Updated: April 19, 2020 8:37:11 pm
Like many other old favourites, Buniyaad is also back on Doordarshan amid the nationwide lockdown, and director Ramesh Sippy is thrilled that even after over three decades, the serial has tremendous recall value.
The show, written by Manohar Shyam Joshi, dealt with Partition and its aftermath.
“It has been more than 30 years and the show still has recall value. People remember it even today, they associate it with the Partition. Today’s young generation has forgotten all that. It has been more than 70 years. But still, somewhere in the families, the stories are there,” Sippy told PTI in an interview.
The director said the show, which debuted in the late 1980s, captured the sentiment of India’s “birth pangs”.
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“Of course, the younger generation can’t look back the same way as the older generation did. But I hope they discover the show now,” Sippy added.
According to the director, the journey of Buniyaad began when the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting invited his father, filmmaker GP Sippy, and suggested them to do a show for Doordarshan.
For Sippy, who was used to working on multi-starrers like Sholay, Seeta Aur Geeta and Shaan, the idea of helming a TV show was exciting, but he was initially reluctant about it.
“Not understanding the medium properly enough was a reason. But this kind of storytelling had begun in the West with some soap operas. I took the trouble of going through some of those and understand how they are telling their stories, to understand the craft. Manohar Shyam Joshi had prior experience of doing 100 plus episodic shows on DD, mainly Hum Log, so he had begun to understand this kind of breakup of a story into so many parts and keeping the audience engrossed,” he added.
The 105-episode Buniyaad featured a cast comprising mostly new actors – Alok Nath, Anita Kanwar, Goga Kapoor, Sudhir Pandey, Dalip Tahil, Neena Gupta and Kiran Juneja, who later married the Sholay director.
“Almost all of them were new. We took a lot of people from the National School of Drama. It was also where I met my wife. It’s true that Amit Khanna, our executive producer, brought her to the set. She had worked on TV before, done modelling too and the moment she walked in, I knew I had got the perfect casting,” he added.
Ramesh Sippy recalled how a crew of nearly 200 people — with cooks and a running kitchen — virtually camped at Film City for months to shoot the show, with the director working 18-20 hours a day.
“There was also a strike in between and we had to move everything a 100 miles out of Mumbai for three-four weeks. Because a serial cannot stop, we had to shift to Gujarat. There were some problems with the associations. DD had started to make a dent in the cinemas, the film people were all up in arms. How now you have with the OTT platforms. But that was the first kind of competition to cinema. Being a big cinema maker myself, my own people were working against me. That was something. We were all fighting for survival,” the 73-year-old director said.
While Buniyaad is a story of a family with Partition as backdrop, its admirers often say, the serial was also a study of the socioeconomic and cultural life of the nation, chronicled through three generations.
Ramesh Sippy said the show truthfully reflects the relationships of the people and the way they lived then but a lot has changed today.
“It mirrored what a middle class family went through, both in its personal life and the breakup and formation of a nation. The whole culture was quite different. I am not saying it doesn’t exist today, but naturally a lot of things change with time,” he said.
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