Tag Archives: Indian Television


Cinephilia Quiz 5: Doordarshan

Hi all,

Today’s quiz dedicated to the nostalgic memories of Doordarshan. Have faced a hard time finding pictures and information due to traditional systematic apathy of the organization towards its own heritage. It’s been created in collaboration with Vikas Tripathi.


Put your answers as comments.

They are being moderated and will be published only after the deadline.

You can make multiple attempts and in case of conflicts your last answer will be taken as final.

Every question is worth 10 points irrespective of difficulty level (for ease of calculation).


I have decided to finish this cycle with this quiz. For this cycle, due to extreme poverty, I will give only one prize worth Rs 500 to the cumulative winner. More plans are on regarding the next phases and hope we’ll be able to dole out more prizes next cycle onwards.


24 hours from the moment of publishing.

1. A sitter to begin with…. Connect them and give me a classic DD serial.

2. How can you connect this logo with the person below? (Please ignore the third finger, it is purely coincidental)

3. Identify this Maharashtrian politician who started his career with the newly found Socialist party at one point of time but later on changed his allegiance. Also explain why he is in this quiz.

4. This guy is related to these three films but he is more famous for his exploits in the field under discussion here. Who’s he?

5. A recent ad that is a throwback to the golden age of DD. Identify the advertiser and also identify the two personalities.

6. Connect and give me the personality.

7. Identify the people being interviewed here and also the interviewer. What distinction does the interviewer hold?

8. X did something in the year Sholay released. Popularity of X’s act was so much that an encore was done after 10 years. Who is X? What am I talking about?

9. Connect

10. Connect (not exhaustive)



Here are the answers:

Maximum number of page visits for this quiz but miniscule participation. Only 7 unique entries is disappointing.

I will update cumulative scores later on.

1.Buniyaad: The writer Manohar Shyam Joshi and directors Ramesh Sippy & Jyoti Sarup
2.Jungle Book: Logo of Nippon Animation which adapted Jungle book into an anime version. It was later dubbed in hindi by doordarshan where Nana Patekar voiced for Sher Khan.
3.Vasant Sathe: As Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting he initiated the process which led to Indian television(DD) moving into colour broadcasting for the Asian Games 1984 and Hum Log the first colour Indian soap-opera.
4.Master Manjunath acted as a child artist in these films but he was more famous as Swami of Malgudi Days. He did not pursue an acting career later on.
5.Ads by Ebay: Features 80s popular hosts Dr Narrotam Puri and Komal GB Singh as themselves.
6.Bhisham Sahni: Acted in Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho!, Tamas and Little Buddha and in fact Tamas was based on his novel of teh smae name.
7.Pratima Puri(First newsreader on Doordarshan) interviewing Yuri gagarin in 1965.
8.The iconic LIRIL Ad featuring Karen Lunel, an airhostess with Indian Airlines in lime green bikini.It was first shot in 1975 and then again in 1985 considering its enduring popularity.
9.Surabhi: The Amul ad with clips from Manthan featuring Smita Patil was especially made for Surabhi. The competition postcards were also introduced for Surabhi as its weekly quizzes became too popular.
10. I wanted a specific answer for this one. Characters played by Om Puri in Bharat Ek Khoj. Ashoka, Rajaraja Chola, Krishna Devraya, Aurangzeb. He played some more but I could not verify all of them due to lack of online resources on the topic.

DD: Ray, Kurosawa, Antonioni, Kazan

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Doordarshan: A tasteless remembrance of the golden age and some nostalgia

Just came across the above promo from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara that makes fun of Doordarshan, posted by a friend in Facebook. He was disgusted, so was I and it compelled me to write this post. But going by the comments below this video, people are finding it amusing & “LOL”worthy. One may accuse me of making a mountain out of a molehill, but it disturbs me as it strengthens certain stereotypical thought processes that ail the society and reminds me of certain other issues related to preservation of our cultural heritage. It is not particularly a critique of this one off incident but of the bigger phenomenon that it alludes to.

Typical Indian mindset: Stereotypes and more Stereotypes

It disturbs me because adjectives like classic, antique, historical or vintage make no sense to us. They are thanklessly bracketed with old, outdated, banal and boring. However I don’t think it is a recent phenomenon. It has been the case with us all the time. I am sure people in the 70’s too made fun of KL Saigal. So it is only poetic justice that they now deserve Action Replayys and OSOs as throwbacks to their times. Most of us Indians have no sense of history and have no interest in preservation of important cultural landmarks. That is exactly why I have been able to watch Birth of a Nation and Cabinet of Dr. Caligari but have no clue about Raja Harishchandra & I know for sure that Alam Ara is lost forever, except for a few photographs.

Doordarshan: A few memories

In the late 80’s and early 90’s, Doordarshan came up with some world-class programs. My personal favourite was Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi’s Chanakya, one of the most well researched pieces of celluloid to have ever come out of India, notwithstanding the criticism from some quarters with vested interests. For me, it is still the epitome of period detailing and research, backed by excellent performances and dialogues.

Although I must mention here that I was never fond of Ramanand Sagar’s mythologicals despite their huge popularity. Their low production values led to hilarious and cheap aesthetics, not to mention the lack of research and detailing. But their success set up the assembly line of mythological serials to cater the most “religious” and “spiritual” society on earth. However, BR Chopra’s Mahabharata stood out in terms of high production values as well as excellent casting, which made later adaptations of the epic unwatchable (such as that of Ekta Kapoor’s).

I think the main reason this sudden burst of quality asynchronous to its times can be attributed to the involvement of capable directors, writers and producers from the film world such as BR Chopra (Mahabharata), Sippy (Buniad), Benegal (Bharat Ek Khoj), Gulzar (Mirza Ghalib), Nihalani (Tamas), Basu Chatterjee (Byomkesh Bakshi), Dr Rahi Masoom Raza (Neem Ka Ped), Sanjay Khan (Tipu Sultan, Great Maratha) among others. Quality actors like Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah and Irrfan were also regularly visible on Doordarshan at those times. Besides, most of them choose to draw from epics and classic literature. The boom of “cool”, pulp, Indian English fiction was still a more than a decade away.

But even comparatively better filmmakers of today like the Akhtars remember nothing about that period except for the signature tune that they find hilarious. What do they think about the present state of Indian television? What about un-dead and evergreen matrons without a single grey hair? What about random biker chicks who cannot name the president, swayambar of drug addict divorcees and schizophrenic item girls, logically dead historicals, gambling shows masquerading as quizzes, a jumble of urban and rural legends masquerading as news channels, reality shows to detect who is cheating on one’s BFs or GFs???

Doordarshan Now:

But this is not to say that DD is doing well right now. It has now reached a phase of worthlessness and irrelevance. It no longer has the talent pool that created that golden age. More importantly, it is only trying to emulate the garbage created by private channels with lower budgets and cheaper aesthetics. The result? Only those who have no other options watch DD.

DD: Ray, Kurosawa, Antonioni, Kazan

Image Courtesy: http://8ate.blogspot.com/2009/08/amita-malik-and-lost-archives.html

Another alarming trend is its own lack of respect for their glorious past. Serendipitously, today I also came across the photograph pasted above. Just have a look at the people involved. I had no idea that these maestros attended a discussion in DD and I still can’t believe that they no longer have this tape. They have either lost it due to incompetence or deleted it themselves due to apathy, ignorance and tastelessness. One may also read this post by Amita Malik to get a better idea of this uniquely Indian phenomenon.

Satan save India, the Gods have failed!