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43 years on, Doordarshan Lucknow still going strong

Serials produced by Lucknow Doordarshan were considered to be the best. Our serials like ‘Neem Ka Ped’, ‘Bibi Natiyon Wali’, ‘Bandhuji’, ‘Akkad Bakkad’ and ‘Hatimtai’ won national awards. ‘Bibi Natiyon Wali’ was praised internationally as well.

lucknow Updated: Nov 28, 2018 09:53 IST
Anupam Srivastava
Anupam Srivastava
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Doordarshan Lucknow studio
Doordarshan Lucknow studio (Sourced)
         

It started with the beaming of Ustad Bismillah Khan’s shehnai recitation on November 27,1975. Doordarshan Lucknow begun operations at 22 Ashok Marg, with a temporary studio. Today, at 43, the television channel is going strong with programmes like ‘Namaste UP’, ‘Once more’ and ‘Krishi Darshan’ -- all of which have good ratings.

“The building of Doordarshan studio at Ashok Marg is a witness to many historical programmes,” said senior programme executive and deputy director, Lucknow Doordarshan, AP Mishra.

“We can proudly say that serials produced by Lucknow Doordarshan were considered to be the best. Our serials like ‘Neem Ka Ped’, ‘Bibi Natiyon Wali’, ‘Bandhuji’, ‘Akkad Bakkad’ and ‘Hatimtai’ won national awards. ‘Bibi Natiyon Wali’ was praised internationally as well,” he said.

Recalling the talent nurtured by the channel, Mishra said, “The old faces of Lucknow Doordarshan, such as Shobhna Jagdish (news reader) and Nirmala Kumari  were very good singers. In fact, they were trained classical singers!”

“The popularity of veteran journalist and news reader Mohammed Noor Baksh and Naresh Srivastava was no less than that of cine stars of the eighties. Both of them are no more, but their legacy continues,” he added.

Former director Vilayat Jafri, who has worked with Lucknow Doordarshan and written the serial ‘Neem Ka Ped’ for it, said, “I came from Delhi to Lucknow  in 1986. In Delhi, I had made projects like ‘Bharat Ek Khoj’ (directed by Shyam Benegal) and ‘Tamas’ (by Govind Nihlani). In Lucknow, serials were not being made. I decided to do something for the city -- something that could be remembered for long. I had written this story in 1956 (Neem Ka Ped), and decided to make a serial based on it.”

He said he contacted Dr Rahi Masoom Raza for working on the serial’s script and dialogues. “He (Raza) agreed. He wrote the dialogues without charging a single penny because the story was close to his heart -- it was about a ‘zamindar’ (landowner) and his people . Dr Raza came from a family of zamindars of Ghazipur, so he was able to understand the subject better than others,” said Jafri.

However, Dr Raza died after writing 24 episodes of the serial. “After that, I decided to pen the dialogues for the next 34 episodes. Interestingly, no one noticed any difference in the writing style. People thought Dr Raza died after completing the serial,” he said.

Mishra said ‘Neem Ka Ped’ is a part of Doordarshan’s glorious past and is still one of the most watched serials ever. “All artists except two were from Lucknow.  Doordarshan is still the best medium to promote local talent,” he said. 

In the years gone by, Doordarshan went through its own journey of evolution. The channel, which started in black and white, became coloured on August 15, 1982, during the then Asian Games. The first coloured OB van, equipped with four coloured cameras, was introduced in 1987, during the Cricket World Cup (Reliance Cup).

“Today, despite stiff competition from private channels, ‘Namaste UP’ and ‘Once More’ by Lucknow Doordarshan are among top-rated programmes,” said Mishra, adding that DD had also succeeded in maintaining its unique identity, especially when it came to programmes that created awareness on culture, heritage, literature and knowledge.

“Programmes like ‘Vigyan Se Dhyan’ have recorded the highest number of hits on YouTube,” he said.

First Published: Nov 28, 2018 09:53 IST

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