Mar 26, 2007

The Good Old DD Days....

Wow...How many kaapi fans existed in obscurity!And how many has my blog brought into limelight!! (I know this is some tooooo loud trumpet blowing ;) , this is also to immensely thank all my dear friends whom I pestered to read my blog and post comments, ("Leave your footprints there" - I ordered) . Thanks once again guyz...not just for going through my posts and posting your comments..but also for continuing to be good friends with me after all these rounds of pestering..(Read this as...there are many more rounds to come... :) )

This post, as you may have rightly guessed, is about Doordarshan, not the DD as it exists today, but the DD of yesteryears...when you didn't have the satellite TV or glamour associated with it. Doordarshan had a few serials then and even fewer movies....and even fewer news broadcasts....And thats precisely the reason why it was adored... by men and women and children alike for reasons of their own..

If you are Tamil, you would definitely remember 'Oliyum Oliyum' (the two words pronounced with a subtle difference in Tamizh, emphasizing Tamil's rich phonetics - roughly translating to 'Light and Sound'). It was a compiled collection of Tamil songs from old and new movies alike and was aired on Fridays from 7.30 PM to 8.30 PM. I remember our entire family and neighbourhood (Our home was an easy home theatre to people who didn't have the luxury of the TV) finishing their weekly chores as early as possible to line up for this programme. We yearned to watch our favourite heroes and heroines..My dad preferred songs from the evergreen 'Shivaji and Devika' movies, while the younger generation preferred the contemporary heroes or the latest movies..And alas, you never get to watch songs from the just-released movies, if you thought it was going to be out there, it was usually time up :)

And so..Oliyum Oliyum was a super-duper hit then..People went mad if the power was cut during Friday evenings. Trust me..I dont remember having seen a single ad in between the programme. With the advent of the satellite television and competition it offered, the programme underwent some cosmetic changes intially...Some girls who tried to look cosmetically good, tried to add spice to it reciting totally unrelated poems in between songs, some supposedly funny drama was staged at the background while the songs were being played at regular intervals ....and yet the glamourous competition was too fierce...I should rather say the indigenous programme lost the race..Am not sure if it is still being aired at all...(Any concrete info guyz??)

There are other programmes that I remember as well...Chitrahaar was the Hindi version of Oliyum Oliyum..broadcast on Wednesdays...Though this was restricted to the middle and upper class masses, this was a hit too...until.. you know what..
The most awaited programme of the week was the Sunday movie in the vernacular language..We got to watch atleast one movie per week..We had to watch what was aired...It wasn't a viewers' choice..And yet the same old neigbourhood crowd gathering with cookies and kadalai to watch it(even if it is the umpteenth time, they interpret the movie better each time they watch it)..Answering nature's calls was strictly prohibited during the course of the movie..Remember there weren't any ads either...People could stir only during the news breaks..Who cares about news ;).

I had my personal favourites too. In addition to the above programmes, I was fond of the regional-language movies (supposed to be National award-winning ones) broadcast every Sunday afternoon in alphabetical order(Assamese, Bengali, ....Tamil,Telugu) and was eagerly waiting for the Tamil week( two Tamil movies on a single Sunday then ...hippee..). I patiently watched the news for the hearing impaired (another interesting one) and the Sanskrit news aired just before this movie, lest I miss the start...
And I was simply becharmed with he introductory music of the Doordarshan...recollect it??
I also adored the Ramanand Sagar's Ramayana and Mahabaratha that were aired on Sunday mornings...Mukesh Khanna, Nitish Bharatwaj (Bhisma and Krishna respectively) were literally worshipped then. In my opinion, more of such mythological programmes depicting the epics should be encouraged..After all, we are many centuries old...


Try contrasting all those to the state of DD as it is today...it is pathetic to say the least...Dont get me wrong..Its not that I'm not for modernization or the global competition..I welcome the private channels and the competitive advantage they have brought to the industry...I am just a little unhappy that Doordarshan, still the only channel that reaches out to some of the remotest hamlets in the country is somehow unwilling to improve its standards..technologically or creatively...

This blog is not just the memoirs of the good old DD days...I welcome your suggestions to make DD survive in today's cutthroat television market...not only in India..but also worldwide...
It is not easy, it is not difficult either...We have to identify where exactly the problem lies, lay down our suggestions...wait..all said...when and how is it going to be done...I mean who is going to bell the cat??

Comments and Suggestions are invited...

14 comments:

Rams said...

One other favorite of mine in DD, which none of the private channels can ever remake is the "mile sur mera tumhara" played at the end of tamil news b4 transmission gets transferred to the Delhi transmission. That is peerless.
BTW u can watch the video in my videos section in orkut.

Nithya said...

Hey..thats true..even I like that song...Almost all stars appear out there...

Sudheer said...

That was wonderful. Oliyum Oliyum in telugu was Chitralahari. Everyday I used to finish my homework by 6:30 pm and watch TV till 7:30. When the news come, I used to go to sleep.:) There used to be real good stuff on DOORDARSHAN...But I guess DD's poor standards today may be a result of brain drain to other private channels

Nithya said...

Brain Drain...??Could be..but that leaves a question in a larger context..How to attract talent to the indigenous industries?

simon said...

As I am in the UK I can only say that when I was in India in 1993ish (I am old!)I used to watch STAR satellite TV. I guess that is still available today although probably a bit more modern.

I can still remember that TV was not so prevalent even in the cities and a balmy evening could be spent on top of a guest house roof flying paper kites with the local kids. Not quite Bradley Stoke eh!

lakshmi said...

Thats another good post! Well we seem to share the smae tastes when it comes to TV programmes. Yeah, I loved all those mythological serials like Ramayan, Jai Hanuman and Mahabarath! Nothing of that quality in any of the present day private channels.
But I wouldnt completely agree with the view that DD is pathetic. I feel that the whole charm of DD is its sensible profile, a perfect blend of everything that a family would love on TV (not just films, films and films...!!). This seems to have become rather bizzare in contrast to the other private channels which take turns to telecast the same programmes and movies throughout the week.
Yes, a better marketing strategy is definitely on the anvil. Lets hope our DD reaches the flanks of Discovery or BBC. But it would be a disaster to "elevate" DD to the ranks of our private channels by becoming one among the regular crowd.

PiyushRulez said...

Thats another good innings from you !! There were a couple of other serials too on DD like chandrakanta which started off in a very interesting manner, but then it became like a human potato onlife saving equipment who is made to live in the hospitals just for the sake of it without any purpose...
And then there was Street Hawk (If I've got the name and the spelling correct..) and how can anyone forget jungle book and mougli !!!

Shankar said...

thaai nilam thandha varam thaavaram... vayalum vaazhvum :-)

Ravindra said...

Hey how did u think of such a nice topic. I belive it touches everyone's hearts, atleast it is the case for me, esp. bcoz it makes me feel nostalgic about my childhood..

Let me know as soon as u r done with ur next blog.

Little Angel :-) said...

You are right, now we have all commercial entertaining ones, than the educative ones...some good examples are Wonder Balloon for kids..hope u remember that Captain Vyom, a good adventure in the space, so on...

Charu said...

Well when it comes to DD...I ahve never really had cable connection at my home till I finished school...so I was stuck with DD...and I say this because I have been watching it ever since I was born I guess...and since I love hindi and I was living in north...DD was just right for me..all those programmes u mentioned...at some point or other..I wud give anything to watch them...remember the urvasi song, "oliyum oliyum current pona take it easy urvasi":)...and the DD music........it is unparalleled......but as I grew up...I cud feel the deterioration in DD's standard...i belive it cudnt withstand the competition from private channels...the first version of mahabharata and ramayana in DD were and still are the best....but i feel DD cudnt continue providing such good programmes and todays generation has never seen the best part of DD...they have been exposed to this not so great current version and obviously do not like it....its a pity they never got a chance to see the best days....but the fact remains that DD cundt adapt itself fast enuf.......

But i will give it to DD when it comes to the news...it was and still somehow has a unique standard and on a lighter note....there was absolutely no fighting for remote during the good old DD days:)

Anonymous said...

your blog made me to cherish my childhood days..

Sivakumar said...

Too good. made me to cherish my childhood memories.

abhii said...

Yep..me too remember some nice serials i used to watch..Kashish, Chitrahaar and the sunday movies :)
Your post reminded me of a simpler age and place...I agree there was no remote fighting for one, but somehow events in our memories seem to be so much sweeter than they seem while being lived in.
Well, for me, the advent of cable television was the end of innocence ;)
nice post