We Asked Indians Under 30 What They Think Of The Iconic 1987 Series ‘Ramayan’ Being Re-Telecast On DD. Here Are The Responses
Here’s how young India responded to the re-telecast of the 1987 iconic series Ramayan.
When Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar announced that state broadcaster Doordarshan would re-telecast the 1987 iconic series Ramayan, a joke widely did the rounds.
It was that when it was first telecast, streets would be deserted and trains would come to a halt whereas now, when streets are deserted and nearly all commercial and transport activity has come to a halt, the series is being telecast again.
Written and directed by Ramanand Sagar, the series is a dramatic adaptation of the Indian sacred text Ramayana. It quickly became the highest watched Indian television series when it first appeared on television.
It is said that viewers would garland their television sets every time actor Arun Govil, playing Ram, would appear on the screen. Elderly people would touch the feet of Govil and Deepika Chikhalia (who played Sita) on streets.
One doesn’t expect today’s youth to not mix reel and real life, or treat the story or the actors as divine. However, a quick survey suggests that a large number of them are hooked to it.
Here, we have compiled a number of responses by people under 30, on how they are finding the simple-looking, modestly budgeted series when they are used to blockbusters full of computer-generated imagery.
Gautam Bhat, 23, Goa, mechanical engineering student
“At a time when we have so many entertainment channels such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, the government of India’s decision to re-telecast the iconic but old television series Ramayan did come as a surprise. Even though there are heated discussions happening on social media – and I am quite active on social media – I am loving the series.
“I think our generation has lost the values and morals taught to us by our parents, who in turn had got it from these legendary stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata. It is important for us to connect to our roots.
“As India is under a lockdown, and so are many other countries, I video-chat a lot with my friends staying in India as well as abroad. To my surprise, almost all my friends share my excitement and enthusiasm about the show. My friends abroad who are pursuing higher education tell us they envy us as they are missing out on the family experience.”
Akash, 27, Bengaluru, advocate
“The only problem I find in the series is the multitude of songs that break the narrative and interrupt an engaging scene. Otherwise, the series is great.”
Abhinav Nagar, 24, Greater Noida, lawyer
“When I started watching, the first thought was that the set looked a bit damp and video quality was obviously much inferior to what we are used to.
“However, once I started watching it, the song-narration routine and performance by some actors really struck me. The ethical dilemma brought out in the dialogues of Ram and Lakshman, after he was sentenced to a life in jungle, was quite emotional for me.”
Harshil Mehta, 21, Ahmedabad, engineerIng student
“My grandparents and parents had always mentioned this series whenever I shared with them my desire to see an adaptation of the Ramayana text in high-end imagery and animation. I am watching it for the first time now. It has poor graphics as per today's standards. Yet, it has the potential to keep the audience hooked through its simplicity and superb dialogue delivery.
“I am also liking it that my younger sister, who has not read the text unlike me, is getting to know what the story is all about. Its telecast is a great way to educate the younger generation about India's cultural heritage."
Kunal Patil, 25, Mumbai, software engineer
“I am finding that old is really gold. I think the text Ramayana teaches us the way of life. The television series used to be a binding force in olden days when the entire family would sit and eat together while watching it.
“Today, families hardly even eat together. Thanks to the re-telecast of the show, and of course the lockdown, our dinner slot has shifted to 9 pm and we are eating together now. I am finding it really nice how the members of Ram’s family deal with each other, the language they speak.
“I think the series is also teaching us to be aware of our priorities. While family and relations keep us together, the greed for power leads to quarrels. Our screens have grown from black-and-white in the 90s to 56-inches HD screen in 2020, but the message of Ramayana remains the same.”
Aditi Krishnan, 16, Bengaluru, Class X student
“My first reaction was to laugh at the outdated special effects. The story, however, is not difficult to follow. The series has been well made. It is interesting to see how our culture has not changed much, even thousands of years down the line.
“Ramayana teaches us that we must fulfil our dharma. What we have understood from Mahabharata is that all our actions have consequences. The costumes in both the shows are interesting.”
Dilawarsingh Sisodia, 22, Ahmedabad, CA student
“I find it slightly slow in pace and some actors are certainly overacting. Apart from this, it's simply a treat to watch. Arun Govil’s smile is – wow! We all know the storyline but are not aware of details and lesser-known instances, for instance, only yesterday I learnt that Ram, Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughana aren’t in that age order; I always believed Ram was the eldest and Shatrughana the youngest.
“Barring some graphics (obviously, we can't complain about that), it's great piece of art. Most people from my generation are loving it. Sadly, however, I won’t be able to watch it full and I have exams coming up.”
Veerendra, 27, Surat, engineer
“I watched Ramanand Sagar's Ramayan for the first time in my life not on Doordarshan during this lockdown, but on YouTube. I binge-watched it after a recent Kapil Sharma show where the cast was invited and their experiences shared with us. I completed it in under a week.
“It’s true that given the technology in cinema today, the arrow wars in this series don't look good at all. However, what I like is the conversations as well as the huge amount of respect one gave others while addressing them.
“My favourite scene is when Sita is being sent to Ayodhya from her homeland after her wedding with Rama. The conversation between Janak and Dashrath is unforgettable.
“That said, being a Telugu movie buff and having watched so many of our old movies based on Ramayana and Mahabharata, with legends like NTR portraying the roles of Rama and Krishna to near perfection, the actors in Ramanand Sagar's series didn't impress me all much.
“However, their dialogue delivery was good. A special mention to the actor who played the role of Indrajit. He was great.”
Sandeep Yadav, 25, Delhi, MSc student
“What has struck me is the passion with which the makers have made this series. It looks like a labour of love. It’s as poetic as a lover expressing his love to his beloved. Ramji comes across as an ideal man who, just to fulfill the promise of his father, left his comfort.
“The entire public supported him, he could have easily become the king, yet he did that only so his father’s promise was kept. I don’t understand why people hate him.”
Rahul Kumar, 25, Gurugram, data analyst
“It was at one point a very talked about television show in my family and if it was so hyped then obviously I wanted to watch it myself. Acting wise, it feels more like a theatrical play than a serial, but that may be because the actors don’t have much of a scope for acting.
“That said, they do keep you engaged for an hour even though most of the story is predictable (also thanks to the live commentary by elders in my family). As far as learning is concerned, I feel Shri Ram was not following his father as some people say but the principles set by his ancestors. This is because when Dashrath told him not to go, Ram didn’t budge from his decision.”
Jagriti, 22, Kanpur, student at IIIT Jabalpur
“I watch it every day with my family on TV despite knowing that I can watch all the episodes on the Internet at once. I think watching it on TV with family is a different experience altogether. We have healthy discussions about both the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
“I know both the stories, have read books on them but still, there is something new to learn with every episode. I think this is best thing we can do during this lockdown. It fills my mind with positive thoughts. The sense of sacrifice I get from the series makes me responsible for my country as well.”
Priyanka Dubey, 24, Chennai, IT analyst
“I have so much in my heart and writing about the serial makes me cry. Yes, this is the kind of relationship I have with Ramayan these days. The extreme sacrifice, the respect for values and people, all this makes me very emotional.
“It’s also having a strange calming effect on me. These days, ‘Ram vanvaas’ is being shown. Somehow, it’s now making me hate Manthara as much as it is making me love and praise Ram, Lakshman and other characters. Hail Lord Ram.”
Aravind Vaidyanathan, 22, Trichy, student
“I want to watch the series Ramayan, but I don't understand Hindi very well. I wish it had Tamil subtitles or was telecast on Doordarshan's Tamil counterpart, Pothigai. I'm sure there are many in my part of the country who feel the same way.”
Shubham Shah, 26, Ahmedabad, optician
“Watching it is a delight. At this age, I can understand more clearly the higher purpose of life. Also, there is so much to be learnt from each and every dialogue. They can have a massive positive influence in one’s life. I am experiencing it myself. The show is changing my perspective towards life.
“Apart from the underlying message of victory of good over evil, the series is also showing me a path towards answers to various questions. For instance, what is supposed to happen will happen (“honi ka vidhaan”). The way Ram handled ‘vanvaas’ — it was exemplary. At a time when people are so tensed about their future, it’s inspiring how the characters in Ramayan accept things as they come.”
Anoop Suri, 27, Jalandhar, businessman (stationery manufacturing)
“I am finding the series engaging and thought-provoking. Ramayan and Mahabharata, both pieces of our rich ‘itihasa’ have enriched our lives for thousands of years as they encompass all the dimensions of life such as ethics, niti and dharma. It’s enriching me.“
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