Ramanand Sagar's Ramayana was first telecast on Doordarshan in 1987. (Photo Credit: YouTube)
Ramayana, the blockbuster TV show by silver screen legend Ramanand Sagar, is all set to make a grand comeback on Doordarshan. The announcement was made by Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday. The Union Minister took to Twitter to inform about the ministry's decision. In two tweeds in English and Hindi, Javadekar said, 'Happy to announce that on public demand, we are starting to retelecast of 'Ramayana' from tomorrow, Saturday, March 28 in DD National, One episode in morning 9 am to 10 am, another in the evening 9 pm to 10 pm.' The minister also tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his tweet. The announcement comes after the social media witnessed a deluge of posts by users demanding the rerun of the mythology-based shows such as Ramayana and Mahabharata during the coronavirus lockdown. (Coronavirus Live Updates)
Happy to announce that on public demand, we are starting retelecast of 'Ramayana' from tomorrow, Saturday March 28 in DD National, One episode in morning 9 am to 10 am, another in the evening 9 pm to 10 pm.@narendramodi— Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) March 27, 2020
The government may say that the decision is based on popular demand, many point to lack of new shows due to lockdown as the real reason. Since the pandemic made its presence in India, several TV companies and filmmakers have stopped shooting for new projects. Big production houses such as Dharma and Balaji have also decided to suspend shooting to comply with the 21-day lockdown. General Entertainment Channels are also resorting to 'retelecast' to fill the void. Colours is showing old episodes of 'Naati Pinky Ki Lambi Love Story' for 9:30 pm slot. For 10 pm, Colours has decided to show Bigg Boss Season 13 all over again. For big screen, release dates of all movies have been postponed with no set schedule.
In response to Javadekar's announcement, Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar thanked him for his 'guidance'. In a series of tweets, Shekhar also expressed his gratitude for the Sagar family for their contribution. "Thank you Sir for all your guidance and support in making this happen at this time," Shekhar tweeted while quoting Javadekar's post. "Heartfelt thanks to the Sagar Family for this service to the Nation during this moment who took immense effort to mobilise their resources and made available content to Team @ddnational in Mumbai on a war footing," Shekhar said. He also lauded the production team for making this retelecast possible. "A dedicated team of DD officers worked through the day yesterday and through the night to make this happen even as they stayed away from home and their families. Kudos to the entire team who worked on a war footing in response to immense demand from the viewers to watch the epic."
The Narendra Modi government invoked the National Disaster Management Act, 2005 to impose 21-day lockdown across the in the mega battle to fight coronavirus pandemic On March 24 midnight. The Act calls for the establishment of National Disaster Management Authority with the Prime Minister of India as chairperson. The NDMA is responsible for "laying down the policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management" and to ensure "timely and effective response to the disaster". Principal secretary Nipendra Mishra and Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba reportedly spoke to state chief secretaries and DGPs to chalk out the functional aspect of the lockdown. "The Ministries/ Departments of Government of India and State Governments/Union Territory Administrations, have been directed to ensure strict implementation of these Orders," a Union Home Ministry statement said adding it will also monitor the implementation of these measures.