Uncommon Promise

For decades, TV actor Atul Parchure religiously began his day by leafing through the pages of a news daily to read veteran cartoonist R K Laxman's popular cartoon, The Common Man. He sought comfort in the caricature of the balding 'Everyman' with a wisp of white hair, countless problems and a constant smile of acceptance on his face. He represented the Indian masses. After all these years, Parchure has been offered the opportunity to play the Common Man on SAB TV's R K Laxman Ki Duniya, which will go on air at the end of this month. The show has been produced by J D Majethia and directed by Dharmesh Mehta of Taarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chashma fame.

Set in the suburbs of Mumbai, the show addresses the issues of middle-class Indians through the lives of Bhavesh Vasavada and his family, which includes his wife Baku, a retired father and two daughters. "Problems like the rising fuel prices, flawed education system and corruption affect our daily lives. R K Laxman ki Duniya is about how a middle-class family faces up to them," says Majethia. "The common man still suffers, except that now instead of a dhoti, he wears pants and a shirt. He worries about high mobile phone bills," adds Majethia.

The show's conception, however, was incidental. One fine day, a few months ago, Mehta woke up with the thought that he wanted to make a show based on the common man. Laxman's famous cartoon character was a ready inspiration. He approached the cartoonist's family and purchased the official rights for a televised adaptation of the cartoon strip.

Mehta's show, however, will see two generations of the common man. The character Bhavesh Vasavada will represent the current generation whereas Ghirwale, 75, who plays his father, will belong to the older generation and also physically resemble Laxman's cartoon character.

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