The Good Karma Hospital and its South African connection


Cape Town – The Good Karma Hospital on BBC Brit (DStv 120) might be set in India but it is inspired by South Africa. 

The series is based on creator and writer Dan Sefton’s experiences as a doctor in SA. 

That’s not the only connection the series has to the country though.

The show is filmed in Sri Lanka and for the first season a crew from Cape Town worked on the production. 

For lead actress Amrita Acharia it was an amazing experience working with the Capetonians.

“I had a blast with them they were so welcoming and always invited me along to activities. They taught me how to surf. I still can’t stand up but I did once,” she says during a roundtable interview at the BBC Studios upfront in Johannesburg.

“And they taught me some swear words but never told me what it meant”, she adds with a cheeky laugh. 

‘THE APPEAL OF GOOD KARMA HOSPITAL’

The series follows a group of hard-working doctors in an under-funded hospital in tropical South India.

Speaking about what makes the show universally appealing Amrita says that it is the unique backdrop of India. While the show has some similarities with other shows such as Grey’s Anatomy the difference is that it is nuanced with the social economical structure in India and everything else that comes with that society. 

When it comes to the storylines explored in season 2 Amrita says that it is more gritty and less predictable.

“This season explores surrogacy, domestic violence and homosexuality in India. Yes, it is a feel good show but I am proud that it doesn’t shy away from the uncomfortable sides of that world and it does make you think.”

She continues: “I believe that good stories that are universal, that have some conflict and that confront some home truths are the ones that will make people sit up.”

The show has been renewed for a third season which will start filming later this year. 

ON PLAYING A STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER

Playing Ruby came easy for Amrita because she is a kind-hearted person. 

“She is incredibly good-hearted, she is a doer and I could relate to her because she is quite stubborn. She just goes and does things, sometimes too impulsively but she is not afraid.”

She continues: “I did get a lot more respect for doctors. I did a bit of research on junior doctors and just the amount of stuff they have to go through and having to make difficult decisions that can impact or change someone’s life. It does make you think of what a difficult profession it is and see it from a different perspective. I don’t think I could do it.”

When it came to the medical aspect of the role, Amrita has a doctor on speeddial - her dad is a doctor and she often picks his brain.

The show has a strong female cast, which Amrita is really proud of. 

Speaking about the film and television industry's initiative to improve female roles and have more female directors, she says it still has a long way to go.

 “I think it is taking a step in the right direction. As an independently fierce and stubborn female I do find that there are stereotypes with female roles.”

She continues: “These are small steps hopefully in the right direction. As far as I am concerned, you can take any role made for a man and it can be played by a woman.”

INSPIRING OTHERS

While the show takes artistic license Amrita hopes it opens people’s minds.

“This is a very toned version of what really happens in rural hospitals. But I know that it has inspired a lot of people to go into medicine, from all the tweets we get on social media.

“And I know I have been inspired by shows. I think that is the idea of any show that you want to affect, make people more interested and open their minds.”

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:

(Click here to watch the video on Facebook)

Good Karma Hospital season 2 airs Mondays at 20:00 on BBC Brit (DStv 120).

(Photos: BBC/Channel24)