From a humble beginning on September 15, 1959 to a golden run for next few decades and then the sharp descent at the hands of privately-owned cable channels, Doordarshan has come a long way in last 60 years. With viewership touching around 42.6 million as per BARC, India, Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan is the Sanjeevani Buti Doordarshan much needed. Though hailed largely for its content that adheres to sanskaars of the land, the Public Service Broadcaster DD was sailing in rough seas since long. The saas-bahu sagas, the exclusive music channels, the reality shows et al sneaked into the prime time space and soon DD’s number was forgotten on the remote. The globular symbol of DD taking form with a background score that still rings in ones ears, it was the harbinger of the next few hours of entertainment. When Rini Khanna, Sarla Maheshwari or Salma Sultan, with the quintessential rose tucked into her hair, said Namaskar, many would happily believe that they were the news anchor’s private audience and respond cheerfully with folded hands. With shows like Hum Log, Waghle Ki Duniya, Buniyaad, Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, Rangoli, Karamchand, Byomkesh Bakshi, Vikram Betal, Malgudi Days and more, DD kept its audience hooked. But nothing broke the Indian television screens as big as the epic dramas Ramayan and Mahabharat back then. These two shows created world record of viewership with millions glued in front of their TV sets. But now, amid this grave COVID embargo, the sounds of tinkering bells along with the renditions from Ravindra Jain and Mahendra Kapoor are filling drawing rooms again.
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