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30 years on, cast of Hum Log relives the memory

Hum Log was India's first soap and it was directed by P Kumar Vasudev and written by Manohar Shyam Joshi. 30 years after it was first aired, we go down the memory lane and celebrate Hum Log with some of the popular characters from the show.

Humlog's adorable character Nanhe is a multi-faceted personality in real life. A cricketer, actor, director, anchor, entertainer, master of ceremonies and Thailand's brand Ambassador - Abhinav Chaturvedi - still exudes a boyish charm and a timeless appeal. Talking exclusively to India Today, Abhinav went down memory lane and gives us interesting trivia. He said: "On 100th episode, there was a party at TAJPalace where for the first time I had champagne!"

Cast and crew of Hum Log reunite after decades. File photo

Nanhe received a watch that is still ticking! Elaborating about the shoot, he said: "There was a special car for Sushma ji and Vinod ji, rest of us (the cast) used to travel in matador. The whole shoot took place in Gurgaon."

History Major from St. Stephen's Delhi, Abhinav Chaturvedi got Rs.500 per episode - double the amount of A-grade artists of Doordarshan at that time!

Hum Log was followed by Ramesh Sippy's Buniyaad, an engaging show on the Partition. Chaturvedi played a pivotal role in the saga that was very well received by the audiences.

Senior actor Vinod Nagpal, who played Nanhe's alcoholic father Basesar Ram rues the fact that they no longer made good television shows nowadays. He said: "That era has ended, new genre has taken over. Hopefully this will also die and something else will replace this. For people like us it is 30unbearable, I get put off by seeing just the makeup on television these days. We have good television, it is high time Doordarshan should start spending more and make good stuff so they have a say as to what to show and what not to show."

Rajesh Puri who played unemployed elder son of Basesar Ram, Lalit Prasad aka Lallu says, "Today I feel very nostalgic". Rajesh Puri, who also played memorable roles in films like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron and Dil reminiscises about those heady days. Puri says: "We were so popular, we were treated like kings by the public. He tells us about being mobbed by crowds at events in Meerut and Indore. He said army had to be called in to rescue him.

He proudly says two people have a special place in his heart - Nadira Babbar ji, who brought him to theatre and director PK Vasudeva ji for giving him Humlog. Rajesh Puri has done 200 plays and given about 5000 performances.

Seema Bhargava who played Lallu's on-screen sister Badki, feels the advancement of technology today has made life of TV actors easy.

"We used to shoot on 3 camera set-up and did not have the privileged of technical help and proper editing, but today the TV actors are blessed to have such strong technical support. In our times, the main focus of the writer and actors used to be- How to hold attention of our viewers, which today seems to be fading. Holding the script has become difficult today."

"A lot of channels and a lot of TV series are fighting for TRP's and attention and in that tussle the content is suffering. In out times people used to shut their shops down and sit together to enjoy the series today the scenario has changed. Even till today people identify as a social worker that I played in the series, people come to me and share their problems with me. This is the identification and impact that is missing today."

She ends with "Pehle kalam itna mazboot hota tha ki log aaj tak yaad rakhte hain un characters ko".

Truly, each and every character of India's first soap opera is still finely etched in our minds and hearts, even after 30 years.

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