Once upon a time in Doordarshan - DD@50

Friday, October 2, 2009

Just last week I watched the video - “Mile sur mera tumhara”. Some things leave an indelible mark in your life, and this video is certainly one of them. This was a video that aptly described the concept of unity in diversity. Surely there was a time when media was an instrument to spreads communal harmony and promoting brotherhood and not about just dim-witted reality shows and breaking news. The television entertainment industry in India has come a full circle as DD completes 50 years of existence last month.
There have been other amazing things about doordarshan. Like the intellectual program called Surabhi hosted by Siddharth Kak and Renuka Shahane. Teaching diverse things like geography to culture was never so much fun. The presentation was so good that it would take a mammoth effort to recreate it. There was quality content on the show and TRP’s (if there were TRP’s then to measure the success of different shows back then) would have certainly hit the roof.
I was not part of the generation that saw (as I was not born then) ‘Buniyad’ and ‘Hum Log’ which were the bellwether serials. But I definitely liked watching Circus in which Shah Rukh Khan acted and Mahabharat, the epic that never seizes to amaze. DD had a lot to offer for everybody; from ‘Amchi mati amchi mansae’ to ‘Shaktimaan’. It was certainly the single biggest entertainment provider till the early nineties when cable TV entered the arena.
Also there were many unforgettable cricket matches that I have seen in our DD like the phenomenal test series of 2001 where India hosted Australia for 3 test matches. I vividly remember the VVS Laxman’s innings of 281 with Rahul Dravid where not a single Indian wicket was lost in the 4th day of the second test match in Kolkatta. Also in the same series where Harbhajan Singh who ended up taking 30 odd wickets in the series hit the winning run of Glenn Mcgrath by guiding the ball to the thirdman region.
I also remember some of the ads that were on display at that time as I was equally engrossed in them. ‘Humnara Bajaj’ was certainly my favourite and Cadbury’s ‘Kya swad hai zindagi mai’ comes a close second. For more such incredible ads watch the youtube links provided below.

Lately DD has sadly entered the phase of slow death where cable TV has almost entered everywhere in the country. The fancy news channels have become the staple diet of the Indian Diaspora. In the world of intense rivalry between different channels competing to catch more and more Indian eyeballs DD has lagged behind big time. The time has come to reform and revitalize this national channel.
Well I hope that DD makes a comeback and the theme music of DD - the famous Shehnai again reverberates in our homes.


prabhu said...

The private channels were able to glamourise news in a way which a public channel like DD cannot do.

But, there is no reason why we cant give them sufficient autonomy and control over news, like public channels in U.K.

tifosikrishna said...


I too saw the program on DD aired in CNN-IBN and it brought back some nice memories. However, I have a different take on the current crop of channels and programs.

Nowadays, hundreds of channels competing for your eyeballs, hence it becomes very difficult for the viewer to sift the wheat from the chaff. There are definitely some very good educative and interesting programs, but they are now targeted at the niche audience. Blame should be equally apportioned to the population at large and the channels for degeneration of the quality, as it is us who jack up the TRP for the reality shows and other mundane stuff.

Going back to old DD days, we didn't have the choice and so we were forced to consume whatever was aired.

I don't think DD has to change its avatar to fight with these channels, even today, I feel there are some good programs being aired in DD. Form (in terms of production value) is average, but the content is good.


vaibhav said...

Not sure I agree about the cricket coverage on DD, it has always been very bad. The shows mentioned were definitely good, but DD as our national channel can certainly do better

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