Television

Prasar Bharati to bring back 80's popular mythological epics

Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati to announce epic Mahabharat and Ramayan schedules today

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MUMBAI: At one time, India’s streets used to empty out when two particular programmes came on air, just like the roads are deserted today in the age of the novel coronavirus. We are referring to the two epic dramas that used to be telecast on Doordarshan in the eighties – Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan and BR Chopra’s Mahabharat.

Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekar Vempati is hoping to bring them back on Doordarshan. 

He announced on twitter that he is in conversation with the rights owners – BR Films and Sagar Arts to acquire the rights for the telecast.  “Will update shortly. Stay tuned,” Shashi had tweeted.

Then he shared another tweet a short while later: “Hopeful of sharing schedule by the end of the day. Technical and logistics issues being worked out.”

Putting the shows on air could work well for Doordarshan, especially as a large part of India is at home with little to do. Work from home is not yielding too many results, courtesy the country lockdown announced by prime minister Narendra Modi.

The question is whether more aware and discerning audiences will take well to the production values that the two shows have, in the age of high-end VFX. “What the two shows had were a lot of heart, a good caste and fabulous storytelling on a channel which was the only one viewers could watch at that time,” says a veteran TV producer. “Hence, the two shows rated extremely high. In today’s environment where near-realistic VFX  has come to epic dramas from the likes of Siddharth Kumar Tewary’s Mahabharat or Krishna shows on Star, modern audiences may shy away from them. However, only time will tell how audiences will react.”

To DD’s advantage, its channels are available freely on DD FreeDish which has become an alternative to those viewers in private pay TV dark  areas, on account of  pricing and packaging restrictions  imposed on private broadcasters by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of  India under its new tariff order. 

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