The Museum of Indian Television

Satyabrata Dwibedy,Editor

Yesterday the I & B Ministry has released its yearly review, trumpeting many success stories of the last  year.The Minister of I&B has worked as an TV Actress for quite a long period and she has witnessed the growth of Indian Television from a close quarter.All know the upheaval of satellite channels in India  is at the cost of Doordarshan.A lot of sabotage,conspiracy and policy error have jointly ruined this institution.

I am sure she must be feeling ashamed looking at the grim of Doordarshan,once which was the highest viewing broadcaster of India. Offcourse the present Minister is not responsible for the collapse of this institution,her predecessors(Before Modi Government)have collapsed it,leaving the reminiscence lying scattered here and there within a moth eaten monument called Mandi House,once was the most prestigious institution of India,the Head Office of Doordarshan. The outcome of this institution is just reversal to its structural design.

I have seen the zenith days of this institution when Ramanand Sagar,Yaspal Bhatti,B.R.Chopra,Pranay Roy,Ekta Kapoor,Ronnie Screwvala,Aroon Purie like legendary producers were clustering around this institution to do serials.I was a student then,but had the opportunity to start my carrier as a Producer for the National telecast of Doordarshan from 1994.It was the Golden era of Doordarshan.I recalled,when my first Documentary Film telecast over National Network of Doordarshan replacing one Episode of Mega Serial “Shanti” all the shops were closed in my home town Deogarh to watch this film on 12th September 1995,we are privileged with this kind of wonderful times. Once I had an opportunity to assign one of my Odiya Music Video to the famous Ram of Ramayana Mr Arun Govil,I was overwhelmed to see his popularity long after 30 years of Ramayana. I have seen people touching his feet in Bhubaneswar.

My association was with regional Doordarshan, proudly I am in the first batch of Producers of Doordarshan,when sponsor serials were initiated in Bhubaneswar Doordarshan.My comedy serial Mun Hero Hebi,Jatra Katha of JE Productions and Rupeli Parada Suneli Katha of Home Video were the first batch of three serials approved in Bhubaneswar Doordarshan as commercial serials,unfortunately my Mega serial “Patibrata” was the last Mega serial of Doordarshan,before its collapse in 2013.

Now Doordarshan is a channel of ridicule,it is now epitomized as the museum of Indian television,where once Malgudi Days,Mahabharat, Ramayana, Chandrakanta,Tipu Sultan,Shanti, Swabhiman, Humlog,Kirdar,Bharat Ek Khoj like epoch-making serials were being aired.

With the growth of Private operators ,Doordarshan reduced to zero by a well planned conspiracy  to sabotage the viewership of Doordashan, how ever regional Doordashan was leading the front to save the viewership of Doordarshan.To suppress the influence of regional Doordarshan one final assault was made in 2013,when Doordarshan made an agreement unique of its kind with Star Plus to jointly telecast a Series produced by Sanjay Leela Vanshali  named Saraswatichandra. Don’t know this historic blunder made by the then UPA Government under Manish Tiwari,heading the ministry,was deliberate or lack of knowledge about the industry.Few months after the telecast StarPlus scrapped the agreement,how ever the dislocation of regional prime time costs dear to doordarshan,many clients associated with Doordarshan had already shifted their budget to satellite and a revamping was not possible.Thus the beauty and splendour of Doordarshan Prime Time lost for ever.

It was expected that Modi would do some thing to revive the lost glory of Doordarshan by restructuring the prime time with Good Programs in commissioned mode.But Narendra Modi did a more serious blunder by appointing a software professional who is far far away from television Industry as the CEO of Prasar Bharati.He is the first non-IAS CEO,I wounder,how it happened,since his profile is not matching the entertainment industry,later I discovered the reason,this gentleman was the key person for the digital campaign of Modi during 2014 elections.So it is the prize given to Sashi Shekhar Vempati. Earlier this kind of Prize was also given to Mr.Gajendra Chouhan by making him FTII,Chairman.No wounder if some body is appointed as ISRO Chairman with Film or Cultural background during Modi regime.

Now Doordarshan is a museum,the TRP of its channel is shameful,ridiculously the Government is planning a 24×7 DD channel for Jhharkhand,don’t know what is the substance of this idea,but it would be more helpful if the viewer share of DD of last fifteen years of West Bengal,Assam,Bihar,Odisha,Andha Prdesh,Punjab, Kerla, Tamilnadu and Karnataka would be reviewed with an action mode to review these  regional centers.During the year 2000 the viewership of Doordarshan was 82% and it is now around 2%.A massive restructuring is required to save this sublime institution.



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