Revisiting the original medical drama Sanjivanihttps://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/television/revisiting-the-original-medical-drama-sanjivani-5896633/

Revisiting the original medical drama Sanjivani

Sanjivani's success came from its refreshing storytelling process, script and the performances of the actors. It also had the perfect mix of drama and romance, dollops of emotions and a strange relatability factor that none of the dailies provided during that time.

Sanjivani
Sanjivani was probably the first show on Indian television where a subject like HIV was discussed. (Express Archives Photo)

In 2002, for the first time, the audience got to witness a full blown medical drama on the small screen. A prime time show set in a hospital – Sanjivani – A Medical Boon was a big risk that Star Plus and Cinevistaas took. Result? The serial went on to become one of the most iconic shows in the early 2000s. Interestingly, that was also the time when tearjerkers like Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Kasautii Zindagii Kay were ruling the charts. Yet, this simple show managed to make a permanent place in the viewers’ heart.

And now, from August 12, viewers are all set to relive the magic as Sanjivani is making a comeback with a fresh new season. The makers have assured that while the core of the show will remain the same, it will be a more contemporary take. While Mohnish Bahl and Gurdeep Kohli have been retained from the original show to evoke nostalgia, young and popular actors Surbhi Chandna and Namit Khanna will carry the baton as the fresh leads. Sayantani Ghosh and Rohit Roy will also be seen in pivotal roles.

Taking you back in time to the original show, Dr Shashank Gupta (Mohnish Bahl) was seen holding the fort at the Sanjivani hospital. A righteous doctor, Shashank had a tough exterior with a soft heart. He knew the responsibilities of a doctor and thus couldn’t stand any shortcoming from his team. The show began with four interns – Dr Juhi (Gurdeep Kohli), Dr Rahul (Mihir Mishra), Dr Simran (Rupali Ganguly) and Dr Omi (Sanjit Bedi) joining Sanjivani under Dr Gupta. The show further chronicled their trials and tribulations as they balanced their personal and professional lives.

Now if you feel watching the medical drama would have required a science degree, you are mistaken. Sanjivani’s success came from its refreshing storytelling process, script and the performances of the actors. It also had the perfect mix of drama and romance, dollops of emotions and a strange relatability factor that none of the dailies provided during that time. As per the storyline, Juhi was an orphan, with a dream to serve society as a doctor. Rahul and Simran were childhood friends and rich spoilt brats. They both initially detested Juhi for her excellence but soon Rahul fell in love with her. Juhi changed Rahul for the better but Simran, who secretly loved Rahul, felt dejected and turned against Juhi.

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Sanijivani also showcased the typical vamp through Simran. The young girl with the help of her powerful dad (Vikram Gokhale) tried her best to separate Juhi and Rahul. She even employed a guy Dr Aman (Arjun Punjj) to impersonate Juhi’s childhood friend and got them married. But true love never remains apart in television shows. After many heartbreaking and anguish-filled moments, Aman left the stage for Juhi and Rahul to unite. Apart from this dynamic love story, Dr Shashank and Dr Smriti’s (Iravati Harshe) mature love story also warmed people’s heart.

The makers also touched upon some really pertinent topics. It was probably the first show on Indian television where a subject like HIV was discussed. One of the most prominent characters Dr Omi died of HIV and the daily projected the myth around the disease. Other topics like dowry deaths, suicide, mental illness were also touched upon, as the doctors in the Sanjivani hospital dealt with issues around them. The series also took upon itself to promote important subjects like ORS (oral rehydration salts) and first aid, among more.

Coming to the cast, this was Mohnish Behl’s first stint on television, and it definitely opened the gates for him. It was also the start of a career for the younger actors, and Sanjivani made them stars overnight. Many popular faces like Shilpa Shinde, Indrani Halder, Aashish Chaudhary, Sumeet Raghavan, Shabir Ahluwalia and Ankita Bhargava also made their presence felt in the weekly drama.

karan singh grover in dill mill gayye
Karan Singh Grover and Shilpa Anand in Dill Mill Gayye.

The success of Sanjivani got the makers to launch its sequel Dill Mill Gayye in 2007. With a fresh lot of actors like Karan Singh Grover, Jennifer Winget, Shilpa Anand, Sukriti Kandpal, Drashti Dhami and Karan Wahi, the show went on to become a massive success. Dill Mill Gayye boasted of two seasons, with the show dealing with the aspirations and insecurities of young doctors and how they tried to balance that with their personal lives.

Also Read | The actors of Sanjivani: Where are they now?

While the previous success rate of Sanjivani and Dill Mill Gayye can easily boost the confidence of the makers, the vast change in content consumption will definitely be a reason of worry for them. With international content easily available and web series upping its standard, television, in recent times, has seen a decline with most shows focusing on supernatural or typical family dramas. It will be interesting to see whether Sanjivani manages to change the viewing pattern of the audience and gets them hooked to television again. While the title tune stirs up nostalgia for the older audience, the first time viewers, too, are curious to see what Sanjivani has in store for them. And with Surbhi Chandna being the face of the show, well, the makers have a good amount of fandom already in their pockets!

The new Sanjivani will start airing from August 12 on Star Plus. It will also stream on Hotstar.