Exclusive | Doordarshan's growth expectations in 2015

For the first time ever, public broadcaster Doordarshan has hired a director outside their in house team to produce a show on their channel. This Marathi show will be directed by the renowned Marathi actor turned Director Vikram Gokhale. Not to mention that it is also his first television directoral debut.

Doordarshan on Friday announced the launch of its new series on women empowerment called "Ratra Vanvyachi." “Ratra Vanvyachi” – (Night of the Forest Fire) is a new semi-fictional series produced by Doordarshan Sahyadri Channel based on the novel written by Smt. Neela Satyanarayan, the first Woman State Election Commissioner (SEC) of Maharashtra.

All the experiences in the novel are real life experiences in the life of Smt. Neela Satyanarayan. As a woman she has faced a lot of challenges in her political career and she has stressed that women have not been given the kind of dignity that should have. Indeed it is indeed a valid point in modern day practices.

The series is directed by the renowned Marathi actor turned director Vikram Gokhale. Gokhale who has envisioned this women centric series as an eye opener in a male dominated society as this society claims to be a thinker’s society.

Adgully caught up Vikram Gokhale, Director of the serial, Smt, Neela Satyanarayan, Writer and Ex-Election Commission Officer and Mukesh Sharma, Addl. Director General at Doordarshan to know about this women empowering serial.

At the onset, Gokhale said, “When Neela ji gave this novel to me, I read it and immediately I was in a creative world of making this story into a serial. I liked the whole idea of women being empowered as I personally respect women a lot and we should always allow them to reach heights.”

Neela ji added, “The story is of a middle class girl who comes to do this service and this is for the betterment of the society. It has always happened that every time a woman has to prove herself. In this soap, the girl has risen from a normal family who doesn’t have any political background or connections and this serial reflects that women empowerment should be respected.”

The lead actress being played by a costume designer turned actress, Kanchan Jadhav, she has played the main protagonist who is firm and at the same time makes everyone realize that women have power and you need to respect it. Excited, nervous and humble, she said, “I’m very grateful to Vikram ji and Doordarshan for giving me this opportunity. I never got this experience on any other television platform. I’ve learnt a lot from Vikram ji, who is an institute in himself.”

On a lighter note, when asked Vikram Gokhale about his experience as a director and his Directoral debut on television, he said, “I have learnt a lot as a director. It is not easy when an actor is directing because he needs to realize that every actor cannot act like you and one needs to have patience with that. Indeed I have done a lot mistakes and evolved as a better person.”

Speaking at the event, Shri Mukesh Sharma, Addl. Director General Doordarshan asserted that, “Director, Vikram Gokhale has treated this subject with utmost sincerity, maintaining the sanctity, pride and courage of this women empowerment plot. Producing his first venture was a decision to promote, responsible and socially connected television viewing.”

The show will also see lead artists like Rahul Solapurkar, Ila Bhate, Faiyyas Khan, Shantanu Moghe, and some more noted Marathi actors.

The show has already shot 52 episodes, and is an in house production. But for the first time ever, Doordarshan has roped in a director from outside the firm. The show will go live from 26th January 2015 at 3.30pm only on DD Sahyadri and one can catch the repeats on Fridays & Saturdays at 11.30am and Monday & Tuesday at 8.30pm.

We also wanted to know some more details about the current happenings in the broadcasting space so we explored into some insights about BARC, TAM and Ad Cap from Shri Mukesh Sharma. Here’s a glance at what he had to say to us.

Sharing some inputs about the 10+2 ad cap Sharma said, “India still doesn’t have broadcasting laws, like other nations, England or USA. Laws are very clear. We’re still in a nascent stage of making those laws. It’s like a child. So there are two types of channels, one is FTS channels and the other is FTA channels. So I’m paying for an FTA channel as well as giving ads and that is unfair. There are DTH operators they don’t charge. So yes, there has to be some limitations and it will only result in good. There needs to time given for it to be promoted, as every second there cannot be an ad.”

While TAM has not worked in favour of the channel as there are very less meters and where there are meters, they’re mostly in the urban areas, so it has not useful as a system as of now. Of course the ratings system has always been a debatable topic.

Being confident that the BARC will work, Sharma tells us, “Yes we will definitely be a part of the BARC system as the number of meters will be more and it will be a healthier ecosystem. What we expect is that we get proper meters from the system.”

Adding on to it he said, “BARC has not begun its work yet. And again our content is something that is targeted to the citizens of the country and not the consumers. We need to target it to the consumers and when we have to do that we need to showcase it in a different manner and to do that one needs to spend money. My content also has to also address the minorities and the lesser privileged of the society because I’m a public service broadcaster. So being a public broadcaster, my content is different, it’s like comparing apples and oranges, so private and public broadcasters cannot be compared. Indeed there are a lot of limitations and we follow the advertising code, dating way back to 1967 that came up with Radio. So that is the role of a responsible public broadcaster and that is what we do.”

While the new government has got some good news for this public broadcaster, Sharma said, “One good thing that has happened with the government is that they have ensured that DD is functioning properly.” Adding candidly he said, “As a matter of fact DD has not hired anyone since 1992 and we need young people like you for our growth. In another couple of years after I’m gone from the organization, there is no youngster or junior personnel to pass on the information to. So this gap needs to be filled.”

Indeed 2015 is going to bring in some good news for this news broadcaster. On a concluding note Sharma said, “DD is going to grow in 2015 in the sense that we have changed certain policies when it comes to procuring content. We are going to spend more money on getting quality content rather than taking shady content at a low cost. So I feel very positive about growth, but if I don’t have people to run the show how will I deliver it. But because the new government is taking initiatives on this account, I feel whatever we show today, we should be able to see growth on whatever we are planting today.”


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