Some TV shows play an integral part in our lives. For many Indians, the mythological show Ramayan played a key role during the 90s. Now, to keep people’s spirits up during the tough times and lockdown, Doordarshan decided to re-run this 90s show starring Arun Govil, Dipika Chikhlia, Sunil Lahri and late actor Dara Singh.
In less than a month, Ramayan managed to break all the TRP records. It gave Doordarshan the highest ever TRP ratings in its history. Along with Ramayan, even BR Chopra’s Mahabharat is topping the charts. The audience is tweeting about their show, sharing their nostalgia and tagging the actors to praise them. Koimoi spoke to actor Sunil Lahri who portrayed Lakshman in this mythological drama. We asked the actor about his show topping the TRP charts, sweet memories of shooting days and more.
Read the interview below:
What do you have to say about Ramayan breaking TRP records?
It was expected. I was sure about it because I have been getting the response on social media. There was a demand for that the programme should be re-telecast. Also, I think people who have seen the show earlier, they have spoken so much about it to their family members and the younger generation. There was a lot of curiosity among the youngsters and the audience who have not seen it earlier. So they wanted to see what was the craze and was so great about this programme. Ultimately, it’s the content, the sentiments of the show and the feeling is so strong, that has worked. It’s a really good sign that good content always work among the audience.
I spoke to Vindu Dara Singh earlier and he told me that he and Arun Govil are watching the show with their family members. What about you?
I’m watching the show because earlier I couldn’t watch due to the shooting at that time. I didn’t get a chance to watch all the episodes. This is the first time in our family we all are watching it together. Everybody is enjoying and praising it.
How different is Ramayan compared to what’s made for the audience today?
There is a whole lot of technological difference today compared to 33 years ago. The technology was just coming up during that time. If you see the special effects, making the rakshas large and the characters small, it was very tricky. A lot of effort had gone at that time. Now, you can do the same work sitting on a table in a few minutes or hours. But at that time, we had to shoot for many hours and days to create special effects. Some of the special effects are still relevant despite technological advance.
I would also like to add that today, the viewership is bigger than it was during that time. That time only one network was there and it was Doordarshan. There was no other option. Today, there are multi-channels which range from historical to geographical to entertainment to sports. Apart from that, there are social media sites and also digital platforms like Amazon Prime and Netflix. Despite all these options, people are watching this particular programme. It’s almost three generations watching it together and they are glued to it and there’s number one TRP.
Maybe there’s lockdown that’s why. But even if lockdown is there, they are not watching other shows even when they have a choice. It is no force on them to watch but the younger generation is also watching. I am getting messages that they are loving the show and the characters.
Any fond memories from the shooting days you would like to tell us?
It was a very nice atmosphere and the entire cast was friendly and caring towards each other. It was like a family atmosphere on the sets. Anything that is made with passion and a lot of feelings then only you can portray this kind of chemistry on screen. That’s what appeals the younger and the older and everyone. From that time till now, the star cast maintains a beautiful relationship with everyone. We are in touch with everyone and we respect each one of us.