You might not have heard much of her but this sweet lady has made herself a place in the hearts of the audience. After trying her hands at Bollywood in cameo roles in movies like Krazzy 4, Luck By Chance and Halla Bol, Jennifer Mistry Bansiwal gained eminence with her role in Sab TV’s comic show, Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma.
The story of this sitcom, produced by Neela Films is inspired from the comical editorial column, ‘Duniya Ne Undha Chashma’ written by Tarak Mehta, a journalist and columnist for Chitralekha, a Gujrati weekly magazine and is immensely popular among the Indian audience. The story revolves around the daily life of the members of a housing society named, Gokuldham Co- operative housing society which in turn is said to represent the communal web of our country. According to the sitcom, it is said to be located in Powder Galli, Filmcity Road, Goregaon East, Mumbai and we find people of every community i.e. Gujrati, Parsi, Punjabi, Marathi, Bengali, Bihari and Muslim living happily and in agreement with each other. They face every problem in unity and clearly represent the noble saying, ‘Unity in Diversity’. The most prominent families in the society are the Gada family (Gujrati- Jain), the Mehta family, the one with more contemporary thoughts keeping in mind the traditional values, the Bhide family (Marathi), the Iyer family (South Indian- Bengali), the Sodhi family (Punjabi- Parsi) and the Hathi family (Bihari).
Jennifer portrays the character of Mrs. Roshan Sodhi, a Parsi housewife, married to Sardarji Roshan Singh Sodhi of the Sodhi family, played by Gurucharan Singh. The duo share brilliant on screen chemistry and the actress in an interview has been heard stating that it all started from the day of the audition. Both of them had turned up for the audition of Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma and they were given a situation which would have to be acted out by them. Their act was splendid and was appreciated by everyone present on the spot including the creative head of the show himself. The character in itself is very sweet and faces a communication problem with her husband quite often. The actress, originally from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh is fluent in the national language but plays the character of a Parsi with ease.
Ask the actress about her experience playing the character of Mrs. Sodhi and being a part of one of the leading sitcoms in the country and she gets all excited. According to her, Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma is one such show which is viewed by people from all societies and all communities along with their family. She admits to be extremely fortunate to be a part of a show which has made a place in the hearts of everyone right from a kid to the aged and is happy to make the others happy. On the fame she has obtained from being a part of the much beloved show, she says that she couldn’t have gained so much of it if she would have been a part of some regular saas- bahu soap. According to her, the characters in the sitcom are more real as compared to the other serials, hence the people can relate to them easily. In fact the characters represent the daily life of a commoner so well that the actress has often been asked if Sardarji Roshan Sodi, played by Gurucharan Singh was her actual husband. Just FYI, Jennifer is hitched to Mayur Bansiwal and accredits him and his constant support for her establishments in her acting career. The actress admits the fact that she doesn’t have much footage in the serial but the little she has, has gained her the recognition she has today. She gushes with laughter as she remembers people including some of the weird ones staring at her in the malls, asking for autographs and pictures.
The super hit serial which has completed five hundred episodes is not only a comedy on camera but according to Jennifer, it is also fun to be on the sets when the camera is not rolling. Apart from acting there is a strong bonding between the co actors especially among the women. They have their meals together and even respond to the fans who come on the sets together, altogether a very fun- loving atmosphere prevails on the sets. Jennifer who has been staying in Mumbai for seven years admits that apart from money and fame, her role in Tarak Mehta Ka Oolath Chashma has given her an identity of her own. Even people from her society who previously considered acting to be a bad career option, appreciate her and look up to her now.
Her acting career has just started off and when asked about her dream role, she names quite a few. She mentions the role of Urmila Matondkar of a psycho in Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya and that of Madhuri Dixit and Rekha in Lajja. According to her aggressive roles would suit her. She also mentions the role of Sridevi in Sadma.
Well, I guess Jennifer has a long way to go before she can step into such roles. We’ll find out how far she can reach.