Television

Good writers create successful entertainment properties: Dr Ramanand Sagar

MUMBAI: As the mega serial Ramayan finds a place for itself in the Limca Book of Records, one cannot help remembering media moghul and patriarch of Sagar Arts - Dr Ramanand Sagar.



Sagar Arts marketing director and producer Prem Sagar says: "Dr Ramanand Sagar always believed that good writers create successful entertainment properties and brands that add to a company's bottomline year after year."

In fact, Dr Sagar's biggest asset was his writing skill which was later reflected in his films and TV serials. Dr Sagar was adept in Urdu, Sanskrit and Hindi and wrote the story and screenplay for Raj Kapoor's film Barsaat.



Ramayan has been hailed as a modern day miracle and the media hailed its creator Dr Ramanand Sagar as the modern day Valmiki and Tulsidas. Ali Peter John of Screen (the international magazine) has been quoted as saying that Sagar was born to make Ramayan in Kaliyug at a time when it was needed most.

Dr Ramanand Sagar aka Chandramouli was born on 29 December 1917 in Asal-Guru-Ke near Lahore. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth - into one of the most aristocratic and wealthiest families of Kashmir. His father Lala Dinanath Chopra enjoyed writing poetry mainly for personal satisfaction under nome de plume "Taj Peshawari". Chandramouli was adopted by a childless couple from his mother's side and rechristened "Ramanand"; but fame and fortune were destined for the nome de plume Sagar.

Dr Ramanand Sagar's first recorded work at the age of 16 was Pritam Pratiksha (the wait for the beloved) for the Srinagar-based Shri Pratap College's magazine. The editor was impressed but was not convinced that Sagar actually authored the work. He wrote in a footnote that "the editor could not vouch for the originality" of the article.

Later on, Sagar had to struggle after he was thrown out of his house by his adopted parents because he refused to accept the dowry system.

Sagar worked as a peon, truck cleaner, soap vendor, gold smith apprentice during the day and studied for his degree at night. He got a gold medal from Punjab University (in Pakistan) and the title of "Munshi Fazal" in Persian. Sagar also joined Daily Pratap and later rose to become the news editor of Daily Milap - a leading newspaper of Punjab (in Pakistan).

Sagar the writer: In a span of 12 years, Sagar wrote 32 short stories; three long-short stories, one novel, two serialised stories and two stage plays. He wrote under the nom de plume "Ramanand Chopra", "Ramanand Bedi", "Ramanand Kashmiri" and finally "Ramanand Sagar". 

In 1942, as a TB (tuberculosis) patient fighting with death in a sanitarium in Tang-Marg, Sagar fought with grit and indomitable will with death. And it was there that he wrote a subjective column "Diary of a TB patient" serialised in Adab-e-Mashriq - a highly rated magazine in the 1940s. It caught the fancy of the literary world including the famous Krishen Chander and won him wide acclaim.

Dr Sagar made a significant contribution to the literary world between 1943-49. 

1943 - Jwaar Bhata (High and low tide)

1944 - Ainey (mirrors); Jab Pahle Roz Baraf Giri (the first day when it snowed)

1945 - Mera Hamdam, Mera Dost (My companion, my friend); Radha

1948 - Goura (for a stage play enacted by thespian Prithviraj Kapoor); Kalakaar

1949 - Phool Aur Kaante (flowers and thorns) - a collection of 29 short stories



In 1947, Dr Sagar had to flee to Indian with his family. Penniless, his only possessions at that time were five annas and a trunk full of manuscripts that described the horrors and destruction, witnessed by him during those turbulent times. These manuscripts were the basis for his widely acclaimed novel Aur Insaan mar gaya. In 1948, he wrote his life's masterpiece - the novel Aur Insaan mar gaya depicting the horrors of the 1947 partition of India. Acclaimed as an all-time classic in Urdu and Hindi literature, it was translated into several Indian and foreign languages. The English version And Humanity Died was published in 1987-88 by Arnold Publishers (Delhi).

Ramanand Sagar the film maker: In 1936, Dr Sagar started his film career with the silent movie Raiders of the Rail Road. In 1940-41, he was signed as a leading man for the film Koel and as Abhimanyu in an unfinished film Krishna at Shalimar Studio, Poona. In 1942-43, he was invited by the then famous director Mehboob Khan and also by the famous writers Krishen Chander and Monto to come to Bombay. Dr Sagar stayed with actor Sajjan at his residence in Malad. His entry into the world of films happened when he wrote the story, screenplay for Raj Kapoor's super hit Barsaat.

In 1950, Dr Sagar launched his own production company Sagar Arts and the first film was Mehmaan (the guest). In 1957, his film Paigham (starring Dilip Kumar, Raaj Kumar and Vaijayanti Mala) won the Filmfare award for the best dialogue and thus began the golden period of his film career.

Dr Sagar's other strong points as a producer and director were evergreen music, massive productions, spectacular locations and big star casts. His group of companies produced over 25 motion pictures till 1984 with over 15 of them being box office hits; some of them crossed 75 weeks theatrically; and some have become evergreen hits in the annals of Indian cinema. The blockbusters include silver jubilees - six in a row - including Ghunghat, Zindagi, Aarzoo, Geet, Lalkar, Hamrahi, Charas, Pyaara Dushman, Ram Bharose, Bhagawat and a diamond jubilee Ankhen.

Sagar and television: In the mid 1970s, Dr Sagar and his sons visited a French home and watched television together. The realisation dawned that TV was the right medium to bring families together to watch respectable programmes. Along with his sons, he took the biggest stride in TV history nearly a decade later and this move gave the entire family international recognition.

In 1985, the Sagar group were the first film family to enter the TV software production. Starting with the mega-hit TV serial Vikram aur Betaal; fairy tales such as Dada Dadi ki Kahaniyan; mythological tales such Ramayan, Shri Krishna, Alif Laila, Jai Ganga maiya, Gurukul and now Ankhen. The Sagar group logged 2,000 hours of television software in 15 years.

In fact, Prem Sagar says that Sagar Arts contributes nearly Rs 3-4 million per month to Prasar Bharati in terms of telecast fees for currently telecast programmes such as Ankhen, Ramayan, Jai Ganga Maiya and Filmon ka Guldasta. "Our serial Shri Krishna had contributed Rs 139 crore (Rs 1.3 billion) to DD's coffers," says Prem Sagar.

The Indian government conferred the title of Padmashri on Dr Ramanand Sagar in 2001; in 1996, he was honoured with Sahitya Vachaspati (Doctor of Literature) by the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan (Prayag), Allahabad; in 1997, Jammu University gave him a honoris causa doctorate (Doctor of Literature).

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/23/goel_0.jpg?itok=E8EnbUu2
Jawahar Goel raises alarm of emerging Star cricket monopoly (updated)

This is Jawahar Goel at his inimitable best. The TV industry old timer and chairman & MD of India’s largest satellite TV distribution platform Dish TV.

Television TV Channels Sports
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/23/abp_0.jpg?itok=QUHQx6eH
ABP News TV says it has crossed 7-mn mark on Twitter

@abpnewstv, the Twitter handle of ABP News, has claimed to have crossed seven million followers. This growth, ABP says, has been fuelled by what it called real-time updates and engaging content on latest news and happenings from across India.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/22/amit-nair.jpg?itok=EXBgTfgm
Men@10's unique content to help Living Foodz sustain its position, says Amit Nair

Watch your favourite lifestyle shows this month, as Living Foodz' ‘Men@10’ has got under way; it airs every Monday to Friday between 10 - 12 midnight. Living Foodz business head Amit Nair said, “Living Foodz has sustained its position in the lifestyle genre, owing to its unique content. Our shows...

Television TV Channels Factual & Documentary
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/22/mohan.jpg?itok=n7ztN1Qm
Carnival Cinemas appoints Mohan Umrotkar as CEO

Spearheaded by Dr. Shrikant Bhasi, Carnival Cinemas has appointed Mohan Umrotkar as its chief executive officer. He takes over from P. V. Sunil who has been elevated as the managing director of the company.

Television TV Channels People
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/22/Dmitry%20Shishkin%20BBC_0.jpg?itok=lQAV7bYt
Why India expansion makes sense to BBC

MUMBAI: BBC is rising to the fact that expansion in India makes logical sense. With the proliferation of news sources, BBC is witnessing a mobile revolution especially in India, Asia and Africa. "It would be presumptuous to think that people would come to our websites just because we’ve launched...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/22/Untitled-1_1.jpg?itok=I4RqQXC3
STAR, Zee & Times top media list, Airtel & Tata Sky entrenched

MUMBAI: STAR, Zee and Times have continued to lead in the list of top 10 media groups in India. The growth of television distribution firms, Business Standard reported, has been one of the major changes the listing has seen in five years. Bharti Airtel and Tata Sky are now well-entrenched in the...

Television TV Channels GECs
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/22/Untitled-1_0.jpg?itok=C2sUrpU-
English News, Religious & Music HSM genres lose: Chrome DM

MUMBAI: 'Sports - All-India' genre has emerged as the most benefitted genre with 1.92 per cent. DD Sports has topped the chart with 95 per cent opportunity to see (OTS) in week 33, Chrome Data Analytics & Media reported.

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/22/supriya%2Bsahu.jpg?itok=LT0XJXPj
Doordarshan welcomes young anchors, expects CVs by 31 Aug

NEW DELHI: In a attempt to infuse new and fresh talent, the public broadcaster Doordarshan has invited youngsters to join the organisation as anchors and presenters.

Television TV Channels Terrestrial
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/drupal7.indiantelevision.co.in/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2017/08/21/sameer.jpg?itok=BviS2VG0
Zee brings first English-language South Asian reality show to U.S, ropes in Lexus & Wells Fargo

Zee Entertainment Enterprises (ZEEL), a worldwide content company, is breaking new boundaries globally by making a tremendous impact in the U.S. The organisation’s leading Hindi channel, Zee TV, which was the first Hindi channel to be launched in the U.S. in 1998, is now making its presence felt in...

Television TV Channels GECs

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories