Monday, October 19, 2009

50 Glorious Years of Doordarshan

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It seems like ages since we  last woke up to the music of shehnai playing softly and swirls of orange turning into a Doordarshan logo .  And then, our favourite 'Vandemaataram' song!




Now...let me think...when did I 'see'  Television, for the first time?  In 1975, in Chennai, my neighbour had bought it and invited us to come to her house to watch it.  We did, maybe two or three times.   

We shifted to Bangalore, in 1977.  In 1981,  we bought our first black & white TV - ECTV.  The telecast had started on the Karnataka Rajyothsava Day (Nov.1st, 1981), for the first time,  in Bangalore.   The first movie in Doordarshan was 'Shankar Guru' - Kannada Superstar Rajkumar's movie.  We just did not put the board 'houseful'...our quite a big hall, veranda, everywhere, our neighbours were sitting and waiting to watch this movie!  

This post is a happy tribute to our favourite DD.

Our Doordarshan has turned 50, this year!  Doordarshan had a modest beginning with the experimental telecast starting in Delhi on 15th September, 1959, with a small transmitter and a makeshift studio. The regular daily transmission started in 1965 as a part of All India Radio. The television service was extended to Bombay and Amritsar in 1972. Till 1975, seven Indian cities had television service and Doordarshan remained the only television channel in India. Television services were separated from radio in 1976. Each office of All India Radio and Doordarshan were placed under the management of two separate Director Generals in New Delhi. Finally Doordarshan as a National Broadcaster came into existence.

We have got so many channels to watch now.  High Definition TV also has come.  The quality of telecast and programmes are amazing... now, it is very tough, probably impossible to keep track of the programmes aired on a dozen different television channels.  We were happier with our Doordarshan with all the '‘Rukavat ke liye khed hai’ (with coloured stripes on the screen!)too!  We used to wait for our Sat. Sun. evening movies.  Sunday afternoon's Regional movies.  We had watched some very good Bengali and Marathi movies with sub-titles.   Now, feel sick of overdose of movies!  I remember watching deaf and dumb news and translating it with the 'sound' switched off, with my children!  

Whether it was watching 9 pm serial or news, the whole family used to sit and watch.  'The World this Week's Pronoy Roy (English) and S.N. Dua (Hindi version) were familiar to everyone.  News readers, Salma Sultan with a single rose in her hair, near her ear, Usha Albequereque with her flawless English, Geethanjali Aiyer, Mrinal Pande...I can list some more...

I remember the then I & B Minister Vasanth Sathe, who introduced colour television in 1982, participating in a New Year's Eve party with some peculiar costume and mask etc.  It was very entertaining than our current filmy based New Year Eve's programmes.  

Apart from the family serials (I will write about them later, because it is going to be too long a story!),  general knowledge serials like the Quiz programme by Sidhdharth Basu, 'Contact' by Ronnie Screwaala,  'Turning Point' by Girish Karnad and Naseeruddin Shaw (my son got a prize for writing the correct answer for a weekly question at the end of every episode!), 'Bournvita Quiz Contest' by Derek O'brien, Surabhi, by Renuka Shahane and Sidhdharth Kak, Rajini (Priya Tendulkar had acted as a social activist)...all non-filmy serials, but the whole family got involved in watching these serials.  We used to keep 10-20 post cards at home, for replying the quiz questions of Surabhi, Turning Point etc.  Special mention should be made for 'Bharath Ek Khoj'. My small school going children were seriously watching this serial, like they watched 'Friends' in the later years!  

I cannot forget 'Mile Sur Mera Tumhaara'...people from every part of India, were happy hearing their language and seeing VIPs of their area, in this song...




Now, we switch on our television at 9 a.m. to watch 'News'...not DD theme music!
Let me write about the Doordarshan serials which touched our heart,  next.
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Read this news today, 5th Oct.'17 about the great news readers:
https://scroll.in/magazine/849481/three-doordarshan-era-anchors-recall-what-a-dignified-era-of-television-news-looked-like

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21 comments :

wordsndreamz said...

Sandhya, That brought back so many memories!

50 years of DD! I can't believe it! We got our first TV in 1984 and the swirls turning into the DD logo was one of the most mesmerising sights for me :)

Initially, I remember, I was ready to even watch Krishi Darshan :)

I did not know the history of Doordarshan. It is amazing to read!

'We were happier with our Doordarshan with all the '‘Rukavat ke liye khed hai’ (with coloured stripes on the screen!)too' - Oh yes!!! I remember those days so fondly!

That was such a lovely post, Sandhya, you have covered everything! Waiting for your post on the serials now!

Sandhya said...

wordsndreamz: Yes, even Krishi darshan was enough to sit in front of the TV! I searched for a better video of the DD theme (sound is not very good too, in this one).

hitch writer said...

:) :)

Doordarshan memories will die hard... recently mystery did hte same post and it invoked so many memories... !!

I can never forget Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, Karamchand, Rajni, Vyonkesh Bakshi !!!!

Those were the days as they say !!!!! :D :D:D

Shail said...

That was quite a trip down the lane of memory. Is it really fifty years?? Surely it must be, for I was born in 1959 as well! ;) :D

Solilo said...

Sandhya, Doordarshan is nostalgia and brings back so many fond memories. It stands true for less is more. There were only few shows and each had only 13 episodes (very few were extended to 20) and we never got bored of any shows. There was right balance and representation across India.

My husband says that he was an avid Krishi Darshan watcher. Ha..ha..ha.. I don't remember it much but I remember shows like Karamchand, Chitrahaar, Rajni, Katha Sagar, Buniyaad etc.

I used to love those one episodic shows like Katha Sagar. Rini Simon-Khanna, Neeti Raveendran, Minu all newsreaders. In our house we used to have a bet on newsreaders. That is Dad, Mom, brother and I would take 4 different names and out of 4 1 would always be a winner. My Dad loved Sadhna who presented today's program. Ha..ha..ha.. I remember Mom teasing Dad for drooling over Sadhna. :))) Mom's fav. was Bhaskar Bhattacharya, he was a newsreader and also a quiz presenter. He committed suicide later.

We used to get Lucknow Doordarshan program which were mostly in Urdu. So brother and I used to go takalluff, tazavvuur, tameer and what not.

Doordarshan is truly nostalgia.

Varunavi said...

Nice post sandhya never knew much about the history of the doordarshan.

I remember my mom took us to my granny's house one early morning to show us the inauguration of asian games on tv.

Recently i saw one old tv at the garbage bin and i took one snap of that,we dont get to see those old tv's.

Serials are wonderful and informative and with some good theme.

Swaram said...

This is one super-duper post Sandhya :) I loved loved loved it :)

So many memories of Doordarshan!

The Shehnai sound hs been ringing in my ears nw from the moment I started reading this post! It ws simple but superb!

Shankar Guru movie fist play agidhu annadu nanage thilidirlilla :) I ws nt even born avaga but gr8 info :) What a tribute to Annavaru who is all-time fav :)

Mile Sur Mera tumhara and Vande maataram - what lovely songs! They bring tears to my eyes :)

Nanna dhwani ge ninna dhwaniyu seridanthe namma dhwaniyu - awesome lyrics :)

U r so rt abt the 'Rukavat ke liye khed hain' part :) Lovely colours :)

I remember watching deaf and dumb news - Oh we did too :) Ws it in the afternoon @ 1?

N the pgms u have mentioned where a hit in every house! What quality!

Waiting for the post on serials now :)

Ladki hai ek naam Rajni hai :)

Family bonding time it ws while watching TV then - lovely memories :)

Sandhya said...

hitchwriter: Yes, yeh jo hai zindagi...etc. were serials which the whole family enjoyed. We had to have dinner before 9, to watch them without interruption. Happy days!


Shail: You are announcing your age publicly! Old is gold, always!


Solilo: 'There were only few shows and each had only 13 episodes (very few were extended to 20) and we never got bored of any shows. There was right balance and representation across India.' Yes,we always were discussing about the end of the story, because we knew the climax will come by 13 weeks, unlike the current 'saas-bahu' serials which run for years.

I am thinking of writing about my favourite serials, at least 2 lines each. Loved Kathaa Saagar too.

I remember Neethi Ravindran, who was a bit plump and Sadhna WAS good-looking! Bhaskar Bhattacharya (with a twinkle in his eye, your mom's fav?!), Minu,Dolly Thankur with a rough voice (Lillette Dubey voice!). Geethanjali Aiyar was a beauty of those days!

In Bangalore, we used to watch single episode plays, which were made by Dharwaad kendra, with heavy Marathi accent Kannada. The quality of the plays/stories were superb.


varunavi: Yes, Saritha. No programme was made with money in mind. They were quality conscious, in those days.

manju said...

Nice trip down memory- lane, Sadhya!

I loved Yeh jo hai zindagi, too!

And for a few years, if I remember correctly, they used to show English movies in parts, half on one Sunday, half on the next! And we used to wait eagerly a whole week, for the concluding part!

Sandhya said...

Swaram: You said it right, Swaram! Doordarshan Kendra was a family bonding Kendra, medium.

After Shankar Guru, came 'Shri Krishna Devaraya'. We had some Telugu neighbours who came to watch it and they did namaskara to the TV when they showed Thirumala in that movie! My whole family was Rajkumar fans! Love his songs too, Swaram.

Deaf and Dumb news was at 1 pm on Sunday. After that, regional language cinema. I watched some good movies in Kannada also at that time. Now, we have got cricket for male members, so many serials and movies for women. Every person has become an island.

Sandhya said...

Manju: Yeh jo hai zindagi, Ghar Jamai etc. were clean comedy. All of us in the family were able to join in the laughter!

Yes, I remember waiting for the second part of the English movie too!

kavita said...

TU RU RU RU...TARARARARU (my shahnai,i play it for my kids and they too know it by hard...DD tune)...Sandhya,what a lovely post,i am nostalgic all over.Chitrahaar was my favorite too including all the features you have mentioned..my dad was a big fan of Salma Sultan the newsreader with that rose on her bun....Do you remember one feature named SHOW-THEME it use to come on Sundays....we always had someone climbed up to adjust the Antenna for a better picture while one would wait down to yell NAHIN NAHIN THODA AUR...HAAN HAAN HO GAYA !!OH ,those were the days...Hum LOG,Buniyaad later many serials on Premchand's and Shararat chandra chattopadhyay's novel,they all were so well made.I remember being glued to the tv during Quiz time and yelled at by my mom if i could not answer questions heee,...vEEKRAM aur Vetaal.....Sandhya you are guilty of this crazy condition of mine right now...i am going crazy ,someone stop me!!!

Sandhya said...

Kavita: Thank you, Kavita. Your father was a fan of Salma Sultan?! She had a great fan following. I remember 'show theme'. That was an interesting programme.

We used to adjust the antenna too! People used to hang aluminium ladles etc. on the antenna to get clarity, I think. So many jokes were coming in the magazines, based on that.

During quiz show, all of us were competing with each other for answering. Hmmm...it will never be like that again.

R. Ramesh said...

excellent post..what memory u have yar..ya..Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, Karamchand, Rajni were my fav programmes also..how sweet was the past..anywy..let's enjoy the present too..cheers

evanescentthoughts said...

Hey you brought back so many memories.. I remembering doing everything you mentioned here with my mom.. we used to watch the deaf n dumb news too and the regional movies with subtitles.. we used to get glued to the TV on sunday and watch Mahabharat and all the non-stop cartoons like Duck Tales.. It was awesome fun! Yeah I remember Salma Sultan news reader too! Bournvita Quiz contest was something I never missed watching!
Do write more about the serials

Sandhya said...

evanescentthoughts: I am happy to know that you enjoyed this post, Ashwini. I notice many youngsters too miss the old doordarshan. Old doordarshan was family doordarshan.

Deeps said...

that was so nostalic,sandhya!you brought back so many memories.
I remember,we hadnt bought a television yet,and my brother and I used to run to our grandparents' house which used to b just blocks away to watch all our favorite serials.
my parents decided to buy a tv when 'mahabharata' was released.oh,our happiness knew no bounds!

buniyaad,hum log are still imprinted in my memory.'world this week' used to be our family show.all four of us would be glued to the tv set!

Doordarshan turns 50!WOW!
Thank you so much for this post,Sandhya!

Renu said...

with 75, I get very nostalgic, got married in 75 and my father gave me a TV, though there was not even good reception at that time in our inlaws place..Of course that was left with them. and then I bought first TV in 85 because of Yeh jo ha Zindagi..my little kids wanted to see that serial as all their clasmates discussed it only everyday:)

Sandhya said...

Deeps: yes, everyone in the family was in a hurry to finish off their work and sit in front of the TV for these serials.

Ramayana and Mahabharatha shows boosted the TV sales! Good to know that you enjoyed this post, Deepu!


Renu: I notice many people talking about 'yeh jo hai zindagi'. Let me write about it next!

destinationinfinity said...

Overdose of anything is bad - These days, people think that over dose of money, entertainment, laziness etc is the best way to live life - I would wait for all these people (including politicians) to rediscover life!

Destination Infinity

Sandhya said...

DESTINATION INFINITY: Saw your comment now, after many years! Thank you, Rajesh!

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