Mumbai: Amid the coronavirus lockdown across the country, the moment when the epic "Ramayan" from the eighties was aired on Saturday on Doordarshan, many went nostalgic. The audience demanded the government to re-telecast several other popular old television shows of that era. Considering the public demand, the government re-telecast body has decided to telecast "Mahabharat", "Byomkesh Bakshi" and the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer "Circus".
The "Ramayan" was back on television on Saturday, recalling for many those epic mornings an age ago when entire families, and even neighbours, gathered before clunky television boxes for their weekly fix of television and religion.
[caption id="attachment_442815" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Doordarshan[/caption]
The streets were empty today, as they were nearly three decades ago when Ramanand Sagar's serial that brought to life in garish and grainy colour the story of the noble prince and his 14-year exile began airing every Sunday.
The government's announcement that it would rerun the show on DD National at 9am and 9pm everyday brought back nostalgia for times that were simpler and TV viewing was about community. When neighbours with television sets opened their doors for others and families timed their routine to match the screenings.
"Ramayan", which began its telecast in 1987, made household names out of its two stars Arun Govil and Deepika Chikhalia.
Govil, like many others, watched the show as it aired on Saturday morning, calling it a "nostalgic" moment.
While "Ramayan" will be telecast everyday at 9am and 9pm, "Byomkesh Bakshi" has been allotted the 11 am slot. "Mahabharat" airs at 12 noon and 7 pm while "Circus" will be on screen at 8 pm.
Excitement of the viewers found their way to social media. Since Saturday morning, Twitter has been buzzing with tweets filled with gratitude.
[caption id="attachment_442816" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Mahabharat[/caption]
One user tweeted: "#mahabharat... Remembering my childhood stage and exiting am seeing with my kids.. My daughter translating.. Thanks Doordarshan.."
Another user shared: "Rarely do I watch anything on TV and even rare is with family. Thank You DD. Took me a while to figure out the channel no though. In case you're lost like me, it's Channel 1194 on Tata Sky. #Mahabharat."
Another viewer wrote: "One of the best #detective series #ByomkeshBakshi back to our home once again. Watch the time before CID nd savdhan India #CoronaPandemic #bestuseoftime #StayHome #SupportLockDown Thanks @DDNational @prasarbharati."
[caption id="attachment_442817" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Image Source: Twitter[/caption]
Another user shared: "Already watched today re-telecast of first episode #Ramayana, #ByomkeshBakshi & now eagerly waiting to watch #Mahabharata on #Doordarshan. Thank You @DDNational & @prasarbharati. #StayHomeSaveLives as #IndiaFightsCorona"
[caption id="attachment_442818" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Image Source: Twitter[/caption]
Meanwhile, demands for several other old shows continues on social media. These include the Milind Soman-starrer "Captain Vyom", Mukesh Khanna's "Shaktimaan", "Malgudi Days", "Hum Log", "Alif Laila" and "Fauji".
On the other hand, leading broadcasters like Sony, Star, Zee and the Viacom have decided to waive all tariffs and charges for four channels for a period of two months, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) said on Saturday.
In a statement, the IBF said, "Sony run Sony Pal, Star India run Star Utsav, Zee TV operated Zee Anmol and Viacom18's Colors bouquet channel Colors Rishtey will be available to all viewers across the country for a period of two months free of charge on all DTH and cable networks."
The decision comes after a nationwide lockdown that has forced the entire country to stay indoors as a precautionary measure against the deadly coronavirus.
"The broadcasting fraternity feels that this will provide people who are restricted to their homes wholesome entertainment and invigorating content and will help provide relief during lockdown," the IBF said.
(With Agency inputs)