After a huge demand on social media, national broadcaster Doordarshan, popularly called DD, is bringing back the epics of 'Ramayan' and 'Mahabharat' for its audience across the country and abroad. DD also plans to bring back several iconic shows like 'Circus' (1989) featuring Shah Rukh Khan as Raghavan.
Doordarshan and DD Bharati will telecast the epics of 'Ramayan' and 'Mahabharat' respectively from today, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said.
Many social media users had requested the airing of 'Ramayan', directed by Ramanand Sagar, and 'Mahabharat', directed by BR Chopra, amid the 21-day nationwide lockdown. Three days ago, Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati said they were "working on it".
Mr Javadekar tweeted this morning saying, "Please tune in to @DDNational at 9 am & 9 pm to watch 'Ramayan' and @DDBharati at 12 noon and 7 pm to watch 'Mahabharat' today and everyday."
Please tune in to @DDNational at 9 am & 9 pm to watch 'Ramayan' and @DDBharati at 12 noon and 7 pm to watch 'Mahabharat' today and everyday.#StayHomeStaySafe#IndiaFightsCorona@narendramodi@PIB_India@DDNewslive@DDNewsHindi- Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) March 28, 2020
Speaking about the manner in which they are scheduled, he said "One episode will air in the morning from 9 am to 10 am, and another episode in the evening 9 pm to 10 pm." It will be the same for 'Mahabharat' too.
The CEO of Prasar Bharati thanked Mr Javadekar and the Sagar family for the initiative saying "Thank you, Sir for all your guidance and support in making this happen at this time."
"A dedicated team of DD officers worked through the day yesterday and through the night to make this happen even as they stayed away from home and their families. Kudos to the entire team who worked on a war footing in response to immense demand from the viewers to watch the epics," he added.
"Heartfelt thanks to the Sagar Family for this service to the nation during this moment who took immense effort to mobilise their resources and made available content to Team @ddnational in Mumbai on a war footing," the Prasar Bharati CEO said in another tweet.
Mr Vempati also tweeted about bringing back more iconic content on Doordarshan for all those who are nostalgic about the 80s and 90s.
"Stay tuned for more iconic content to come back on Doordarshan over the next few days as you relive the nostalgia while we observe the lockdown, staying home to save lives," he tweeted.
Based on Lord Ram's life, 'Ramayan' was first aired on Doordarshan in 1987 and had a massive following across the country. It featured Arun Govil in the role of Lord Ram and Deepika Chikhaliya in the role of Sita. It also included actors such as Dara Singh, who played Hanuman, Lalita Pawar was cast as Manthara, Vijay Arora played Indrajit, and Arvind Trivedi played Ravana. It was brought to the screen by Sagar Arts.
The other series 'Mahabharat', based on the eponymous epic, first aired in 1988 and was a show that made many actors attain iconic status.
Earlier this week, as India prepared for a 21-day lockdown against the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), Twitter was flooded with messages from across the nation asking for reruns of 'Ramayan' and 'Mahabharat' on DD. The demand was such that 'Ramayan' and 'Mahabharat' were top trends on Twitter this entire week. Social media exploded with joy after Mr Javadekar's announcement. Many suggested rerun of other popular shows from the 80s and 90s.
(Inputs from PTI)