An alumnus of the National School Of Drama in Delhi and FTII in Pune, Satish Kaushik has made an indelible mark in cinema and TV. His sudden death has left many friends, family, and fans grieving...
Last Updated: 05.54 PM, Mar 09, 2023
On Thursday morning, Twitter was mourning the loss of Satish Kaushik while I was attempting to teach how a play that was first shown on Broadway in 1949 was still relevant today simply because salesmen are slowly been replaced by social media, and if they did not reinvent themselves, salesmen like Willy Lowman would indeed find themselves at a dead end.
Well, Salesman Ramlal is really no more. And even though I had felt that Satish Kaushik - who played Salesman Ramlal - was a bit too theatrical in his interpretation, I came away touched by how real their despair and hope against hope was. Salesman Ramlal and his wife (played by the inimitable Seema Biswas) tell us a tale of an elderly man who has just been made redundant by technology, is unable to play the EMIs and his despair that his sons are never going to do as well as he imagined them. St. Andrews auditorium in 2009, was filled with regular theatre goers and some who wanted to see a Bollywood person perform were silent when the theatre plunged into darkness… I had been shedding a tear silently because I have seen parents who expect their children to do well, and are given to fanciful thinking, vacillating between hope and despair… And the end made everyone gasp.
Well, that Salesman has just moved to the theatre in the sky, leaving behind all his fans who grew up saying, ‘Calendar, khana do!’. This salesman was Calendar for most of his fans, who grew up watching Mr. India. Satish Kaushik plays Calendar, the man who cooks for the orphans under the wing of Mr. India. Satish kaushik had worked for Shekhar Kapur before, in the film Masoom.
Who knew Calendar, I mean, Satish Kaushik wrote the funniest, sharpest dialogues. Ashok in the iconic film Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, played by Satish Kaushik is also credited with dialogue writing in the film! His comedic bone is visible when he trash talks as gangster Pappu Pager with Govinda:
And if that delivery is too complicated to remember, then this will be easier to remember, as Pappu says in the film: Pappu Pager ke dimaag ko samajhne ko tere ko time lagega… samjha kya? Dekh (shows photo) Yeh Bhunnu ka dushman, Main Bhunnu ka dushman…Aaj dushman dushman se haath milake, bhunnu se apni insult ka badla lega!
Totally irrelevant, but whenever someone shows me their photos, I remember this dialogue!
I loved his German in Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain, where he plays the harried man who has made the mistake of lending Sunny Goyal (Johnny Lever) money. His sad dialogue, ‘Sabar karte karte kahin main kabar tak na pahunch jaaoon!’ made us laugh, because we all have friends like Johnny Lever who borrow money and then make the most bizarre excuses…
When we look back at the movies which have this kind of comedy, you either love them or hate them for their exaggerated physicality and wordplay. He directed many comedies (with Anil Kapoor, Akshaye Khanna, Tusshar Kapoor), but he directed the Anil Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan tear-jerker Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain. Salman Khan fans loved him in Tere Naam which he directed as well. But I was taken aback when I realised that the Himesh Reshammiya remake of the Rishi Kapoor, Tina Munim film Karz titled Karzzz was directed by Satish Kaushik. I remember deliberating over tea and samosas after the film if it was really Calendar who directed this film!
With many Telugu remakes in his filmography, he also has the distinction of producing the Majid Majidi film Children Of Heaven remake by Priyadarshan (Bumm Bumm Bole). With over a hundred films in his kitty as a comic actor, director and producer, Satish Kaushik did not stop. He stepped into the world of OTT shows.
The evil Mundhra in Scam 1992 will creep you out from the inside because up until then, you are rooting for Harshad Mehta, who has made money by beating the system.
Satish Kaushik plays the ‘educated man, living abroad’ husband to Nazneen by ‘arranged marriage’ and will make you shiver because you have heard these stories from women, even seen some of them in real life. Husbands like Chanu Ahmed, stifle their wives by being so ordinary, so ‘desi’ despite working abroad. When they realise that their wives and kids are blossoming into citizens of a new world, their solution is the same as Babuji in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge: We have to go back home.
Satish Kaushik is known for the Philips Top Ten show on Music (which aired on Zee TV), and everyone loved him in his role as Nawab Jung Bahadur in The Great Indian Family Drama. He has also proven himself in Katha Sagar, Sumit Sambhal Lega as well as in the recent shows Bloody Brothers and Guilty Minds.
An alumnus of National School Of Drama in Delhi and FTII in Pune, Satish Kaushik has made an indelible mark in cinema and TV. His sudden death has left many friends, family, and fans grieving. I hope he finds peace and is perhaps laughing up there in the sky, dressed as the inspector who cannot stop laughing:
About the author:
Manisha Lakhe writes on films and TV shows, is a poet, teacher, traveller and mom (and not necessarily in that order). Could sell her soul for Pinot and a good cheesecake.
(Disclaimer: Views expressed in the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of OTTplay. The writer is solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.)