Daya Shankar Pandey: ‘As soon as I let go of the clutch, the moped was in the air, Shahrukh came down with a bang, my face turned white and Shahrukh said…’

Whenever actor Daya Shankar Pandey is mentioned, Inspector Chalu Pandey from ‘Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah’ or Shani Dev’s character from ‘Mahima Shani Dev Ki’ comes to mind. Daya Shankar Pandey has a good name in Hindi cinema. He may have been marginalized in cinema but for his fans he is no less than a superstar. Working with big stars like Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgan, Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjay Dutt in many films like ‘Ghulam’, ‘Lagaan’, ‘Gangajal’, ‘Apharan’, ‘Raajneeti’, ‘Ek Ajnabee’ and ‘Swades’. Chuke Daya still shivers while talking about the shooting of that scene in the film ‘Swades’ when he let go of the clutch on the Bajaj moped with Shahrukh Khan sitting behind. On the occasion of his birthday on 19th November, Daya Shankar Pandey did this special interview with ‘Amar Ujala’ and shared many interesting things. Let’s know the story of Daya Shankar Pandey, who has become the identity of Jadapur village of Bhadohi district in Uttar Pradesh, in his own words…

Studied in convent school, trained in stable

I studied in a convent school in Borivali in Mumbai. We used to have a tabela in Dahisar then and I used to sleep in the tabela itself. My father Vishwanath Nath Pandey came to Mumbai in 1942. Used to work in a dairy farm for eight rupees a month and used to save four rupees a month. Later he opened his tabela in Dahisar, which was run by my uncle Amarnath Pandey. Later my father moved to the village with my mother Vidyavati and I stayed with my uncle and aunt in Mumbai. The real experiences of life happened to me only in the stable. But I was not interested in tabela. Our tabela was sold around 1980. When I was in ninth, I used to watch Rajesh Khanna and Devanand’s movies on TV in the neighboring house on Sundays and imitate them. By the time I reached 10th, it was decided that I want to become an actor.

,Don’t kick anyone in the stomach’

When I got attracted towards acting, I often used to ask my father that maybe my forefathers had something towards art and that quality has come in me. He said that no such thing is in his knowledge. No one in our family has ever worked in Ramlila or even a play. But dad never forbade me to act. He was a very innocent person. He simply said, ‘Son, work honestly wherever you go, take care that your character is not attacked and do not trouble anyone. If you get angry, kick someone’s back but don’t kick anyone’s stomach.’

Doctor saab corrected hindi

I did my college education in Masonry College, Andheri (East). I started participating in the competitions held there. Director Dr. Chandra Prakash Dwivedi used to come to college to direct plays in those days. Studied in college and did plays fiercely for five years. There was a desire to go to NSD but there was no such condition at home to go there. Even though I am from Uttar Pradesh, my Hindi pronunciation was not good at that time. Dr. Chandra Prakash Dwivedi got my pronunciation corrected. I believe that if your Hindi pronunciation is not good then you cannot last long in acting.

people used to laugh at my face

I started thinking of myself as Amitabh Bachchan in college. When I came out and started asking for work, people used to laugh at my face. My wife has sacrificed a lot for me. At that time I was married and she used to serve her parents in the village. When I could not find work in acting, I became an assistant to director Gyan Sahay. I thought I would be associated with the industry on this pretext. While living with him, I did many small roles. Never asked for a big role from him so that he does not feel burdened. In those days, he did small roles in many serials like ‘Lene Ke Dene’, ‘Dal Mein Kuch Kala Hai’.

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