Some of the oldest memories of entertainement of most people my age and maybe more, would be a half hour indian film musical program, Chitrahaar, which came once a week on Delhi Doordarshan. Doordarshan means ‘viewing something which is far’ in Hindi. Even in those comparatively innocent times of actors exchanging kisses behind lily, hibiscus flowers, umbrellas and bushes; parents kept a watchful eye to see we didn’t show any more interest on the scenes than their keen eyes on our expressions. Many of us who got to watch it freely at home where truly enlightened and envied upon by lesser mortals from neighboring homes. Incidentally, it is the longest running film based show in the world (or so Wiki tells me).
The news was of no particular interest to us kids, although the news-readers remain unforgettable. I remember almost all of them. As the country’s representative, it sets the bar high on the information it broadcasts, but not its presentation. It remains the only channel which gives advice to farmers, in changing times and weather, everyday. Even the parliament channels, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have always had well thought out programs on economics, governance and great panel discussions. It remains the only channel which gives a chance to regional musicians and artists to showcase their work. Having said that, I really hadn’t watched any of the DD channels much over the years. Neither have my parents. Glossier channels with overdose of news, said at many decibels higher, proved to be no match to the calm, sepia tinted DD. Come to think of it, while the others of the likes of Times Now and Headlines Today cry themselves hoarse to be heard, DD remains the only channel which continues to use sign language in its main news, for the deaf. A few days back I was pleasantly surprised to see a revamped DD, making an attempt to regain its followers while still retaining its outreach. A zippy background, some chrome furniture, nice camera angles and lo, and behold…the DD seems ready to take over the Indian news somewhat like the BBC. While other channels continuously stuck out on one rampage, based on their own Twitter hashtags, making politicians answerable on entirely inane issues, the DD news calmly told me of a fantastic program launched by the Modi government in allocating 33,000crores of rupees into afforestation and this being the first time that this money is that which has come from corporate penalties. Undoubtedly, being a government’s channel one would not find too many dissents, however, in this age of half baked news and fast-flowing tag-lines, its nice to be able to see what the government has been up to and be allowed to make our own judgements. I also hope to see more global news which is almost completely missing from all other news channels in India. I actually had to catch the details of yesterday’s A320 plane crash on BBC and CNN. Here’s hoping that DD comes out with global colors.