After a huge demand on social media, national broadcaster Doordarshan is bringing back the epics of 'Ramayan' and 'Mahabharat' for its audience across the country and abroad.
Doordarshan and DD Bharati will telecast the epics of 'Ramayan' and 'Mahabharat' respectively from Saturday, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said.
The minister even tweeted a photograph of himself watching an episode of 'Ramayan' and said, "One episode will air in the morning from 9 am to 10 am, and another episode in the evening 9 pm to 10 pm. It will be the same for 'Mahabharat' too."
Many social media users had requested the airing of 'Ramayan', directed by Ramanand Sagar, and 'Mahabharat', directed by BR Chopra, amid the 21-day nationwide lockdown.
Earlier, Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati said they were "working on it". Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar had conveyed as much on Twitter in response to a tweet..
"Yes we are working on the same with the Rights Holders. Will update shortly. Stay tuned," Shekhar wrote on his official Twitter handle, @shashidigital on Wednesday.
With India coming to a standstill owing to the national lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, many on social media have written how these shows were hugely popular at one time. People also noted how life on Sunday mornings would come to a standstill when these serials were telecast on Doordarshan National.
"Dear @narendramodi ji @PrakashJavdekar ji Please consider asking DD, and advising other channels, to telecast Ramanand Sagar's Ramayana and B R Chopra's Mahabharata daily. Perhaps two episodes a day each. They acted as magnets in quarantining people back then. They still can," tweeted a user identified as @pranasutra, reports theprint.in.
Others said that these mythological shows would help reduce stress at a time when normal life had become paralysed owing to the lockdown.
Some suggested back-to-back telecast of the serials, to enable a binge-watching sort of mood.
Ramanand Sagar's 'Ramayan' starred Arun Govil as Ram and Deepika Chikhalia as Sita, with Arvind Trivedi playing Raavan and Dara Singh essaying Hanuman. The series originally ran from 25 January 1987 to 31 July 1988.
BR Chopra's 'Mahabharat' featured Nitish Bhardwaj as Krishna and Roopa Ganguly as Draupadi, with Gajendra Chauhan, Praveen Kumar, Arjun, Sameer Chitre and Sanjeev Chitre as the Pandavas, and Punit Issar playing Duryodhana. The show ran originally from 2 October 1988 to 24 June 1990.