One of television’s most popular shows — Sanjivani is set to make a comeback with its second season, after 14 years. Some of the original characters from the first season — Gurdeep Kohli (Dr Juhi Singh) and Mohnish Behl (Dr Shashank Gupta) will reprise their roles along with some new actors. Surbhi Chandna, Namit Khanna, Sayantani Ghosh and others stars in the series, which is going on air today, on Star Plus.
Gurdeep Kohli, who can’t hide her excitement about reprising her role in Sanjivani 2, says that there is sense of deja vu, nostalgia, throwbacks. “Whenever Mohnish Behl and I are together, we keep chatting about those past memories. Even the new actors keep asking us stories about the show. It’s a different kind of bonding with the new team. It’s amazing to be back and feels very good.”
The Dastaan-E-Mohabbat: Salim Anarkali, Sethji actress says that she gets overwhelmed and has a lump in her throat when she is on the set, discussing scenes with the team. “I am an emotional person and I am very attached to Sanjivani, because it’s given me everything. It’s given me the correct headstart I needed in my career, a place in the industry and my husband (Arjun Punj). When the team came back with a great story, I felt wanted and gratitude towards the craft, makers and audience,” she says.
She adds that when Siddharth Malhotra, creator and producer of Sanjivani, called her with the idea of the sequel last year, she was screaming and shouting with joy. “I told him, ‘You can’t do this without me’ and he was like, ‘I know and that’s why I am calling you’. We had meetings and everything fell into place,” she says, adding that she did not want to do daily soaps but because it was Sanjivani, she did not think twice. “I made an exception for my most-loved show.”
But did she have to work to get back into the character of Dr Juhi Singh because the character must have evolved over the years? Gurdeep replies, “Because the makers had done such a good job, it was not difficult for me to pick up the character. When the first season had happened, I was naïve but I have matured over the years and my personality has also changed and all that has helped me play the character better. Also, as a mother, I know how to guide people and I will be doing the same with the junior doctors in the show.” She adds that even after so many years, she instantly connected with the emotional arc of the character. “That’s because Dr Juhi is a lot like me. I know how she will smile or behave in a certain situation, how she will speak to Dr Shashank or the juniors. I have lived that character for three years,” she says, adding, “Just like her, I don’t like when someone is fighting and I get affected if things aren’t right around me.”
The actress, who has been part of the TV industry for close to two decades now, says that the industry hasn’t changed over the years, but the audiences have. “There are multiple choices across various platforms. There are huge budgets spent on TV shows, films and web. Because the right changes haven’t happened on TV, the audiences have shifted. That’s the reason the makers decided to get Sanjivani back because the first season stood ground against all family dramas,” she says.
As the conversation comes to an end, she says that managing her children, family and show is challenging. “I can’t tell you how challenged I feel not just to come on set and perform but manage everything. But I have a very understanding life partner and because of our work compatibility, things are smooth. My husband knows this is my moment and he is completely supporting me,” she says.