On Friday, the information and broadcasting minister of India, Prakash Javdekar out a tweet announcing that the popular television series Ramayana will begin its rerun on Doordarshan from 28th March 2020. This is on public demand, the minister said.
Touted as the first popular mythological epic on Indian television, Ramayana was first aired in the year 1987. It is largely based on Valmiki’s Ramayana and Tulsidas’ Ramcharitmanas. It was first aired on Doordarshan, the only channel back then. In the 1990s it was aired on Zee TV, in the early 2000s, Star Plus and Star Utsav aired it and as recent as 2008, NDTV aired it too.
When it came out first, it broke the Indian viewership record. Broadcasted in 55 countries and a total viewership of 650 million-plus, it is by far the most-watched Indian television series. It holds the Limca Book of World Record of being the most-watched religious show.
There were reports that while the series aired, the roads were deserted, the shops were closed and people would flock the neighborhood who had television sets. In villages, hundreds of people gathered around a single television set to catch a glimpse of the series. A popular legend says that even government meetings were postponed as the entire cabinet failed to attend because of the series.
It is coming back
Prakash Javdekar took Twitter to announce the news and wrote,
“Happy to announce that on public demand, we are starting to retelecast of ‘Ramayana’ from tomorrow, Saturday, March 28 in DD National, One episode in morning 9 am to 10 am, another in the evening 9 pm to 10 pm.”
It is also reported that the other epic Mahabharata will also be coming back during the lockdown phase. While Ramayana was directed by Ramananda Sagar, the epic Mahabharata was directed by BR Chopra. The details of the rerun of Mahabharata is awaited.
India is currently in its total lockdown stage in an attempt to contain the coronavirus outbreak. The 21 day lockdown period announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to end on April 14th, 2020. As of the 27th of March, India has confirmed over 753 cases, with 67 recovering completely and 18 fatalities. 668 cases are still reported to be active.