”˜Badki’ of Hum Log, Seema Pahwa talks about her directorial debut ”˜Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi’

Seema Bhargawa Pahwa

By Manju Mittal

Do you remember ”˜Badki’ of the serial ”˜Hum Log’, played by Seema Bhargava Pahwa, a popular TV serial of the early 80’s. Badki or the eldest daughter of a middle-class family was a representative for millions of Indian girls who found themselves buried under the day to day house hold responsibilities. She became a household name in the long running serial ”˜Hum Log’. Not only was the soap opera of India popular in every household of India, it turned this serials’ actors into celebrities, bigger than  the ones in Bollywood. Basesar Ram, Nanhey, Lallu, Badki, Majhli, Chhutki and many more. The actors who played these characters continue to be referred to by these names even today.

In hum Log

I met Seema couple of times in Mumbai and she is the most amazing actors both in theatre and in films. Now she has appeared in a different Avataar as she has donned the directorial robes with ”˜Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi’, a movie currently running in cinemas in Sydney. A candid telephonic conversation with Seema took place while she is quite busy with her movie’s promotion, yet she spared some precious moments in an informal chit chat, we talked at length about her career, her new film and much more:  

Seema , daughter of stage actress Saroj Bhargava, started performing in theatre and radio plays in Delhi when she was a child, “By the time I grew up, I had worked with all the best directors in Delhi at the time, I have done everything from street theatre to Ramleelas to performing at fairs like the famous Nauchandi Mela.”

Seema with husband Manoj Pahwa

Seema met Manoj Pahwa while working in theatre, and they acted in many plays with the group Sambhav, “Then we thought we are comfortable together on stage, why not think about a life together,” they moved to Mumbai in 1994 to work in theatre, films and television. That is until actor Naseeruddin Shah asked her to join his theatre group Motley.

Seema has established herself as a versatile performer through a varied range of films such as ”˜Bareilly ki Barfi’, ”˜Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’, ”˜Bala’ and now she is excited that her debut film as the director of ”˜Ramprasad ki Tehrvi’.

”˜Ramprasad ki Tehrvi’ is a compelling, emotional drama which will throw up some unexpected surprises for even the most avid of serious emotional fans. “The story came form my own personal experience of my father’s demise many years ago, when our family got united, and since then, this story has been running in my head. Jio Studios and Drishyam Films have believed in my vision for which I am grateful. Now the film is over to the audience,” Seema added.

”˜Ramprasad ki Terhvi’ is inspired by a real life story as real incidents inspired Seema to write the script and eventually direct the film. The film features an ensemble cast of Naseeruddin Shah, Supriya Pathak, Konkona Sen Sharma, Parambrata Chatterjee, Vinay Pathak, Vikrant Massey and Manoj Pahwa among others.

Ram Prasad Ki Tehravi in cinemas screening currently in Sydney

”˜Ramprasad ki Tehrvi’ was screened at the Jio MAMI 21st Mumbai Film Festival in 2019 and is a brilliantly made film. The audience responded to the film with a big applause. Seema shared her experience, “I can’t express how happy I am, I seriously did not expect so much of appreciation and a standing ovation. It was rewarding when something unexpected happened, I am so happy that youngsters also liked the film. I always felt that you need to reach a certain age to understand a serious or emotional drama. This is my first film and I faced a lot of difficulties during the making of this film”.

What next after ”˜Ramprasad ki Tehrvi’? Seema replied, “I have a few good stories, real life incidents inspire me and I have so many stories personally connected to me. All I need to do is bring them back on the screen whenever I get time”. On the acting front, Seema Pahwa will be seen next in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s production, featuring actor Alia Bhatt in the lead.

And Seemaji, a few last words to your fans in Australia? “I thank all of you for the love and respect and keep watching my films, take care of yourself, your loved ones and us all, we are all one, and we will all fight this together and get through the pandemic inflicted on us as humanity. The film ”˜Ramprasad ki Tehrvi’ will have a theatrical release on 1st January 2021 all over India. Please watch with your family and friends in India and movie will soon roll out worldwide on Netflix,” she adds.

My best wishes to Seema for ”˜Ramprasad ki Tehrvi’, I am sure it’ll do very well. Being her first film Seema has proved herself an independent filmmaker and this is an achievement by itself.

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