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In 2001, actor Pankaj Kapur immortalised the common man's woes in his character, Musaddi Lal Tripathi, a man bogged down by the corrupt system, in the series, Office Office, on SabTV. In successive episodes, Kapur transformed from a hapless shopkeeper chasing authorities for his misplaced courier to a pensioner fighting for his dues among others. Now, Musaddi Lal will be seen on the big screen, in Chal Musaddi — Office Office. "Kapur portrays the character of a retired school master. In 2004 itself, we thought of evolving his character into a film but the channel wanted to go ahead with the tele-series as it was delivering high TRPs," says director Rajiv Mehra, who is looking at a August 5 release of his film.
The first season of the show aired on Sab TV between 2001and 2004. In 2006, Star One bagged the rights for the new season, called Naya Office Office. The show went off air in 2008, once the season ended. "We resisted the idea of going ahead with another season for the show and brainstormed on the script of a film," adds Mehra, the director of tele-serial.
In 2009, he and producer Ashwani Dheer, of Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge fame, finally created the script. Unlike the show, the film follows a linear narrative structure and begins with a distraught Musaddi Lal after his wife's death. And following a slip up on the part of government authorities, who list him as dead and promptly stop his pension, Musaddi Lal encounters several obstacles as he tries to convince them that he is alive.
"We needed to keep the flavour of the film as satirical as in the original show. So we have chosen one character graph for Musaddi Lal and weave his various problems around that," explains Mehra.