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Interview Hindi

Women used to land up at my home asking for help during Hum Log: Seema Pahwa

The actress talks about why she needed personal bodyguards while working as 'Badki' in the first soap opera on Indian national television in the 1980s, and the evolution of the medium over years.

Suparna Thombare

While the young theatre going audience of today knows Seema Pahwa for her amazing performances as the girl’s mother in films like Ankhon Dekhi (2014), Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015), Bareilly Ki Barfi (2017) and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan (2017), very few are aware that the actress’s journey began way back in the 1960s as a popular child artiste, performing on Akashwani and Doordarshan. 

“I am lucky that I have witnessed the entire revolution that Indian television went through. In 1968 (when I started out), there used to be live telecast so you perform like you are on stage. Then the recording system came, then editing...” says Pahwa.

INTERVIEW PART 1 - Seema Pahwa: Happy to challenge myself to play relatable mother as it is not easy

It was her turn as the elder daughter ‘Badki’ in India’s first soap opera, Hum Log, in the 1980s though that saw her at the peak of her popularity. So much so that she had to resort to private security to protect herself from trouble-makers owing to her playing the part of a social worker rather convincingly. 

“Women used to see that (her playing social worker) and land up at my residence. They used believe that this (Hum Log) is a real world and what Badki is saying is the truth. My character had left her home, so they used to leave their husband’s home over night and run away to me with all kids and all their stuff. That became my responsibility. I couldn’t leave them like that. I used to contact organisations and ask them for support,” said Pahwa. 

“Their husbands used to write letters to me, threatening to murder me or throw acid on me and other things, saying that I was influencing their wives. That is why I used to need bodyguards,” she adds. 

Read the 2nd part of the interview with Seema Pahwa here.