‘Astitva...Ek Prem Kahani’ was a television drama serial that used to be broadcasted on Zee TV. It premiered on 17 November 2002 and telecasted its last episode on 13 January 2006. The show was a soap opera produced by Balaji Telecommunications and directed by
Ajai Sinha. The serial aired for a total of 668 episodes, and each episode was on average 25 minutes long. The show revolves around famous gynecologist Dr. Simran Mathur.
It starts when Simran operates on and saves the life of a woman named Anandi. Anandi’s brother, Abhi, who is a photographer, falls in love with the doctor. Simran initially rejects his advances since he is ten years younger than her, but later falls in love with him. Simran and Abhi elope since their parents do not want them to marry. Simran’s father, Saurabh, disinherits his daughter and quits his job due to depression. He gets a mistress and starts looking for peace with her. Simran and Abhi begin to live together in Abhi’s photography studio.
Abhi’s parents think that Simran brainwashed their son, and ask the couple to stay at their house to counter her influence over Abhi. Abhi’s parents mistreat Simran, but she does not complain. She tries to win them over by love. Anandi tries to repay her debt to Simran by helping her to form a good relationship with her parents. Abhi and Simran move out when Abhi learns of the mistreatment of his wife. Simran gets pregnant. Abhi becomes nervous about fatherhood and engages in an extramarital affair with his assistant, Kiran. Abhi leaves Simran for Kiran and marries her.
Kiran also gets pregnant, but abandons Abhi and aborts the child when a man named Anil Shourie comes into her life. Abhi marries a third wife called Neha, who also gets pregnant. She dies shortly after giving birth to a girl. Simran also gives birth to a girl named Aastha. Simran goes to London for a trip, and Aastha is kidnapped. She returns and adopts Neha’s daughter, whom she also calls Aastha. The series concludes when the family reunites. However, they are travelling in a bus which becomes a target of a bomb. Aastha dies in the blast and Simran loses her eyes.
Simran later regains her sight through surgery and gets back together with Abhi, and they get to live back together. The serial was a huge success and received many awards. It also won the 2005 Apsara awards for Best Drama Series, Best Actress, and Best Actor. Besides these awards, it also grabbed 2005 Indian Television Awards for Best Actor and Best Teleplay.