INDIA: Mumbai: The memories of the pivotal role played in the dissemination of news and connecting, educating and entertaining millions across Maharashtra, by the Mumbai Doordarshan TV channel was revived on the eve of its Golden jubilee on Saturday.
The Mumbai Doordarshan (Mumbai DD) was set up at Worli in South Central Mumbai on October 02, 1972, to focus on regional coverage. Late Inder Kumar Gujaral, who was then the I&B minister and later went on to become Prime Minister, made the inaugural speech. In the later years, the channel was named “Sahyadri”, after the Western Mountain range.
On Saturday, in a function organised by the Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh (MMPS) located in South Mumbai, many past employees and those associated with Mumbai DD, unfolded its journey over the last five decades.
On this occasion, many veterans were felicitated. They included: Dr Vishwas Mehendale (one who read the first Marathi bulletin), Sarita Sethi (the reader of the first Hindi bulletin) and Dr Yakub Sayeed (the producer associated with many Marathi and Hindi programs) at the hands of Maharashtra Industries Minister Uday Samant, who was the chief guest on the occasion.
Govind Gunthe, B K Giri, Ashok Dumbre, Kamal Wankhede, Mukesh Sharma, Shivaji Phulsundar and others were also felicitated.
Samant in his speech said that when he heard the signature tune of Mumbai DD played at the function, he recalled his school days when most people depended upon the DD. “We had a Dynora TV set in Ratnagiri (Konkan region) and we had to repeatedly adjust the antenna to get a clear picture. The technology was not much advanced in those days”, he said.
He appreciated many programs like “Amchi Mati Amchi Manse”, the popular mythological TV serial “Ramayan” which had become the people’s lifestyle. He suggested that the Mumbai DD can take up new innovative projects and for this help of former Director Mukesh Sharma can be sought.
Besides, a museum could be set up to preserve the treasure that the Mumbai Doordarshan possess. “If need be I will speak to the Maharashtra CM/DCM in this regard”, he added. Samant however opined that such a mega program should have been organised by the DD itself instead of it being organised by the MMPS.
Dr P. D. Patil, the Chancellor of Dr D Y Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune said that it was a historic day for Mumbai DD which has emerged as a cultural fair. It has been covering several topics including literary meets, cricket test matches etc. The credibility of DD news is unquestionable and now it is moving towards the path of further progress.
In the program, over 100 people including Mumbai DD’s past employees and some of the MMPS office bearers were honoured. They included: Senior Journalist Kumar Kadam, Cinematographers-Narsingh Pothkanti, Nandu Wadadekar and Kishore Cheulkar, Producers-Maruti Mogale, Sukesh Gokani, Sudhir Patankar, Arvind Merchant, Bharat Harankhure, Anchors-Madhu Raja, Vasanti Vartak, Amrita Rao, Engineer Sharad Moghe and Shrirang Naik.
MMPS officer bearers including President Narenda Wable, Vaijayanti Kulkarni Apte, Sandip Chavan, Shailendra Shirke and Jayendra alias Jayu Bhatkar (ex Producer Mumbai DD) coordinated the program. Veteran anchor Sudhir Gadgil interviewed many DD employees to know their experiences while working with the DD.
Mumbai DD Programs
In those days the Mumbaites used to adjust their daily routine according to the timings of their favourite shows on DD. Many Marathi shows regaled the Marathi-speaking and non-Marathi-speaking people alike.
Noted actress late Smita Patil had begun her career as a news anchor with Mumbai DD. The Marathi programming was quite prominent, before the ‘National Programming’ invasion from Delhi around the time of the 1982 Asiad Games. As a result, a huge morcha to the TV centre was organised by MMPS in 1983. Eventually, the prime position of the Marathi programs was restored.
Mumbai DD Programs in earlier days
Marathi: “Gajra”( a weekly program focussing on a variety of small skits), “Chimanrao Ani Gundyabhau” (a classic comedy serial), “‘Amchi Mati Amchi Manse” (the program focused on farming), “‘Kilbil”(a children’s program), “Has Parihas”, ( entertaining program), Pratibha Aani Pratima”, “Yuvadarshan”, “Dnyandeep”, “Sundar Maze Ghar”, “Mulkhavegli Manas”, “Kamgar Vishwa”, “Mukhvate Aani Chehre”, “‘Batmya”( the Marathi news daily at 7:30 pm), Marathi Movie on every Saturday and “Saptahiki”(the program summarized the upcoming weekly programming).
Hindi: ‘Chayageet’(a weekly program of a nice medley of Hindi film songs), “Phool Khile hai Gulshan Gulshan”( the program based on the interviews of celebs, focussed on Bollywood), “Parikrama”, “‘Sunday Hindi Movie” ( in the days before the VCR, this was the only opportunity to watch a Hindi movie outside a movie theatre) and “Samachar”( daily Hindi news bulletin at 9 pm).
Gujarati: “Aao Mare Sathe” (the program analogous to the Marathi program “Gajra”, “Santakukdi”(the program focussed on the children).
Urdu : “Bazm-e-Urdu” and “Mehfil-e-Yara”. The channel also ran some Sindhi programs as well.
English: “Magic Lamp”(a program focused on the children), “Sports Roundup”( a weekly program anchored by Frendrun Devitre), “What’s the Good Word?”( a quiz show anchored by Sabira Merchant) and “News” (the daily English News bulletin at 10 pm).
International: Some of the shows usually sourced from the UK and the US like Charlie Chaplin, I love Lucy, Goodies, Fire Ball XL5, and Tele-Match were aired in the international section.
Some of the interesting and prominent ads which had made heavy inroads in households were: Thumps Up – Happy days are here again, Gold Spot-Zing Thing, Washing Powder “Nirma” and Vicco Turmeric Ayurvedic Cream.