In a time of saas-bahu soap operas and shows where women were constantly pitched against each other, female representation on the comic front came in the form of Supriya Pathak’s Hansa Parekh from Khichdi. Men dominated the comedy scene on Indian television for ages, from Jaaved Jaffrey to Shekhar Suman.
And then, we had the delight of watching the hilarious Hansa Parekh, with her brilliant dialogues that cracked you up and a nonchalant obliviousness that was endearing.
Supriya Pathak was already a well-known and established actor when she chose to do the role of Hansa in 2002, but we definitely didn’t expect to fall in love with her the way we did. She added a sort of charm to Hansa’s character that made her an instant favourite with viewers.
I remember growing up an awkward teen, being told that women are ’emotional’ and ‘sensitive’ and aren’t meant to be funny. But along came Hansa, on national television and completely changed the narrative. “Ke mera naam Hansa” and “Khana kha ke jana” are dialogues that we still remember, two decades later.
And let’s not forget that fact that Hansa was a great feminist icon on-screen. She was self-assured and confident, never afraid to speak her mind and stood by her ideals (no matter what they might be). Before Hansa, and even after her, women were constantly made the butt of jokes because of their physical traits and appearance or even their gender, but there was no such thing when it came to Hansa. We’ll always be grateful for Supriya Pathak, who took on this task of bringing us an iconic character.
Initially, I was worried about playing Hansa because Hansa is someone who talks a lot but does nothing. But after I started playing the character, it was such a relief. I feel Hansa is an evergreen character which has been a sheer pleasure to perform.
-Supriya Pathak to The New Indian Express
20 years after it began airing, Khichdi is undoubtedly still one of our favourite shows, and Hansa a character who changed so much for female comedians on Indian television because we weren’t laughing at her, but with her.