Sunday, 22 August 2010

Two gems from the archives of Indian television

Once upon a time, long long ago, before gils was born, there was a time when there was only a single TV channel in India. Of course , it was government controlled - Doordarshan was the only channel and those who want to experience that torture can tune in to CCTV today. The powers that be in Doordarshan decreed that prime time viewing must be Krishidarshan (a program on agriculture, for those unfamiliar with the concept). But even in that era there were some gems which evoke nostalgic memories. This post is about one of them.

Apologies to the non Indian readers of this blog - second successive weekend post on a very Indian matter. But then when you search for something for long  and finally find it, you can't help but go a little over the top. I've been looking for this TV clip on the internet for a few years with no success. Finally found it. Yesterday  So the post naturally follows. Promise to desist from purely Indian matters for a while after this.

There was an organisation, now defunct, called the Lok Sanchar Seva Parishad. God knows what it did. But it did produce two masterpieces which were aired regularly on TV in the mid eighties and which people of that vintage will immediately recall. They were supposed to promote national integration, but instead of a boring , yawn inducing homily, they came up with two masterpieces.

The first was called Spread the Light of Freedom. This is what I had been searching long for. Indian sporting legends carrying a torch to lilting music composed by Louis Banks (ignore with a smile the passing resemblance to Vangelis in Chariots of Fire). It was a massive hit and every TV viewer could recite the names of all the sports heroes who featured in that film. Some familiar and some not so. Try and guess who they are - I'll post their names in the comments section after a couple of days.

The second was Mile Sur Mera Tumhara. Same theme of national integration, but a different style. This too was a big hit and you could hear people humming the tune under their breath.

After these two productions, Lok Sanchar Seva Parishad sank without a trace. But they achieved the unique distinction of a government department having made a few hearts beat a little faster. Happy viewing.


Anonymous said...

:D have u seen the recent version of mile sur mera thumara?!!! its not a shade on the oriiginal. both ur picks are awesome and no wonder they are quite a huge hit with the utube gen too :D


RS said...

Aaah, the spirit and music of 'Mile sure mera thumara'. In the decades when Doorsharshan was the only channel aired, Surabhi, Quiz by Siddharth Basu, Ramayana (we didn't have a TV set then,but would view in neighbouring homes) and Mahabharath were hits. The national award winning movies telecasted at 1.30pm every sunday was another promoter of national integration (and family integration, too :P). Regardless of the language, everyone of us used to watch, trusting the sub-titles.

@Gils: I didn't listen even once the recent version of 'mile sur..', not even on youtube.

PS: You woke up my sleeping nostalgia today. The rest of the day will be spent in memories :D :D

sandhya sriram said...

it dosent date so really back. atleast i was in school when they came and still remember this well

as GILs said, the recent version of Mile Sur is nowhere near.

one more was the series on discovery of india with roshan seth. before the history channels of the world found a way to gain TRP on history , this was in its own a very unique master piece on its own

and also, many of the programs which used to run on TV, whether Chankya or Mulla Nasaruddin, Hum Log, Buniyaad, Yeh Jo hai zindagi, whatever, nothing ever was TRP driven. some very good quality stuff existed at that time.

anyway - those are old days

thanks for these memories.

sandhya sriram said...

wow RS Echoed my thought just at the same moment - Surabhi and Siddhartha Basu quiz were again real good ones

Vinod said...

Wish you and family a great Onam.

P.N. Subramanian said...

Beautiful post. I did like "Mile dil mera tumhara" which serves to promote Natuional Integration. There a third one, very cute "Ek Chidiya, anek chidiyan". Kindly find it here:

Ramesh said...

@Gils - Remixes are never as good as the original ......

@RS - Mmmm. I'll pass on the Ramayana and Mahabaratha, but there was a few (very few) great stuff on. But there was also mountain loads of drivel.

Anyway, Happy nostalgic memories !!

@Sandhya - Carbon copy response to RS ! And you can't have been in school ; maybe kindergarden :):)

@Vinod - And to you Vinod and to Vani and to the little "baby of Vani"

@PNS - Welcome and thanks for your comment. Yes; that was another cute one dating back.

Ravi Rajagopalan said...

Ramesh, "Mile Sur.." brought tears to the eyes..I used to love this video all those years back. There was a sense of innocence about it. Thanks for sharing.

Ramesh said...

@ Ravi - Yes, lovely piece. But boo hoo; nobody loved the sports one :( !!!

raghavendra kotla said...

Hi Ramesh, here is the link for the new version for “mile sur…”, if you have not seen it, filled with current film/sports celebrities.

I vaguely remember the two videos you mentioned (telling you that I am also one of the “younger group” who follows your blog :-)).
Coming to your quiz, I can make out only PT Usha/Sreekanth/Sunil Gavaskar/Manoor Ali Khan Pautaudi/Kapil Dev. Pardon my ignorance.

The other two programmes I remember were Giant Robot and DD Comedy show(80’s). Not sure, how famous they are with others.

I remember another funny incident. For “Ramayan” , about 20 or 25 people used gather at house owner’s hall (only they got a TV set in the compound of 5 families). The old lady was ready with a coconut and harathi for the episode where Rama kills Ravana. She waited for 3 weeks in succession, for that scene to come :-)….and you guess what she did.

J said...

What a lovely nostalgic post. Heard mile sur many times today and my kids loved it too. Recognized some but unfortunately not all the sports legends. The amazing thing about both clips is how young and goodlooking most of the celebrities look and how cruel time is... Has it really been that long ago since these were made... doesn't feel that way.

BTW my great grandmother was an ardent fan of DD's 'vayallum vaazhvum' program and even guests were forced to watch along, even though she didn't own a square inch of farmland :)

Vishal said...

Oh, lovely memories Ramesh! Thank you so very much!

I must have been 6-7 years when these masterpieces were aired. The moment I read the title "Spread the Light of Freedom" I could guess what will be the second one. I have vivid memories of both these videos and I enjoyed both of these.

However I liked the first one more so because I am so crazy about sports. I could guess a few more like P K Banerjee and Prakash Padukone (I hope I am not wrong) in the video... Look forward to all the names that you are going to share

P.S. - Few thrillers that I used to wait for were Byomkesh Bakshi (the spy series) and Reporter (the thriller).

Durga said...

Only recently did I put up the video for "Spread the Light of Freedon" on Facebook. A whole lot of people appreciated it. That goes to show how much people still admire those videos. Please don't even waste your time seeing the new "Mile Sur". Its just a mile sur of Bollywood. Sheesh!

Deepa said...

wow wow wow! I can still sing the entire Mile Sur sequence without any prompts :). And the sportsmen one is also embedded as a childhood memory 'coz I really thought they ran the whole distance then. I still go back to the old ads and these clips from the good old Doordarshan days, on youtube. Otherwise, TV these days is living upto its 'Idiot box' nick name. (Infact, Idiot box is putting it too mildly).

My entry for your quiz-

1. Krishnamachari Srikant
2. :(
3. Looks like Mohinder Amarnath to me (not sure though).
4. Pilluvalkandi Tekaparambil Usha :)
5. :(
6. :(
7. Tiger Pataudi
8. Kapil Dev
9. The flying Sikh, Milkha Singh
10. to 16. >>> none :(
17.Sunny Gavaskar
18. EAS Prasanna
19. Dilip Vengasarkar
20. S Venkatraghavan (this is a guess too)
21. Prakash Padukone

I can see for myself that cricketeers are the favoured by my memory too!

Anonymous said...

Dont know abt all these,but i remeber "Vayalum vaazhvum" and wonder balloon on tuesday evening and chitrakaar on Wednesday night and a only one Sunday evening movie.


Ramesh said...

@Kotla - Yes I saw the new version but I am a pig headed old fashioned guy who believes remixes are an abomination !! Of course you are Generation Y - no way you'll remember the "old" sportsmen !!

@J - Yes, I am wallowing in nostalgia too. Really your grandmother advocated vayalum vazhvum ?? Ugh !

@Vishal - You must have been a baby then !! Impressed that you identified PK Banerjee.

@Durga - Wow - you found that clip earlier ?? I have been searching it for years. Admittedly searching for it dodging the Net Nanny wasn't easy, so I really didn't look hard.

@Deepa - I'm impressed. I'm floored. I'm openmouthed. Take a bow lady. That's an amazing number of sportsmen you identified. Bravo.

@AA - Yes, remember a million ads and 10 mts of Chitrahaar ??

Ramesh said...

The sports heroes, in the order of appearance are

1. K.Srikkanth (Cricket)
2. P.K.Banerjee (Football - Captain of India in the Rome Olympics; yes India was that good once upon a time)
3.Chuni Goswami (Football & Cricket - Captain of India's 1962 Asian Games gold medal winning football team and also a Ranji Trophy cricketer)
4. Shiny Abraham Wilson (Athletics - the queen over 800 mts)
5. PT Usha (Athletics; no intro needed)
6. Ramanathan Krishnan (Tennis - took India to the Davis Cup Finals)
7. Ramesh Krishnan (Tennis; followed in his father's footsteps)
8. Pataudi (Cricket - that's Soha Ali Khan, by his side for you movie freaks)
9. Kapil Dev (Cricketer; no intro needed)
10. Milkha Singh (Athletics - the greatest Indian athlete; broke the Olympic record in 400 metres at the Rome Olympics and still missed a medal by 0.1 sec)
11. Jarnail Singh (Football - Another from the golden era of Indian - Captain of India and Captain of Asian All Stars)
12. Nirupama Mankad (Tennis; the only Indian womens tennis player of note)
13. Only person I can't identify !
14. Michael Ferreira (Billiards - World Champion)
15. Balwinder Singh (Athletics - Shot Put; gold medal winner at the Delhi Asiad in 82)
16. Merwyn Fernandes (Hockey; won gold in Moscow Olympics 1980)
17. Sunil Gavaskar (Cricket - the Little Master)
18. Abbas Montasir (Basketball; only Indian basketballer ever of note)
19. Mohammed Shahid (Hockey - another gold medallist from Moscow)
20. EAS Prasanna (Cricket; the greatest offspinner Indian has ever produced)
21. Dilip Vengsarkar (Cricket; the master of Lords)
22. Venkatraghavan (Cricket - Umpire cricketer, gentleman)
23. Praksh Padukone (Badminton - alas; have to describe him as Deepika's father to you lot !!!!!)

Deepa said...

Ohh! I missed Shiny Wilson there! The rest were not known to me anyways.

Ramesh Krishnan, and Micheal Ferriera were recognizable names, but my visual memory started from Paes and Geet Sethi I guess :):).

Vishal said...

Thank you very much... it is really wonderful to know about at least 9 great sports personalities that I never heard of.

A humble request if you could take us back to glory of those times in your own words. :) would be great to read and relish!

Ramesh said...

@Deepa - I'm still amazed at how many you knew about. Hugely impressed !.

@Vishal - Any more sports here and the fair ladies might beat me up !!!

Anonymous said...

number 13 may to be Mohinder Amarnath?

Ramesh said...

@Anon - Thanks for watching and commenting. No I don't think its Mohinder Amarnath. I have a feeling that it is Adele Sumariwalla - the top sprinter and who is now the President of ther AAFI, but I am not sure. Its too short an appearance.

RSC Poster said...

Almost there. Very, very well done. However, I think 21 is Chandra (BS Chandrasekhar) and not Vengsarkar.

Unknown said...

@13 is Kiran More.

Neelima Nemani said...

Also, 20-21-22 is EAS Prasanna, Bhagwat Chandrashekhar and Venkatraghavan.

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