TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Last updated on – Aug 27, 2020, 16:02 IST

01/9​Exclusive – After Ramayan and Mahabharat, it is Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah: Balvinder Singh Suri on bagging the show and playing Sodhi

Dil Toh Pagal Hai fame Balvinder Singh Suri is all set to replace Gurucharan Singh in the longest running sitcom of Indian Television, Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah.The actor, who will be stepping into the shoes of Gurucharan to play the role of Sodhi, is super excited to be a part of TMKOC and compared its success to iconic shows Ramayan and Mahabharat. In an exclusive chat with ETimes TV, Balvinder spoke about reprising the role of Sodhi, comparisons with Gurucharan and sharing the screen space with Shah Rukh Khan in Dil Toh Pagal Hai. (Photo: Instagram) By: Vijaya Tiwari

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02/9​Balvinder on bagging Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah

“Popular is a small word. It is an iconic show. After Ramayan and Mahabharat, it is Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah on TV. It is for me present day’s mythology. It feels great to be a part of it and it is once in a lifetime opportunity to bag a role like this and be a part of the longest running sitcom. The feeling is still sinking in. I’ve been acting since last so many years. I did a college show called Campus in 1995. Then came a big break Dil Toh Pagal Hai which gave me so much recognition, I also did Indian with Sunny Deol, Kahin Pyaar Na Ho Jaqaaye with Salman bhai, Badal with Bobby Deol, then again I worked Shah Rukh Khan sir in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and then it went on,” he said (Photo: Instagram)

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03/9​On his work behind the camera

“I slowly moved into a creative field and launched my own production house with Paritosh Painter in 2004. So, acting got a little sidelined, but it has always been my passion since my college days. This has been my journey. I have worked with Asit Modi bhai. We did a show called Yeh Duniya Hai Rageen in 1999 and it ran for a year. It was also about a society. It was an interesting plot. From there Asit Bhai and my association started and today it is like coming back to my family. Asit bhai is a wonderful person and I hope not to let anyone down,” he said. (Photo: Instagram)

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04/9​On replacing Gurucharan Singh

Talking about replacing Gurucharan Singh in the show, who played the role for almost 10 years, he said, “Gurucharan Singh and I have known each other for a long time now. I have been associated with the channel that airs Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah as a creative director. I have been interacting with Gurucharan during that period. Usually Sikh characters in TV shows are always defined. They are large hearted, no diplomacy, politics and pure heart. So, there was always a liking for each other between Gurucharan and me. I had also joined the show as a creative director sometime back during that time we interacted a lot. So, a lot of time I could see myself in Gurucharan.” (Photo: Instagram)

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05/9​Balvinder on his bond with Gurucharan Singh

He is a mast maula and happy go lucky guy, always full of energy and laughing, big hearted. I never felt that he was a different person, I always felt that he was a part of me or a twin brother. Of course for a few days there were palpitations while doing scenes as he has been a part of the show for 12 years. And I feel it should be there for me to perform the role better. He has become a household name because of this show. My wife is an ardent fan of the show and it keeps playing the entire day at our home. Since, I have seen him so much at home and personally also I never felt he was a different person. Because of that the confidence to play the role is there. Also everyone’s prayers and best wishes are there with me and I will give my 100 percent to play the role to the best of my ability.” (Photo: Instagram)

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06/9​Not scared of comparisons

The actor is not scared of comparisons and is ready for them. He considers this role a blessing from Ganpati Bappa, “Yes, I am ready for the comparisons. I know God is very kind and if the role has come to me there is definitely something to it. I take it as a return gift from Ganpati Bappa. I shot the first Ganpati arti yesterday and I was into tears while performing it. I felt the energy and vibration while performing the scene,” he said. (Photo: Instagram)

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07/9​He recalls a memorable meeting with Yash Chopra

Balvinder, who is best remembered for his role in Dil Toh Pagal Hai where he played Shah Rukh Khan’s friend recalled a moment with late filmmaker Yash Chopra, “The day Dil Toh Pagal Hai was releasing and it was Diwali (Laxmi poojan day). The first show was at the Chandan cinema in Mumbai at 12 pm. So, at 10 am in office he was giving gifts to everyone one by one. When my turn came, he suddenly stopped, I used to call him Papaji. So I asked him Papaji what happened. He told me, “Ballu after seeing the film, the entire talent from Punjabi especially the boys are going to stand outside my office. I asked why? He told me because in the entire song bholi Si Surat and the film Dil toh Pagal Hai you are seen. I told him sir this is a huge compliment for me. He said go and see the film. It feels as if I have launched you and not Shah Rukh, we all laughed. People still recognise me because of that film because of my look and the way I tied my turban. People come to me and tell me sir you haven’t aged. People still recognise me as Shah Rukh Khan’s friend from Dil Toh Pagal Hai,” he shared. (Photo: Instagram)

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08/9​The moment SRK sir saw me after few years, he shouted ‘Arre Ballu Tu’

“Balvinder, who got opportunity to work with Shah Rukh Khan in two movies is all praise for the superstar. He shares that even after so many years whenever SRK sees him anywhere he shouts and calls his name, “I have done 2 films and 2 Ad films with him. During the last ad that we did together. He met warmly and was quite excited to see me. The moment he saw me, he shouted ‘Arre Ballu Tu’ and I told yaa sir I am your co-star.’ During Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi also we had a four-five days sequence for a wrestling scene. One thing or quality I would say that sets him apart from others is his humbleness. Whenever he sees me in Yashraj Studios or at Filmcity he will shout and call my name ‘hey Ballu’. He has that memory. Even Madhuri ma’am still recognises and calls me Ballu. Same is with Karisma Kapoor ma’am.” (Photo: Instagram)

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09/9​Shah Rukh Khan sir is very supportive towards his co-stars

“The most memorable moment for me of Shah Rukh sir is when I was working with him on Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Aditya Chopra was directing. The first shot was mine with a sumo wrestler. I gave my first shot and for the second scene I did the entire shot in one take which one and half two-page commentary. Shah Rukh sir who was sitting at another corner got up and clapped saying wow Ballu you saved two days time of Aditya Chopra. He is a very supportive co-star. Even during Dil Toh Pagal Hai, he would make sure all his co-stars are at ease and are doing their best. If we would struggle at any step or anything he would walk up to us and take us to a corner and talk to us. He would guide us and say let me know what suits you, I will do the step according to you. I will change to suit and be in sync with the entire group and that’s whay he is Shah Rukh Khan today. His thinking is that his co-stars should also look good. That is why he is so successful . This is the quality that I’ve learnt from him and I try to implement at my level also,” he said. (Photo: Instagram)

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