Doordarshan @ 60: High on nostalgia

As the national broadcaster, Doordarshan has been entertaining and informing the nation for 60 years. To mark the occasion of DD’s 60th anniversary, some of the leading TV actors reminisce about their favourite DD shows and walk down memory lane. 

Arif Zakaria
“There was Doordarshan when there were no other channels. Due to its pan-India reach, DD still has the power to sway the audience but has not kept pace with presentation skills, diversity of content. It’s a typical government department syndrome, which means good intent but zero execution. There is nothing but nostalgia with the past DD programmes. ‘Humlog’, ‘Buniyaad’, ‘Chunauti;, ‘Khandaan’, etc. All these were unique and will be etched in our memories forever.” 

Arun Mandola
“There is a huge list of my favourite programmes on Doordarshan. ‘Chandrakanta’, ‘Alif Laila’, ‘Shaktimaan’, ‘Byomkesh Bakshi’, ‘Vikram Aur Betaal’, ‘Flop Show’, and ‘Shrimaam Shrimati’ were my favourites. These days, people don't want to see Doordarshan because picturisation is very poor. They are still living the 80’s life. I am upset with the fact that they are not updating the channel. Doordarshan was everyone’s favourite channel because our childhood memories are connected with it. I hope Doordarshan will get updated following their 60th anniversary this year.” 

Sachin Parikh
“I have two different views on this. First is why do we get nostalgic about past shows on Doordarshan. It’s because they were purely content-driven and I believe entertainment in any form, only and only content sells. I have grown up watching Doordarshan in my childhood and ‘Mahabharat’ and ‘Shaktimaan’ were my favourite shows. ‘Wagle ki Duniya’ and ‘Buniyaad’ were also the kind of shows I used to watch. I used to also like ‘Mungeri Laal ke haseen sapne’ and ‘Mr. Yogi’. So, one can see that I was watching various shows and my liking was in various genres of subjects only and only because of the content which was served to entertain the audience. Of course, there was a plus point that there was no other source available to watch on TV, but at the same time in today’s world when there are ample channels, broadcasters and mediums of entertainment, especially in this digital era, one doesn’t have to wait for one’s favourite programs. I can switch the programmes on my fingertips. Secondly, the content was so strong at that time. ‘Waghle ki duniya’ was just 19 episodes in total, but it was so gripping in terms of performances and content that it has become cult on Indian television. The same is the case of ‘Vikram aur Betaal’. So, if I get such strong content to watch in today’s date on Doordarshan, I will definitely switch and watch it without any hassle.” 

Ashish Trivedi
“There’s a reason for the steady downfall of Doordarshan. When all the other private channels were continuously redecorating and transforming themselves, DD decided to look backward by showing its own old serials. If they want to compete with the new-gen channels, they have to upgrade their content, their look, everything about them. The only programme I remember is ‘Shaktimaan’, because that was a massive hit at that time.” 

Aastha Chaudhary
“In those days, Doordarshan was the only channel that everyone used to watch. We grew up watching Doordarshan. Today’s generation won’t understand the value of Doordarshan because they have so many options, but earlier it was very limited. I feel because of that limitation it was kind of a family affair, I remember when they used to show a movie on Sunday eveninge, our whole family used to sit and watch it. We used to wait for ‘Chitrahaar’ and ‘Rangoli’ for the whole week. Then there was ‘Chandrakanta’ as well. I remember my mom and Nani used to cook food early so that we all could sit and watch ‘Chandrakanta’. Everyone used to go and watch TV together, it was a very good feeling. Everyone used to be together happily, now we have lost all of that. My favourite show on Doordarshan was ‘Aarohan’, which was based on Navy, then there was ‘Udaan’, which was about an IPS officer. I actually wanted to join the defence force because of it. I used to like ‘Rangoli’ as well. I was a fan of ‘Shaktimaan’, too.” 

Aniruddh Dave
“We have been watching Doordarshan since childhood. We used to think that TV means Doordarshan as it was the only channel available in those days. We used to watch ‘Ramayan’, ‘Mahabharat’, and later ‘Shaktimaan’ and ‘Chandrakanta’. I can never forget those shows. After returning home from school, we used to watch daily soaps. I can never forget those days. Doordarshan had the best newsreaders. We used to watch the Republic Day parade every year as well as the Prime Minister’s address and cultural show on Independence Day. I still watch Doordarshan sometimes. I am even going to produce a show for Doordarshan. Thus, Doordarshan has been always special to me and it will always have great value for me.” 

Shashank Vyas
“My childhood is incomplete without Doordarshan. It was such an integral part of my growing up years. I remember that even though only a few programmes would come on it, I would watch them every day.” 

Subuhi Joshi
“My favourite shows on Doordarshan were the cartoons which would come every evening. Then when I grew up a little, I loved watching ‘Srimaan Shrimati’ and ‘Tu Tu Main Main’. I love Doordarshan and even watch it today. But yes, the look and feel of the channel is dated and I hope that that changes.” 

Amit Sarin
“There was a time, during my childhood, when I used to watch Doordarshan all the time. But now I only watch it when I want to watch the parade on Republic Day. I feel that the channel really needs to be updated. The content on the channel used to be so good. I wish some more interesting content comes on it and we watch it.” 

Rohitashv Gour
“Doordarshan is what my childhood is all about. The shows were such that our entire family would sit together and watch. I cannot say that about the shows today on other channels. I miss those days and the amazing content that we saw on Doordarshan back then.” 

Pranitaa Pandit
“I used to love all the shows on Doordarshan – be it ‘Shaktimaan’, ‘Shriman Shrimati’, ‘Chitrahaar’. I feel that the audience was more accepting of the content at that time since we didn’t really have much of an option. However, now Doordarshan needs to pull up its socks and we need to get better content. I really hope they do that.” 

Sneha Wagh
“I cannot believe the channel recently completed 60 years. These 60 years have so much of our growing up years in them. I remember how we would all sit together and watch Doordarshan. A film would come once a week and we would wait excitedly to see which one it was. I hope the channel works on its content and we can watch it again.”


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