“New series will bring the similar culture of bringing the family together, like the old Wagle Ki Duniya did”, said Usha Laxman, talking about Wagle Ki Duniya in RK Laxman’s centennial birth year

1. How does it feel that Wagle Ki Duniya is back on television?
My family and I are extremely excited about Wagle Ki Duniya is back on television. This year happens to be his 100th birth anniversary and we are celebrating that with this show.
RK Laxman always had a fascination of doing something in the field of acting. For a cartoonist, the area of work is like making a film. In short, he is a filmmaker who brings in the script, a character, the ambience, props and then he puts them all together to create a story. So, when the opportunity of making Wagle Ki Duniya came to him originally, it was a relaxation for him from his routine work and he enjoyed it immensely.
2. How did Wagle Ki Duniya originally happen?
How it all started was, Tina Khote, daughter-in-law of Durga Khote, approached RK Laxman and said why not we bring your cartoons on to the television. How about looking at it in a different way altogether. So, he said yes to it but said that the common man in his cartoons does not speak. He wanted to create something based on the concept and ideology that he had of common man’s life, to bring out the humour in every situation. He then created a character, a person who is going to actually present every situation of a common man’s life.
3. Are RK Laxman’s cartoons still relevant according to you?
His work is very much relevant even today. He has covered every topic under the sun, be it politics, science, social or any other topic. He has tapped on the common man and his life. Even today, when we are going through a pandemic, his cartoons are so relevant. There have been so many of his cartoons related to virus in general, which came very close to what was happening and what we were facing in the last year. So, his cartoons are eternal.
4. What went behind bringing the character of Wagle and the entire show alive?
When everything was conceptualised and the team was formed, comprising of Mr. Ravi Ojha, Ajay Kartik, Tina Khote and Kundan shah, Laxman would go from his office, to spend the evening with them and would create an episode. He was not very familiar with the language Hindi, so he would narrate the entire episode in English and people there would make a note of it and take audio recordings of the same. He would act every character himself, especially Mr. Wagle and Radhika’s character. He used to explain how one needs to bring humour in a very subtle way and bring down comedy to the level of reality, exactly how you and I would face every day. This was something he was very particular about, throughout the journey of the making of Wagle Ki Duniya. Ajay Kartik would write the script and share it with Mr. Laxman, who then would give it his own flavour.
Laxman always said that the dignity, sophistication, and perfection of his work is what he wanted in Wagle Ki Duniya as well. I think that’s what brought him success through the show- the level of subtlety and reality he brought in as far as comedy was concerned. Comedy, he said, is something you cannot make up. Comedy is spontaneous. So, how do you get that spontaneity and how do you take it to a medium like TV, making the actors get into the character that they are playing. Only if they can analyse their day to day situation, will they bring in comedy.
5. Why should today’s generation watch Wagle Ki Duniya- Nayi Peedhi, Naye Kissey!?
When Wagle Ki Duniya aired initially, people would sit with their entire family, once a week at 9 pm. After spending a whole day of worries and various struggles, people would sit and share some kind of humour with their family.
The current generation is in their own world. They have their own medium of entertainment, through which they watch anything they want at any time. I sincerely feel this new series will bring a similar culture of bringing the family together like the old Wagle Ki Duniya did. It might prove to be an inspiration for the current generation, teaching them the true meaning of family, humour, the subtlety of humour, concept of life and to bring out humour in every situation. It is going to be a beautiful thing for the younger generation to experience this.
6. Any message?
This year being the 100th anniversary of Mr. RK Laxman, we are delighted that one of his most loved creations ‘Wagle Ki Duniya’ is coming back. It’s the best tribute that my family and I, along with Sony SAB, Hats Off Productions and the entire cast are bringing it back alive. He would be very happy and thankful that this is happening.