Nirmal Soni, New Dr Hathi: Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah Family Will Be Complete After Disha Vakani, Dayaben Returns was the first one to tell you that the original Dr Hathi, Nirmal Soni will mark his comeback in Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah. Kavi Kumar Azaad, who played Dr Hathi for nearly a decade, passed away on July 9. Here is Nirmal's EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW on his return

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Nirmal Soni, New Dr Hathi: Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah Family Will Be Complete After Disha Vakani, Dayaben Returns

Congratulations on your second innings in Taarak!
Thank you and sorry I couldn’t reply to your messages as I was not allowed to reveal that I am becoming Dr.Hathi again. 

That's fine, we were sure and went ahead with the story. How does it feel to come back after so many years?
I am feeling so good that I can't even describe. It is great to be back to such a superhit show. Aajkal, no show has a life so long as Taarak is still having.

Last time when we spoke to you, you said they haven’t even called you? 
Yes, they called me only recently. They wanted to audition me and I asked why since I had  already worked with them. But they said it is a standard procedure, which everyone has to follow.

Besides you, who all came for this role? 
I don’t know their names, but I heard 2-3 other actors also auditioned for it.  


While auditioning, were you sure that you will be the chosen one? 
Yes, I was very much confident. My sixth sense told me that I only will get it. Frankly, I wasn’t worried.


When you left last time things were not good between you and the production (Neela Telefilms Pvt Ltd), so this time did you put forth any terms and conditions before signing up? 
Dekhiye, jab saath mein pyaar se kaam karna hai toh terms and conditions nahi rakhne chahiye. So there are no terms and conditions, none from their side either. And I totally believe in forgetting old things and moving ahead. 


How did your colleagues welcome you on the set? 
The first day when I shot, the entire cast was present. Everyone’s reaction was warm. They said 'Tum wapas aagaye. Hame laga tha Tu hi wapas aayega'. I was not in touch with anyone after I quit the show. And they had loads of questions to ask and lots of things to discuss. 

What all changes have you observed after the comeback? 
Lot of things, especially the kids. Tapu and Sonu have changed, but rest three kids are the same. Especially when I saw my onscreen son Goli (Kush Shah), I was amazed. He was so small when I last met him and today he is taller than me.

I just can’t believe that in 10 years he has grown up so much. 

People will compare you with Kavi Kumar. Are you ready? 
Yes, people will definitely compare me with Kavi Kumarji. After all, he has played this character for so many years and that too so well. I am sure people must be missing him. But I am glad that they have accepted me back as the show's fans have now started sending me message on my social handles (pauses).


Go on...
People came to know about my return only through you guys. I, being very much active on social media, read their reactions which had skepticism. They were saying, "Maza nahin aayega. He will not fit in the character".  But as soon as my first episode went on air, I started received positive comments. In fact, every comment after that has been in my favour- praising me and my look. Now, I am quite relaxed. Let's see how it goes.

Dayaben (Disha Vakani) is still missing from the show...
Today, I heard that she is coming back. They haven’t told us anything officially, yet. But I am really happy hearing this. Our family will be complete on her return.