Yesterday, as sardonic tweets on Mr. Alok Nath went rampant over the Internet and left billows as the trend died, I decided that it's about time I leave this pugnacious demeanor for a post or two and pay my tributes to the living legend by virtue of my own blog. Quite often my indolence deters me to indite things at short notice, but the revered actor has done enough to force even someone like me to compile something to serve as a fitting commemoration for his contribution. So here it is, a rare piece of text that will enunciate the true character of one of the finest actors Bollywood and Indian Television have ever seen - The Forever Dukhi Babuji.
It's not surprisingly astonishing to know that this guy served as a Kitply employee for about 2 decades. Just like the adhesive the company started manufacturing in the late 90's, Kitcol, this guy too had the propensity to stick to something and that too ineffectively. He unfortunately decided to stick to the same character for the rest of his screen life. The good old hackneyed role of a man with a panoply of unmarried daughters bungling while trying to portray the histrionic amounts of Sanskars that their father had vested in them. His craving for lingering onto something doesn't end here. He even kept donning the same attire and seemed to have acquired his characteristic subdued look ever since his birth. Same role, same clothes and despite the same ensemble being depicted again and again, film makers always found a way to cast Mr Nath in yet another role of his choice - The desolate doctrine enforcer from the 30's.
Okay, now coming to the point of the title. We, as kids, often find our own indigenous ways of associating certain elements to certain entities whom we find worthy enough taking note of. Now Mr. Nath was exorbitantly prevalent on the Indian television during the late 90's and he was literally omnipresent with all channels airing a show or two of his at almost the same time. It seemed he shot for all those progeny of K soaps simultaneously, while at times seamlessly switching between one show and another like a multiprocessor running a multithreading environment over a multitasking operating system. No force in the world could have stymied the barbaric and inimical Babu Ji at that time. And it's times like these when people come up with what they call their Magnum Opus. So did Mr. Nath.
I still remember how much I rejoiced those moments with the rest of my family when we used to witness Mr Nath repeating the same old dialog again and again in every episode of that television series Thodha Hai Thodhe Ki Zaroorat Hai. With due respect to the makers and entourage of Mr. Nath, the TV series was extremely apposite and same was applicable to all his co-actors. They all were given roles that they performed with extreme subservience but Mr. Nath once again landed up with a tacky appearance wherein he was made or allowed, shall I proclaim, to repeat the same action again and again. Mr. Nath, who enacted the father of the main protagonist, who in turn was depicted as a dead man in the first few episodes itself, was left with the sole responsibility of providing his wife with some closure. And Mr. Nath did it in his own tarrying way.
He would show some lament on his face and when the wife turned irascible on the prospect of their son coming back, Mr. Nath would utter the same dialog again and again - "Beena Ji wo mar chuka hai". And above all, he even seemed to say it in about the same tone and with the same thrust in voice. Whereas others including Beena Ji showed utmost capriciousness in their emotions regrading their sorrow for their filial loss, Mr. Nath managed to bring a kind of routine and mechanical element to his role with his single dialog always succeeding in putting an end to a burgeoning flow of emotion. One thing was the iteration of the dialog and second one was the fact that the man appended a "Ji" while addressing his own wife, and that too while exhibiting an outburst of angst. It may have appeared gaping to a few but we simply couldn't stop laughing witnessing such an incongruous and anachronous spectacle. We as a family adored the series as well as its concept and hence we kept coming back for more. However, Mr. Nath with his resplendent acting while delivering that same dialog and perhaps his sole dialog, forced us to recall him and his prowess every time we thought of the show. Till 1998, a year since the series commenced, I even kept a count of his repetition of that dialog. He had uttered the same thing a whopping 95 times ! Quite a lot of redundancy for a modern TV script, I guess. Nevertheless, we eventually forgot the name of the show and became so accustomed to the eternal dialog that we started calling and speaking of the show as "Beena Ji wo mar chuka hai". I can't help but smirk as I recall those splendid times.
I am in no way questioning the adroitness of Mr. Nath but I am simply amazed by the way all his roles have had a striking resemblance to each other. Now since a lot of these movies or TV serials became runaway successes we can't put a lot of blame on Mr. Nath. He seems to have done just as well as he was asked to do, but knowingly or unknowingly, he did the same things. Maybe the times simply needed one guy to come up and portray one such character on the screen again and again or maybe it was Mr. Nath's inner craving to enact the same thing again. Whatever it was, we're done here with expressing our own account on our first association or confrontation, in a subtler way, with Mr. Nath and his incessant Bapu Ji avatar. Like a jocular tweet says "When Mr. Alok Nath was born, the sisters rhapsodized, Mubarak Ho, Babauji Hue Hain".