Television

Doordarshan brings back ‘Ek the Rusty’

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NEW DELHI: The young lad known for his winsome ways, Rusty, has grown up. When he was introduced to viewers through Doordarshan, he was less than 10 years old, but is now in his early 30s.

The age has not reduced his charm, because he remains popular in the hills of Mussoorie.

This character by renowned author Ruskin Bond who himself lives in the Mussoorie hills, was introduced to Indian audiences in the series ‘Ek tha Rusty’. This series now begins its third season with a curtain-raiser on 10 July. The show will be telecast every week on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.00 pm.

Doordarshan director general Tripurari Sharan said that for the first time, this series was being telecast on a revenue-sharing basis with its producer-director Shubhadarshini Singh.

He informed that this meant that the producer will now be involved with the series from the day it begins telecast, unlike in a commissioned serial where the producer’s work ends the moment a programme is handed over to the channel. Apart from this, DD is now getting into another model where it asks some producers of getting ad-funded series, which according to Sharan was different from sponsored series.

He said that DD had gone on a marketing binge in recent months and the results had begun to show even in TAM, which was essentially confined to the metros and the larger cities.

Asked why DD was still reluctant to advertise on TV channels outside Doordarshan, Sharan said the costs were very high. However, he said marketing was already being done through hoardings, promos on other DD channels and All India Radio, in newspapers, and on websites.

DD was also very active on social media and the Facebook page had more than a million followers.  In addition, the channel was active on Twitter and on YouTube as well.

Referring to ‘Ek tha Rusty’, he said the series had its own Facebook page.  Shubhadarshini informed that the series had already been mentioned on private news channels as news items.

“Although the series is on a revenue-sharing basis, I have been given full freedom and there is no executive producer from DD on the programme,” said Shubhadarshini.

Furthermore, she added ‘Ek tha Rusty’ was not just a series for children as in the past but for family audiences.  Admittedly, the storyline was male-dominated, she said. “I feed on the nostalgia in Ruskin Bond’s stories and I could never change his ideas and visions…in fact the author has helped us bring out the best in music, songs and  all the nuances which I think makes this series so special.”

The new series has the touch of Ruskin Bond’s well-known inimitable style, trademark humour and profound simplicity.

In a message, Ruskin Bond said, “As a boy, reading was my religion. It helped me to discover my soul. Later, writing helped me to record its journey.”

This series is conceptualised around: the sensational new novel ‘Maharani’ by Ruskin Bond and a very touching story of Rusty and his inner turmoil when he makes friends with an Anglo Indian who is in hiding because he has leprosy... this is in flashback of Rusty as a teenager.

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