Golden Era of Patriotic Serials
The era of TV serial making in country began with Harish Khanna, the head of Doordarshan (DD). Khanna, categorically was in favour of entertainment,educational and patriotic content. DD ably carried ahead the responsibility of infotainment media. Patriotic TV serials were consistently shown on DD achieved phenomenal success towards meaningful and popular broadcasting. The overwhelming response it received motivated the launch of private TV channels. However they failed to make popular TV serials as compared to DD. Initially satellite channels didn’t focus on the subject at all. With passage of time DD’s effort also lagged behind. Today it is far away from its time of inception.
The 1985 TV series Kahan gaye woh log can be looked upon as beginning of golden era of patriotic TV broadcasting. The first episode was being telecast on 29 Dec 1985. Azadi ki Kahani followed suit but couldn’t leave the lasting impression. Kahan gaye… since its inception won overwhelming response. Then vice president Mr. Shankar Dayal Sharma presented the foundation (aadharshila) award for best patriotic serial to Kahan gaye…
Recollecting the serial is itself a patriotic experience. Produced and directed by film actor Dhiraj Kumar, it had big names such as Manoj Kumar, the iconic actor who immortalized the character of Bharat. The veteran played a key role in broadcasting of Kahan gaye… the serial with its immortal patriotic stories won wide recognition. It’s success of paved way for production of other serials. Patriotism, freedom struggle, educational and cultural unity was being promoted. The era proved “Golden” with almost all serials registering popularity.
Well known film maker Hrishikesh Mukherjee took to small screen and made Hum Hindustani. It was all about a hospital, four women each different in their religion. The 1987 serial showed how religious distinctions are above human relations.
Another 1987 series Bahadur Shah Zafar followed on 1st Sept took the initiative to dedicate a series to the last Mughal emperor. Well known actor Ashok Kumar played the main character. Thanks to B.R.Chopra, the emperor found his due recognition. Highly encouraged with success of serial Chopra further produced two more serials for DD. Bollywood’s old doyen maintained his cause for India’s cultural unity and integrity.
Buniyaad written by Manohar Shyam Joshi successfully depicted the pains and atrocities of people of the country post partition. Buniyaad showed that however the cause of a separate nation was solved, partition for many on this side of nation proved a blessing in disguise. Famous film maker Ramesh Sippy took the cause with Buniyaad and rest is history. Buniyaad is a milestone .
The famous Tamas written by Bhisham Sahni was adopted successfully into a TV version by Govind Nihalani. Nihalani shot in limelight with this serial. Tamas is still looked upon as one his finest work.
The golden era also saw the likes of Shyam Benegal conceptualizing a TV series on Jawaharlal Nehru’s popular book – Discovery of India. Benegal did his job right with rigorous research and study. It was Benegal’s dedication only that made Bharat ek khoj a milestone. The series is still looked upon as a great source of information on India.
Rs 8 lakhs per episode paid by DD for one hour of duration. Many well known actors were cast. Nasseruddin Shah, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi to name few. Roshan seth who anchored the serial played the character of Sutradhaar – Jawaharlal Nehru. A near look alike of Nehru, Seth very soon became a house hold name.
Manju Singh made Swaraaj, an epic series highlighting the concept of Self Rule. The story was about freedom fighters and their struggle. The serial in its first attempt of its kind, recreated the high points freedom movement.
Balwant gargi’s Saanjha Chulha and Col. Kapoor’s Fauji is also worth mentioning. Fauji in the first attempt of its kind focused on the lives of army men. Fauji ‘s great success empowered the nations sensibilities in a way it was meant to be. Shahrukh Khan, one of the lead actors shot to fame with Fauji. SRK became a popular name. The cast and crew of won rave reviews and khan switched to the big screen.
The golden journey of patriotic serials however continued with Jhansi ki Rani, The sword of Tipu Sultan, The great Maratha and Yug.
The sword of tipu sultan, a magnum opus by Sanjay Khan aesthetically depicted the life and struggle of the brave Tipu and can be looked upon as reference point on the life of Tipu Sultan. Khan himself enacted the character of Tipu and was well supported by Shahbaz Khan Anant Mahadevan and Pramod Moutho.
Jhansi ki Rani with its storyline content proved significant as the serial recreated the valor of Lakshmibai. Sanjay Khan, banking on success of Tipu Sultan made The Great Maratha, a storyline about Maratha warriors, a topic not touched earlier.
Sunil Agnihotri’s Yug can also be mentioned here. An explosion of revolutionary sentiments Yug ran for more than three hundred episodes. The golden run of patriotic serials on DD continued with A.S Bedi’s Ye Gulistaan Hamara, Raj Babbar’s Main Dilli Hoon and Gufi Paintal’s Maharana Pratap.
Long live our republic.
Submitted by Syed S Tauheed.