“बड़े शहर की एक गली में बसा हुआ है नुक्कड़… नुक्कड़ के सारे बाशिंदे तकदीरों के फक्कड़ …” Does these lines churn the ‘nostalgia’ and take you back to late 80’s when we all say glued to our television sets on Mondays at 9pm to watch ‘Nukkad’? I am sure it does especially those of us who have had the privilege of watching some remarkable teke-serials on then Doordarshan. Not double meaning or filthy storylines like the K series but clean and healthy family oriented dramas, well melodramas too. Some have left an indelible mark and ‘Nukkad’ happens to one of them. After Dilip Dhawan (Guru), Sameer Khakhar, the man who played the iconic character of ‘Khopdi’, is no more. The actor was admitted to a Mumbai hospital with multiple organ failure. He was 71.
Nukkad had been one of the most popular serial during late 80’s. Like all Ajiz Mirza-Kundan Shah productions, this too was clean family drama. The serial spoke of characters that depicted the common man and woman have to fight with circumstances daily and if he or she is lucky to beat the stress and smile for once, the next moment waits to take back the happiness. Yet, people smile and accept the inevitable.
Shot in a simple backdrop of ‘Nukkad’, each member had his or her own story to tell and share. Guru, Ghansu bhikhari, Tambi, Qadir Bhai, Ganpat, Teacherji and many more. Sameer Kakhar better known as ‘Khopdi’, the all time drunkard who would make us laugh with his jokes, mannerism but each had a deep underlined message that would slap the social structure or society.
Khakhar had acted in a number of serials including – Shah Rukh Khan starrer ‘Circus’ (1989). Apart from Circus, he acted in ‘Shrimaan Shrimati’ (1994). He has acted in the following films – Kamal Haasan’s ‘Pushpak’ (1987), Jackie Shroff and Anil Kapoor-led ‘Parinda’ (1989), Ajay Devgn and Suniel Shetty’s ‘Dilwale’ (1994), Salman Khan-starrer ‘Jai Ho’ (2014), Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra’s ‘Hasee Toh Phasee’ (2014), Sudhir Mishra-directorial ‘Serious Men’ (2020). Khakhar also made an OTT debut in Vikas Bahl’s web series ‘Sunflower’.
Down the memory lane:
- Guru (aka Raghunath) played by Dilip Dhawan, the first of the gang to bid adieu to the world. His character was of an electrician but the only level headed who would also act as the crisis manager in Nukkad.
- Hari played by Pawan Malhotra who later acted in many films including Bag Bahadur. He played the character of a humble cycle repair mechanic.
- Kaderbhai, the tea shop owner, played by Avtar Gill who even served snacks to poor residents of Nukkad for free.
- Kundu Mochi, Somesh Agarwal who played the ‘mochi’ (cobler).
- Karim Hajaam, the barber played by Javed Khan.
- Teacherji, played by Rama Viz who tries to teach everyone the way to stay happy and contended in life is by staying simple and honest. However, both Guru and Maria (Teacherji) love each other but never dares to express.
- Radha, the domestic maid, played by Sangeeta Naik, who like all human loves to dream and bask in romance with Hari but is unhappy as Hari loves another girl in Nukkad.
- Ganpat Havaldar, played by Ajay Wadhavkar. A friend of the people residing in Nukkad.
- Apart from them many more character like – Dukhiya shayar (aks Dukhiya Chandigarhi) played by Sudesh Chatwal, Ghanshu Bhikari (aka Ghanshyam), the beggar, played by Suresh Bhagwat, Chaurasia Paanwala, Shreechand Makhija, paanwala with a paan-beedi shop next to Kaderbhai’s restaurant, Dagdu Jamadar, the sweeper who works in the municipality.