Exploring race through curiosity, being mistaken for a doctor when working for hospital radio, and when not to ask a celebrity patient for a photograph. These were just some of the stories and ideas shared by actor, writer and British Asian Trust ambassador Sanjeev Bhaskar when he joined Dr Akanksha Mimi Malhotra, Vice President of the RSM Respiratory Medicine Section, during a recent RSM In Conversation Live event.
Writer of hit comedy shows Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars at No. 42, Sanjeev Bhaskar played Dr Prem Sharma in The Indian Doctor (2010-2013) and is currently starring on TV as DI Sunny Khan in Unforgotten. He will be appearing soon in the upcoming American drama series, The Sandman.
In an entertaining and thoughtful conversation Sanjeev described his first brush with the airwaves on hospital radio, leading to an embarrassing case of mistaken identity on the Obs & Gynae ward, and spoke about writing the funniest and sharpest characters in his earlier TV shows to challenge preconceptions and notions of race.
He went on to recall memories of his great uncle who came to work as a post-war Harley Street GP, complete with three-piece suit and bow tie. An experience very different from the many Indian doctors Sanjeev encountered when researching his TV doctor role, who arrived in Britain in the late 50s and 60s to work in the NHS in far flung places around the UK.
Talking about his work as a UNICEF supporter, he also described meeting his childhood hero Roger Moore and witnessing at first hand the work the charity is doing for children in Malawi.
He went on to explore with Mimi Malhotra the challenges of living with a ‘compassion first’ ethos in a world dominated by social media, and how different experiences, diversity of thought and problem solving together are key for a flourishing society. To paraphrase Sanjeev’s own words: “Growing up, stories for me were never limited to what I looked like or where my parents were from. Whether it's about colour or race, whether it's about a region, someone’s age or something else, all of those things represent a diversity of thought, a different experience, and a different angle.”
To hear all these thoughts and more, follow this link to listen to the recording of In Conversation Live with Sanjeev Bhaskar on the RSM’s YouTube channel.