Doordarshan’s announcement about the re-run of Ramayan amid, the nationwide lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic, brought them success. The viewers showered a lot of love on the show and trended it on social media during its re-run. Ramayan, not only topped the TRP chart, but also became the most-watched show amid lockdown! But, did you know that when Prasar Bharati decided to re-run the show, many laughed/mocked at the idea!
During a video interview on the backstory of Prasar Bharati’s programming during the COVID-19 lockdown, Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati revealed to IANS, “They’re all, like, laughing. Who’s going to watch it?! I had to tell them that, you know, India is very different. It’s not just the English speaking elite, it’s much bigger, much more diverse. So there was that worry.”
Post Ramayan’s re-run, Doordarshan’s reach soared way past the top seven Hindi general entertainment channels. Apparently, the time spent on Doordarshan was moved from 5 minutes per week to more than 70 minutes! Ramayan‘s re-run on April 16, 2020, was watched by 77 million viewers!
Regarding the tapes of Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan, Prasar Bharati CEO told IANS, “The tapes were in the deep archive of the (Ramanand) Sagar family, and in Mumbai it was like operating in curfew. Someone had to physically retrieve these things. The formats had changed. People had to work through the night to figure out how to get it into a compatible format, and then push it from Bombay. Because the file sizes are so large, you can’t do it over the internet, it would have taken forever. So we had a satellite-based mechanism by which the content was beamed from Bombay and downloaded into servers here, so that the next day’s episodes could be aired.”
(With IANS Inputs)