When one thinks of Sanjay Leela Bhansali one thinks of grand romantic films like Devdas, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Sawariyaa.   The latest story to catch Bhansali’s attention is the famous Gujarati novel, Saraswatichandra written  by Govardhanram Madhavaram Tripathi.  And this time, it is a TV series, and not a film.

Saraswatichandra, written in four parts from 1887 to 1902, is a tale of societal pressures, unfulfilled love and self-sacrifice.  It depicts the social fabric of that time: extended family life, old customs and traditions.  This novel was adapted into a movie of the same name by Govind Saraiya in 1968.   This movie starring Nutan and Manish was also the last Bollywood film to be made in black and white.  It won the National Film Awards in the Best Cinematography (Nariman A Irani) and Best Music Director (Kalyanji-Anandji) categories.

The recent adaptation of Tripathi’s novel by Bhansali is a television series.  The novel, written in four parts over 15 years, has been termed as a super novel by many. With so much matter to work with, a TV adaptation would do lot more justice to the scale and breadth of the story.

The TV adaptation has been modified to appeal to contemporary sensibilities.  Bhansali has modernized the characters while keeping traditional values intact.  The tale revolves strongly along the idea of unrequited love and separation due to societal pressures.

Saraswatichandra, a modern but traditional man lives in Dubai with his rich father and is deeply in love with Kumud Desai.  The show premiered on Star Plus in the last week of February 2013. 

Sunil Doshi
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