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From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 30, Dated July 31, 2010

The Old World Is Not Enough

Can you watch Wagle of Wagle ki Duniya vintage as a crime-fighting clerk, asks NISHITA JHA

Common man (above) a still from DD’s classic, Wagle ki Duniya; and (below) Wagle’s new avatar as a grey-haired vigilante

IN A particularly memorable episode of the iconic show Wagle Ki Duniya, Wagle attempts to purchase new curtains for Diwali on his wife’s insistence. In his usual bumbling manner, he ends up ordering 10 times the measure required. The episode ends with the Wagles gathered around their living room — everything from the curtains to the sofa-covers to the family is dressed in the same shiny material.

For anyone who watched television in the 1990s, Doordarshan’s depiction of a typical middle-class home, humorous in their good-natured naivete, turned the show into an indelible part of the national psyche. And now there is a good chance that Wagle may be back as a bumbling supersleuth. While past attempts to retell the story (in an on-stage production and a series called ‘Wagle ki Nayi Duniya’) were rejected by its creator RK Laxman, he has given his blessings to Detective Wagle. Rupesh Gohil, the producer who’s currently trying to revive the show with Wagle as a crime-fighting clerk in a police department, says, “The appeal of Wagle’s character lies in his absolute relatability. We might believe we are cooler, but everyone knows at least one person — usually in their homes — who is just like him.”

Aanjjan Srivastav (now 63 and still stubbornly called Wagle by shopkeepers around his home) recalls the day when Laxman first narrated the script for Wagle ki Duniya: “I realised I was in the presence of one of the finest actors I had seen. That narration had me sold. I had to play Wagle the way Laxman made him come alive.” As for the new Wagle, “He still fights crime like [Inspector Clouseau in] Pink Panther, not James Bond,” guffaws Srivastav.


From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 30, Dated July 31, 2010

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