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Bringing back the golden era of entertainment from the 80s & 90s in India!

The first ever serial representation of the Epics Mahabharata produced by B.R. Chopra & Ramayana produced by Ramanand Sagar were released on DD National in 1988 & 1987 respectively. The two shows hit the Indian households as a spiritual & dramatic means of entertainment & slowly found their way to being bench-marks of mythological television series.

Each of the Mahabharata & Ramayana series was limited to a number of serials that involved numerous actors, costumes, sets, props, and scenes that were picked up from the Epics. Their launch was considered to be a start of a golden era.

Owing to the 21 day lockdown in India due to the Coronavirus Outbreak, the Information and Broadcast Ministry of India decided to bring back fond memories from childhood for most in the country in the form of Mahabharata & Ramayana. What is striking is that DD National & DD Bharati have picked up pace & are receiving traffic like none other.

Do you remember how Mahabharata used to start? With time speaking to us in a rather transcendent manner? The sloka picked up from Bhagavad Gita that almost every Indian is familiar with, does sound like a sweet melody even today, as we gather around the television sets, curled up in our favorite spots.

In a report by BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council), Ramayana gained a total viewership of 51 million views on the first weekend it was aired. That is the highest viewership figure ever since 2015 for the Hindi General Entertainment Channel. Following suit, Mahabharata saw a viewership of close to 45 million viewers. Through this move, the broadcast & information ministry brought back an ensemble of excellent artists who are till date appreciated for their roles in these epics.

With Mahabharata & Ramayana returning to Indian households just like the 80s & 90s, it has hit a chord of nostalgia through the means of entertainment. In difficult times such as these, once again, the value of an entertainer has been brought out brilliantly. While those who entertain daily have become a part of our routine, these epics bring back a cast that made us go gaga over their appearance and acting in a time when entertainment was taking baby steps in the country.

This move leaves a notion that “out of sight, out of mind” may be true in existence, but, if earnest efforts are made and the M&E industry is given the slightest nudge, it can bring together a nation where 133 crore people live peacefully. It can bring together generations of artists, genres, and art forms to cheer-up the audience in times of distress. Along with all the health workers, civil servants, government, and organizations that are moving towards finding a cure for this pandemic, applaud all those who have relentlessly brought a smile to our faces through a television set, a theatre screen, an OTT platform or a social media platform.

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Effects of Coronavirus on the Event and Entertainment Industry of India
Manmeet D Added 4 years ago

“For the greater good & to keep the entertainers in the system who shall entertain us throughout, let us be conscious of our surroundings & encourage a mass audience to take necessary precautions.” - Sonia Swaroop Choksi, Documentary Filmmaker & Co-Founder of Match My [Talent] Coronavirus, a group of viruses that ceased to exist in humans until sometime back has entered the human race through the backdoors of cattle-rearing & petting of animals. It has taken the world by the throat, and posed an endangering threat to human life. What might have started off as a scare, has now turned into a global pandemic, as declared by WHO. India for sure needs to pull up the socks for what is about to hit us in perhaps the coming months or days. Browse the internet, go through any news channel, read any newspaper, or better still, peep just outside your window to the silent streets. All you can hear, read or see are the effects of the coronavirus outbreak across the globe & India. As much as the national government, global organisations & self-help groups are trying to educate & aware people of this pandemic, there is only so much one can do. Speaking of India, a country with a population of 133 crore people has started to show effects of imbalances in terms of economy, finances, and opportunities. Millions of lives have come to a standstill and most have a gut feeling that the much anticipated 2020 is not going to have expected negative effects. We are sitting in a country that has many unorganised sectors, and they cater to more than 90% of employment in the country. Daily wagers, temporary workers, and project based workers are the backbones of this unstructured community and it is clear that they have suffered the most. The art, entertainment, media & film industry have had one of the biggest hits in times of a national lockdown. These industries work strictly on incomes that are generated by either sale of art, services, events, concerts, interactions, and public conversations. Soumitra Thakur, a young musician and sitar player from New Delhi said, “Concerts getting cancelled in a row for months together is a setback because we don’t just go and perform but prepare for a concert for months and months. It’s an opportunity loss because we have missed connecting with that audience. May happen again, may not. It’s a financial setback.If we don’t earn for a regular period of time, we are totally effected and all these uncertainties break our confidence” You may have read the effects of Novel Coronavirus on the stock market, how it may have affected the share price of an MNC or how it has forced countries to restrict trade. However, we have all missed out on the bigger picture of this pandemic. The status of those who are in the conversation. Artists across the globe. Amidst a disaster that hit them like none other, Italy saw people playing instruments in their balconies & singing to cheer each other up. Let me remind you, music & art are an ongoing process that need attention. However, have we done enough for the artists in dyer times like these? Hasn't their livelihood hit a massive crisis? Ajay Vincent, a Director of Photography in the Film Industry of India spoke of the daily wagers who earn on a pro-rata basis. He expressed his deep melancholy toward those who belong to a middle-class section of our society and how this lockdown would strongly affect their living. Owing to this major loss & stagnation, Siddharth Roy Kapur, president of the Producer’s Guild in India announced a relief-fund that would help curb the situation in a certain way by paying allowance to technicians, daily wagers, and temporary workers. A deadly virus like corona has forced people to stay indoors. Events, concerts and plays have been cancelled that were scheduled in March as well as April & May. When spoken to Vaishali Chakravarty, Theatre actor, teacher and founder of Joy of Drama, she gave us an insight into how she decided to not only Netflix & Chill but also tune into a live online group story performance session that would allow children to read & learn under 75 minutes. Pandemics take control of operations not only internationally but by per-household too. How does one deal with sickness when the mere source of income is at a standstill? Are we giving this sector enough allowance to sustain while they cannot work-from-home? It delves into a deeper conversation that stays pending. Those creative minds who can work-from-home can still wait it out for another week, however, can we really say the same for those who stand helpless in such times?

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