After tracing 5,000 years of the country’s history in his highly-popular TV show, Bharat Ek Khoj, veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal has taken to the small-screen once again, this time to recount how an independent India framed its Constitution.
The 10-episode series called Samvidhaan will be aired on Rajya Sabha Television in January.
“This is an important and exciting story to tell. People will learn how our democratic Constitution came to be,” says Benegal, who hopes to find many viewers among the youth.
“The Constitution showcases the ethos of our people. The debates that contributed to its framing prove how extraordinary our founding fathers were,” he said.
The Constituent Assembly of India spent two years, 11 months and 17 days drafting the mammoth document.
“We have used the actual words spoken in Parliament,” says Benegal, but admits that bits and pieces have been added to lend intensity to the scenes. More than 60% of the show was shot on a set that recreates the central hall of Parliament House, where the actual debates on the draft process took place.
The decision to make a TV series rather than a film was a natural one, the director says, as the latter “would not have been able to do justice to it”.
Marathi actor Sachin Khedekar, who played Subash Chandra Bose in Benegal’s biopic of the freedom fighter, will be seen on the show as Dr BR Ambedkar, the chairman of the drafting committee. Dalip Tahil will play Jawaharlal Nehru.
Other actors on the show include Rajendra Gupta, KK Raina, Divya Dutta, Ila Arun, Rajeshwari Sachdev, Rajit Kapur, Harish Patel, Anjan Srivastava, Mohit Chauhan, Utkarsh Majumdar, and Kenneth Desai.
Shama Zaidi and Atul Tiwari are writers of the show. While Atul Tiwari remembers meeting a few member of the constituent assembly, Shama Zaidi's father was himself one of the members.
"The last surviving member, who sat between 1946 and 1949 to make the constitution, died in 2008," said Zaidi, who heard stories of those times from her father.
For her, being a part of 'Samvidhaan' was quite a challenge.
"In nearly a 50-year-long career in the arts, I had never had such an opportunity that was also a challenge. It was exciting and scary because you had to maintain the integrity of the story without losing the elements of drama and entertainment," said Zaidi. (With IANS inputs)