Manoj Pahwa: Clear communication is the key in every relationship -Exclusive!


After tickling the audience’s funny bone with his characters like Bhatia in ‘Office Office’, Raghu mama in ‘Gudgudee’, Ishwar Chopra in ‘Just Mohabbat’, Manoj Pahwa is returning with a lighthearted family drama ‘Home Shanti‘ that premieres on an OTT platform on May 6. Also starring Supriya Pathak as his onscreen wife, the series depicts the story of a middle-class family from Dehradun that aims to create their ideal home.

Pahwa had recently revealed that during the course of ‘Home Shanti, he was also building his own dream home on the side. Speaking to ETimes, he said that his experience of building his real-life home was quite similar to the story in reel life. “Building a dream home is a mammoth task that comes with its own sets of difficulties… There are too many permissions involved. On one hand the architect is designing something, on the other hand, the contractor is not in agreement. So one has to establish an understanding between the two. There were such comical situations that also find references in the story.”

His first-hand experience of building a home helped him with cues for his character in ‘Home Shanti’. “Whenever an artiste performs, he/she takes references from real life experiences. These could be either their own, or someone else’s life. Also while an episode of a show can wrap up within 30-35 minutes, in real life, it could take 30-35 years. The ultimate message that we wanted to convey from our show is that life may throw difficulties at us. But we should come together and face the problems as a family. That’s the way of life,” he explains.

The trailer of ‘Home Shanti’ sees Pahwa and Pathak mulling over the design of their dream house. “Ek hi table pe mere liye likhna, inke liye padhna… kya naye ghar mein bhi hoga roz roz ladna,” recites Pahwa. Ask him if he had similar moments with his wife Seema Pahwa while planning their home, he says, “Yes, there were quite a few of such moments. On one occasion, Seema suggested having iron stairs, but I didn’t think it was a good idea, as the area experiences heavy rainfall. I suggested concrete stairs was a better idea instead as it would cut down on maintenance in the long run. So we ended up arguing over it until the contractor intervened and said he will have to make some changes.”

Based on the theme of building a dream home, ‘Home Shanti’ explores the relationship between parents and siblings and how they face the adversities of life. One thing that Pahwa takes away from the series is that clarity is utmost important in life. “In any relationship, be it husband-wife or with children, communication is the key. If we can talk and explain our point of view with clarity, without getting our ego in the way, at the same time if we can understand the point of view of others, it can go a long way in having a fulfilling life. The same is shown in our series. The family is building a home and the members have different requirements – an attached bathroom, a reading room, a writing room… but the space is limited. So they sacrifice for each other, even the kids compromise on some aspects for the parents. It’s all about life’s circumstances, how you make things work, and be happy while at it. Gratefulness is most essential. We have to be thankful for this life and enjoy the various experiences it has to offer.”

Having spent almost five decades in the entertainment industry, Manoj Pahwa has over 45 films to his credit. Since his debut serial ‘Hum Log’ in 1984, Pahwa has been witness to the various changes the industry has gone through. From satellite to DTH, silver screen to now OTT, Pahwa has been there, done that. Reflecting upon his journey, he notes that content was, is and always will be the king, despite all the various technological advancement in cinema. “From our times of Doordarshan till today, the industry has seen tremendous advancement in technology, from shooting methods, to shooting cameras and equipment. Shows like ‘Hum Log’, ‘Buniyaad’ and other shows of that time… made up the golden era of television. Then television got into cliché content like the saas-bahu type family dramas. This was a time when instead of progressing ahead, television went backward. Then came the web series and films… Ultimately, content has been supreme and it will be. Films these days feature foreign countries, there are songs, glamour, larger than life costumes. But at the same time, there are films made on small towns that are close to reality where the story is important, the content is important. We had films like ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’, ‘Badhaai Ho’, ‘Article 15’. So there have been a lot of changes over the years. But content has been supreme and that is how it should be. There should be something genuine in the story, some social awareness, some food for thought for the audience along with the fun and entertainment quotient. ‘Office Office’ was one such social comedy. It was a satire based on day-to-day experiences and sufferings of a common man. So people connected with it, they found it relatable. When people watch ‘Home Shanti’ with their family, they will feel as if it is a story from their own life,” he signs off.

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