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Curtain raiser to Godh Bharaai

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Sony's latest offering, Godh Bharaai, by Sphere Origins, deals with the rather sensitive topic of women who cannot have children, and the way these women are treated by their families, and by society. With the first look of the show yesterday on Sony Entertainment Television, we introduce you to the Agnihotri family, as we join them and their bahu, Aastha, on an emotional journey so close to many in real life.

Aastha, the protagonist, is married to Shivam Agnihotri. She is the ideal bahu - a simple, undemanding, caring, and loving person. She is also the ideal wife, content with being a part of the happy Agnihotri family. She turns to Shivam for all the big decisions in her life. Pallavi Subhash, of Karam Apna Apna, Kasam Se and Basera fame, plays Aastha. Pallavi is also a well-known face in the Marathi theatre and film circles, as well as in the TV commercial circuit.

Shivam is the second son of the Agnihotri family, and Aastha's husband. An ideal friend, son and husband, Shivam has the ability to cheer up the most depressed person. His one weakness is that he trusts people blindly. Shakti Anand, who begun his TV career with Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhie Bahu Thi, and became a household name with shows like Saara Aakash and Ek Ladki Anjani Si, plays Shivam.

The patriarch of the Agnihotri clan, and the authoritarian father of Shivam, Gaurav and Kavita, is Ramakant. He may have retired from his government job, but he is actively involved in social work, and writing. He believes that a home is a woman's domain, and expects his wife to rule the house with love, honesty, and sincerity. Ramakant has a positive outlook towards life, but he can become cynical about certain social issues. National and State Awards winner, Ravindra Laxaman Mankani plays the role of Ramakant Agnihotri. Ravindra was a Civil Engineer, before he ventured into acting. He is a well-known persona in Marathi films and television, and best remembered for his roles in Saakshi, CID Special Bureau, and Jhansi Ki Rani.

Bhagyashree Agnihotri is a calm, content and loving person. Married to Ramakant, she knows how to keep her family close-knit. She is extremely fond of her younger daughter-in-law, Aastha, and often supports her in times of crises. Mangal Kenkre, who plays Bhagyashree, is a well-known film, theatre and television actor, with most of her films winning international accolades.

Rajesh Jais plays Gaurav, the eldest son of the Agnihotri family. He is hard-working, honest, and calm. He loves the simple joys of life, and is content spending as much time with his daughter as possible. He supports all family decisions, and is most non-interfering.

Aanchal Dwivedi (Saat Phere, Nagin) plays Gaurav's ambitious and pushy wife, Meena. She ie jealous of the rapport that Aastha shares with the rest of the family, and secretly hopes that she will never conceive. Meena never misses an opportunity to humiliate Aastha.

Mohit Mallik (Milli, Pari Hoon Main, Durgesh Nandini) plays Bharat, Shivam's business partner and friend. He has had a hard life, but is an extremely easy-going person. His life revolves around his mother, Indira, and he is a firm believer in honest relationships. He is married to Avni.

Neha Kaul (Kyunki Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hain, Galli Galli Sim Sim) plays Avni, Bharat's workaholic wife. She is a jewellery designer, and quite successful. A failed relationship early in life made the bubbly Avni bitter, but Bharat managed to cut through her cold facade. Bharat and Avni are each other's second relationship.

Pallavi Subhash, a.k.a. Aastha, says, "For society, a childless woman is like a shadow - you may or may not notice it on the wall. There is no shape, no sound, and it disappears in darkness, like it never existed." A source from the production house says that the show is all set to change the way society looks at childless women, by highlighting the issue. Watch out for Godh Bharaai on Sony.

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