Hansraj Hathi, Sardar Roshan Singh Harjeet Singh Sodhi, Krishnan Subramaniam Iyer, Patrakar Popatlal Pandey, and a teenager, Pinku.
Dilip Joshi, who plays Jethalal Champaklal Gada in the show, told Mid-Day that the writer’s sense of humour remained intact despite his illness. “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,” he said, adding that a lot of his plays would leave an indelible mark on the audience/readers’ mind.
Actor Shailesh Lodha, too, echoed a similar sentiment towards the writer when speaking to India Today. “I still remember when show the Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah was started, he used to come on the sets. We have lost a great writer. We have met many times and I always found his humour unbelievable,” he said.
In an interview with Daily O, the show’s writer Asit Kumarr Modi spoke about how the real Taarak Mehta wouldn’t have wanted people to cry over him now. “Taarak Mehta ji was very happy to have his name in the title of the show. He really liked the show and treated me as a son. He had been unwell since some time and age was also taking its toll on him. He always blessed me and the show for long run. He was also happy with Shailesh Lodha because he played the character of Taarak Mehta to perfection. Besides the society losing a stalwart of humor and satire, his passing away is a personal loss to me. He would not have wanted anybody to cry over him but to feel happy at the rich heritage of culture he has left behind,” he said.
Feature Image: Bollywood Life, YouTube