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Friday, November 26, 2021

Play it Again

Long ago,a generation discovered India when Shyam Benegal’s Bharat Ek Khoj aired on Doordarshan.

Written by Suanshu Khurana |
November 23, 2009 3:18:25 am

Doordarshan hits like Bharat Ek Khoj and Byomkesh Bakshi get a new lease of life as DVDs available at your nearest music store

Long ago,a generation discovered India when Shyam Benegal’s Bharat Ek Khoj aired on Doordarshan. It was also a time when Begum Akhtar and Ustad Bismillah Khan played regularly on the national channel. Now,those hit shows step out of the curtain of nostalgia to make another appearance for the Ipod generation — as CDs,DVDs and online downloads.

At the DD studios located in the heart of the Capital at Copernicus Marg,the archives section is busy at work. A few technicians are busy converting Bharat Ek Khoj from analog format into digital format,others are cleaning the colour around Gulzar’s Tehreer — Munshi Premchand Ki,while another group is working on making the detective series Byomkesh Bakshi available online. The CDs and DVDs will start hitting the stores in two months,and the online content will be available by mid-2010.

DD,now celebrating its 50 th anniversary,has created a roadmap to become a virtual archive,so that one will eventually be able to access any content from anywhere. “We will have a national distributor on board who will make these CDs and DVDs available to the public. Since 2003,CDs and DVDs of a few programmes have been available at the DD offices across India ,but this is the first time several major programmes will be publicly available,” says Kamalini Dutta,Director,DD Archives.

The project also included cleaning and restoration of rare footage,including performances by maestros like Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and MS Subbulakshmi. “There’s a team of 20 hard at work. The classic music CDs and DVDs will hit the stores around January,apart from being disseminated through DTH,” says Dutta,adding that she was aware of the fondness with which people still speak of the old programmes on DD.

Retailers agree with her. Dinesh Arora of Mercury Audio Video Store at Khan Market,which plans to stock the CDs and DVDs,says,“Elite customers would like this kind of archival footage. DD shows don’t come with an expiry date,unlike the hype and hysteria that marks modern TV series.” Shubra Pandey,a 23-year-old architecture trainee,is ecstatic. “We always hear of how good DD used to be. Now,we can see it for ourselves. I,for one,will buy the Byomkesh Bakshi DVDs and renew my acquaintance with Rajit Kapur,” she says.

Dutta says that the archival team will be kept busy since “there is an enormous amount of footage available with us,and it will take time to restore it all. Delivering orders will be another challenge.

But,as far as market is concerned,I am not worried. The archival value of the material is very high and it will have a wide appeal.”

She assures that the prices,especially for the downloads,will be nominal. A small price for timeless entertainment.

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