Sailaab – A 1995 Zee TV Classic

A beautiful ghazal sung by a ghazal maestro for the title song, stellar performances by the main and second leads, superb direction and brilliant script writing are some of the highlights that make Sailaab a popular and unforgettable show. This 1995 classic, that was first shown on Zee TV remains one of my top few favourite shows among all times.

Sailaab can be called as TV’s own Silsila because the story is about two ex-lovers who meet again while they are married to other persons, decide to ponder upon their feelings for each other, realise that time has taken them onto different paths and finally return back to their respective spouses.

The similarites also extend to the fact that both in the movie and TV versions, the male protagonist is a writer and the husband of the female protagonist is a doctor. But then, the similarity ends there. Sailaab is given a totally different treatment. Feelings of helplessness, revolt, jealousy, possessiveness – all so delicately handled by the director, Ravi Rai.

Narration of the story is quite gripping. It starts with Rohit and Shivani meeting after a gap of five years. From there, the story keeps shuttling between the past and present, gradually unfolding the events of the past and their effects befalling on the present events. And as the story moves to and fro between the two eras, Jagjit Singh’s ghazal, ‘Apni marzi se kahaan apne safar ke hum hai …’ accompanies one throughout. Penned by Nida Fazli and composed by Talat Aziz, this beautiful ghazal, mirrors the emotions that the protagonists go through while contemplating the matters of their hearts.

Not only this, there are a few more songs that are unforgettable, like ‘Jeevan kya hai’ sung by Jagjit Singh, ‘Koi kisi se door hai, koi kisi ke saath …’, sung by Talat Aziz

Surrounded by these beautiful tunes, Sailaab takes its own shape, Story and screenplay is by the director, Ravi Rai, himself. He provides some very thoughtful lines throughout the series. His narration, as the story develops, is quite crisp.

Stars of the show are surely the protagonists Renuka Shahane who plays Shivani and Sachin Khedekar who plays Rohit. They pour their heart and soul into their respective characters, expressing their pain and helplessness with utmost ease. Not far behind are the actors who play their respective spouses, Mahesh Thakur as Avinash and Prajakti Deshmukh as Gayatri. Their contribution is exemplary. I was surprised to see Mahesh Thakur excel in some highly emotional scenes. Before this, I had seen him only in the hilarious sitcom, ‘Tu tu main main’ and had no clue that he could execute very contrast scenes so well.

The rest of the cast boasts of a very talented team that includes Rohini Hattangadi as Rohit’s mother, Raju Kher as Shivani’s brother, Nandita Puri as Shivani’s sister-in-law, Sucheta Trivedi as Rohit’s sister, Ninad Kamat as Gayatri’s brother, etc. Of course, the cast and crew team as a whole has worked together to create a beautiful series, that one can remember for a long long time.

All the pictures and videos are credited to the uploaders. A huge thanks to them for helping me watch this series once more and letting me revisit that era once again.


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  • Reply
    indrani robbins
    February 19, 2017 at 11:30 am

    hi durga, i haven’t seen sailaab, but as i read your take and got the gist of things, i was thinking, television serials had far more intersting things to say once. and they did it often with a lot of grace. and depth. watched the set of interviews at the end… where have those times of tv gone in the hour of nagins, chudails, contract marriages, delayed “consummations”, saases and bahus, and all that loud flat storytelling. thanks for posting this. i remember renuka shahane became very popular at the time. sachin k is a good actor, wonder why he never shone as much as he might have. and did you here the strains of schindler’s list’s theme in the bg score where the mother son scene unfolds? thanks for writing about a sane show.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    Thanks for reading Indi. Sailaab was my most fav show until IPK took over. It was a big hit during the 90s and make Renuka S and Sachin K very popular. Renuka had already gained popularity after Hum aapke hain koun. And this show took her to another level. Sachin Khedekar gained immense fan following. He may not have done very well in the Hindi field post that, but in the Marathi industry, he is shining and how. He’s been giving some award winning performances in award winning movies. You must see Kaksparsh. He’s done an outstanding job. Will see if a subtitled version is available.

    I know at the turn of the century, TV shows went through a drastic change and the content went down the hill. But before that we did have some good ones, with good storylines and very good actors. That era is badly missed.

    • Reply
      indrani robbins
      February 25, 2017 at 9:54 am

      yes, good story telling and themes one can identify with badly missed. sachin k is a good actor, would love to see the one you recommend.

      • Reply
        March 7, 2017 at 4:26 pm

        Indi, couldn’t find one with subtitles. But sharing a link anyway. I guess it won’t be difficult to understand the content.

        • Reply
          indrani robbins
          March 8, 2017 at 8:06 pm

          thanks so much. 🙂

  • Reply
    rhea sinha
    February 27, 2017 at 4:16 am

    Durga di I feel like I might know this show, but can’t remember the details. All these actors were very popular. Loved the song. Thank you for writing about Sailaab.

    • Reply
      March 7, 2017 at 4:31 pm

      It was very popular at that time Rhea. The songs were even bigger hits. They were part of a few albums by Jagjit Singh and Talat Aziz. Later no one could believe that they were originally written for a tv show. ☺

  • Reply
    April 18, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    I am so happy to find your blog. It was such a pleasure to read about Sailaab after all these years. I was barely in my teens when this show aired and i remember watching it with my mother. The show remains, till date, one of my all time favourites along with Kshitij Ye Nahi. The complex story of Rohit-Shivani has been immortalised by the unforgettable performances of Renuka Shahane and Sachin Khedekar. Albeit i still am forever biased towards Avinash (Mahesh Thakur). I was rooting for him throughout the show.

    Its so sad that we cant get shows and actors of such caliber these days on TV. A huge thanks to Ravi Rai and Prajakti Deshmukh for giving us this gem of a show and ofcourse the Late Great Jagjit Singh!

    • Reply
      April 21, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      Hello Luna. Welcome to Writersbrew. Sailaab is a complex story to tell. To narrate it without making any character look bad is quite an achievement. Hats off to Ravi Rai. Of course, the music of the show brought it to a whole another level. A huge salaam to the musical talents of Jagjit Singh, Talat Aziz and Nida Fazli. The late ghazal maestro’s voice lives on in works such as these.
      Thanks for reading and commenting. ☺

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