Jaspal Singh Bhatti (3 March 1955 – 25 October 2012) was an Indian television personality famous for his satirical take on the problems of the common man. He is most well known for his television series Flop Show and mini capsules Ulta Pulta which ran onDoordarshan, India’s national television network, in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was also known as the “King of Comedy”.
In 2013, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan (posthumously), India’s third highest civilian award.
Early background and personal life
Jaspal Bhatti with Ravi deep
Born on 3 March 1955 at Amritsar, Bhatti graduated from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh as an electrical engineer.Bhatti married Savita Bhatti on 24 March 1985, and has a son, Jasraj Bhatti, and a daughter, Raabiya Bhatti. His Wife Savita Bhatti was chosen in 2014 Elections as a Candidate of Aam Aadmi Party from Chandigarh, but she opted out.
His low-budget Flop Show TV series in the early 1990s is remembered even today. His wife Savita Bhatti produced the show and acted in all the episodes as his wife. Only 10 episodes were ever produced, but the show has had a long and powerful legacy and is well remembered. One of his co-actors Vivek Shauq has been very successful since his stint in Flop Show, having found a footing in Hindi cinema. On 10 January 2011, Shauq died from septicaemia.
Bhatti subsequently acted and directed the popular TV series Ulta Pulta and Nonsense Private Limited for the Doordarshan television network. What attracted audience to his shows was his gift of inducing humour to highlight everyday issues of the middle class in India. Bhatti’s satire on the Punjab police Mahaul Theek Hai (1999) was his first directorial venture for a full-length feature film in his native Punjabi language. It was well received amongst audience for its simple and honest humour. He played the role of Jolly Good Singh, a guard, in the movie Fanaa. He played a comical college principal in Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe. He also starred in the comedy Punjabi film Jijaji.
Bhatti acted in Hindi Movie Aa Ab Laut Chalen with Kadar Khan in 1999.
Bhatti appeared in SAB TV’s Comedy ka King Kaun as a judge with actress Divya Dutta. In his latest stint, Bhatti and his wife Savita competed in a popular Star Plus show Nach Baliye which went on air in October 2008. The couple put their best foot forward to entertain the audiences with their dancing and comic skills.
The cartoonist, humorist, actor and filmmaker was focusing on acting as he was getting numerous offers from Bollywood producers as a comedian.
In his later years, Jaspal Bhatti set up a training school and a studio in Mohali near Chandigarh called “Joke Factory”.
He also launched a new 52-episode comedy series titled Thank You Jijajion Sony’s family entertainment channel, SAB TV. It was shot at his own MAD Arts film school atChandigarh.
At a 2009 carnival at Chandigarh, Bhatti put up a stall displaying vegetables, daal and oils. The onlookers were invited to throw rings around them to win these costly goods as prizes, poking fun at the government’s failure to control inflation.
In 2009, Bhatti school’s, Mad Art’s, animation film on female foeticide won the second prize in the Advantage India organised by 1take media. It won a certificate of merit at the IDPA-2008 Awards in Mumbai.
Bhatti was granted the Lifetime Achievement Award, at the first Golden Kela Awards.
Jaspal Bhatti was awarded Padma Bhushan posthumously on Republic Day 2013 for his contribution to Arts.
Bhatti was known for floating his political parties during elections to highlight the problems faced by the general public.
In 1995, he floated the ‘Hawala Party’ delighting passers-by with his original poker faced take on growing political corruption in the country which was already a hotly discussed topic in the context of the Jain-Hawala Diaries.
In 2002, Bhatti announced that he was starting the “Suitcase Party” & released his manifesto allotting 5 seats to his family & more seats to be decided based on the suitcase size of the prospective candidates.
In 2009, the comedian announced that he was floating the “Recession Party” & Bhajna Amli, alias Gurdev Dhillon, as his party’s face from the Ludhiana. In his trademark satirical style, he kept his party’s symbol as opium, drugs and alcohol for which he claimed that there will be no shortage of supply if his party is voted to power.
India’s leading media critic Amita Malik says of him: “Bhatti has the correct style for TV, an understated, quiet humour which sinks in without shouting, and which mercilessly exposes both corruption in our every day life and the typical people, who thrive on it. The grim fact and the hard truths of our society so bitter otherwise are made so funny through the adept handling of Bhatti, that cleansing laughter is created out of common malpractices.”
Bhatti died in a car accident near Shahkot in Jalandhar district on 25 October 2012, aged 57. The car was being driven by his son, Jasraj Bhatti. Jaspal died just one day before the release of his film Power Cut starring his son Jasraj.He is survived by his wife and children.
Awards and honours
Government of India
Dil Pardesi Ho Gaya (2013) Filmed Before Death
Power Cut (2012) – Actor and director
Dharti (2011)- Surveen’s Dad
Hum Tum Shabana (2011) Guest Appearance
Chak De Phatte (2009) – Pyara Singh Lovely
Ek: The Power of One (2009)
Fanaa (2006) – Jolly Good Singh
Nalaik (2006) – Daku Mann Singh
Mera Dil Leke Dekkho (2006)
Kuchh Meetha Ho Jaye (2005) – Ram Saran Dubey
Kuch Naa Kaho (2003) – Monty Ahluwalia
Tujhe Meri Kasam (2003) – Sardarji
Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani (2002)
Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe (2002) – Naraaz Shankar
Shakti: The Power (2002) – Nandini’s uncle
Yeh Hai Jalwa (2002) – Buta Singh
Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai (2000) – Balwinder (Balu)
Khauff (2000) – Hava Singh/Dava Singh
Woh Bewafa Thi (2000)
Kartoos (1999) – Mini’s uncle
Mahaul Theek Hai (1999)
Aa Ab Laut Chalen (1999) – Iqbal
Jaanam Samjha Karo (1999) – Tubby, Rahul’s Secretary
Kaala Samrajya (1999)
Wanted: Gurdas Mann Dead or Alive (1994) – Thanedaar