Ashoka, the TV serial

The known to all story of Ashoka is very different to what is being currently shown on the Colors TV.
The most surprising was the Amma ji of serial “Lado na aana is desh”. The Character of Amma ji was larger than life. But we do not complain since the TV serial or Natak to be exact should be filled with Drama. Unless a natak doesn’t has a drama element it is not complete. The character had an IMPACT, that will remain with me throughout my life. 
Now this Ashoka has started with aplomb. First few episodes were the best, As it happens with every serial. When I saw that serial runs for whole one hour. I was so engrossed with the idea that “now atleast a serious TV serial producer has born” The most incredible thing was that serial ran full for one hour without any break or commercial advertisement. Some serials were made only for commercial advertisement purpose. But when I found that there is no break I felt happy at heart. And thought to appreciate the producers. But mummy of Jaivardhan cursed the producers as now for whole one hour my son had to sit in front of TV and that too without any break. His final exams were approaching and we all were encouraging him to work hard and prepare for his exams. But now this Ashoka came and he would sit in front of TV for full one hour.

I was happy that at last some serial has come with serious agenda to highlight the ancient Indian civilization and help it to regain its glory.


As once did the Ramayan and Mahabharat. The history of TV will be not without these two serials. History was made by HUMLOG. Then there were TAMAS, BUNIYAAD.
When Ashoka was aired without any break I thought history has been made. But I was proved wrong very shortly there after. Much to relief of mummy of Jaivardhan, my son.
The Chanakya has come in a new Avatar. The writer, screen play writer, the director, The dialogue writer, the set designer, casting director (I don’t know whether casting director had any role in it ?) all are to be praised.

Initially the Rani Dharma, Ashoka emerged as hero.  Artists did full justice to their roles.           The serial is best as of today as I found, be it concept, costume, DRAMA, suspense, Screen play, artists.
Actor who has played the role of Chanakya has actually tried to go deep into the characterization. The dialogue rendition is very good. Credit can also be given to editing. The set designing reminds me the sets of Bharat Ek Khoj by Shyam Benegal, (I don’t remember if Nitin Desai was there). And then there was CHANAKYA by the “chanakya” Prakash chandra Dwedi ji. The artist playing Chanakya is to be praised for his acting. SUPERB. Every act of his face is doing justice to the role. I have never seen such portrayal by any artist before. I can say only Meena Kumari and Nutan were two artists to name few. I liked.
The ashoka serial people have done lot of research on the topic.
I think TV has got or invented a “KING”. He looks like a king(Not many can). He was first seen in Rani Laxmi Bai. He played the role of king of Jhansi who married laxmi bai. Then he played the role of King Shuddhodhan, father of Gautam Budhdha of Kapilvastu.   He played the role effortlessly. His gait and mannerism are shown like of a king. I could guess that he is a Marathi actor, due to his accent.
The fact that mother and Ashoka was not known to Bindusaar while they continued to ive in Patliputra was new to me. She was a daughter of a Shresthi of Ujjain, who followed the JAIN or jeevak (or pra jeevak) lifestyle and/or similarly the wife of Ahoska was also from a Shresthi of Ujjain.?? I don’t know?. But in TV i think they have shown Rani Dharma (Shubhadrangini)  as daugtherof Brahmin. 
Till today I had never seen “Helena”, the daughter of Selucus. Although I knew through the history lessons about that marriage, but never seen in TV or films.
She was married to Chandra Gupt. Culture were different. Language might have been a great barrier. Isnt it? Interpreters were engaged or not? God knows?
Her son was also there, a completely new information for me. Not much was known to me about the Charumitra the first wife of king Bindusaar.
The status of Chanakaya was larger than anything else. Once, a dwarpal was ordered not to let anyone enter without permission. Later Chanakya stood at the gate. On recognizing the Chanakya, the dwarpal did not stop him from entering the palace. Since Chanakya had acquired a status larger like a king or kingdom. His devotion and faithfullness towards the Magadh- the mother land was quite extraordinary and well known throughout the kingdom. Even Kings could not disagree on that. 
As we write in ACR- the appraisal forms for the integrity- Beyond doubt… often blindly we write it there. The Chanakya is also said to have mobilized all persons loyal to the Magadh and brought them together to work for the King. Even if they personally did not agree with Chanakya. That’s the true character of Chanakya. He wanted people who will work for Magadh not for a person, and not for their personal gains. A true lesson for today. He brought back the Rakshash.
Now I have started appreciating the acting of the lady playing the role of Helena. The screen presence(as we call it) combined with the background music spells magic. I am thinking who this expert lady is? Is she an Indian (anglo-indian) or a foreigner? If she is not from India then hats off to her courage and caliber.. She is a true drama artist. The face of cuckoo of old Hindi films comes to mind. But few of her gestures suggest that she if from other nation. But when she emotes and conveys the emotions through facial gestures it becomes difficult to imagine that lady actor do not understand the hidden meanings of words of Hindi? Though the accent has been kept un-indian..That actually  justifies the acting.   However as good serial. Looks authentic, and looks appealing too. That’s what is required for a good serial.

Art in changed India…

I have been watching TV Channels for many years now. Earlier I was quite happy with the Doordarshan (the Lucknow doordarshan from 1977 to 1982). Then 1982 happened and I saw the National Telecast in my home. In 1982 a TV came to my home. UPTRON TV. Black and White. But those were most happier times. I was able to see Chitrahaar, Films, Natak, Chaupal, Phool khile gulshan gulshan, the morning programme from Delhi on Sunday, Shri Pawan Duggal was the anchor then. On sunday Hindi films and in night any regional films used to be tele-casted. Or in the noon times also regional films were telecasted. Shobhana Jagdish, Smt Nirmala, etc then from Delhi Sadhana Srivastav, Smt Roy (She was almost like Meena Kumari ji), Sarla Maheswari, Sulma Sultan, Mr Soni, Mr Narang, Smt Komal GB SIngh, Tejinder Singh, Minu, USHA AlBERQUEQUE(I am sorry I dont remember the Spelling), Shobhana ji from Lucknow later went to Delhi also.
One interview I saw on TV in which Smt Bella Bose was interviewed by (If I am correct Smt Tabassum) or Smt Tun Tun (Real Name Uma Devi ji if I am correct, please correct me if i am wrong ). Then there was program by Smt Ila Arun on sunday evening 3 or 4 with lots of music and musti having folk flavour.
The New Central Production Centre of Doordarshan started and rolled out few programmes. National Program of Dance was one such program. Malvika Mitra was once featured.
In black and white TV I could see the colorfull performances of Smt Mrinalini Sarabhai- Chandalika, then There was choreographed piece by Smt Rukmani Arundale, Gopi Krishan was shown by Lucknow doordarshan, Smt Sunaina Hazarilal, Smt Damyanti Joshi I saw in black n white TV.
Later with the advent of color TV in market but at our home was content with Black and white for some time more. (it was costly affairs then)
Later Yamini Krishnamoorty, Smt Sonal Mansigh, Sanjyukta Panigrahi, Uma Sharma, Raja Radha Reddy, Padma Subramaniam, alongwith Madhavi Mudgal, Swapna Sundari, Alarmel Velli, Malvika Surrukai, Mallika Sarabhai, came on TV in our house.
It was due to TV we could see GURU Kelucharan Mahapatra, Pt Durga Lal, Sitara Devi, Birju Maharaj, Rohini Bhate, Smt Lele, Leela Samson, Sucheta Chapekar, Guru Singhajit Singh (Manipuri). The Doordarshan and its DD Bharati is now airing the dance and music programs.

Now there are so many TV Channels that it is impossible to have a count on the numbers of channels in country. But sad part is that how many of them are promoting Arts and culture? Is Art and Culture in India is so bad or not economically viable so that TV channel can not promote it. Strange it may be that in a country where we boast of a Rich and glorious Heritage of arts and culture. but TV channels cannot promote it?

However few news channels did show the news item when great ZOHRA Sehgal passed away. But how many show Smt Teejan Bai?? She is the one of great artists we have.  She is the most energetic personality. Once she steps on stage, immediately the character takes over be it Bheesma, Bheema or Arjun of Mahabharat. The most pleasant thing was the voice of the accompanying artists who usually says “achcha”. Her voice quality is also rich.

Due to TV only we could see the Kalavantalu, i mean the real ladies from Andhra Pradesh who have conserved the art of dancing in rural Andhra Pradesh, credit goes to Smt Swapna Sundari, who has researched it. I hav forgot the name of one kalavantalu with whom Swapna Sundari was studying.

Now days i dont find coverage of culture in Tv. There are infinite number of Tv channels. But not much attention is givien to our arts. No channel promote these activities, besides only promoting realty shows etc. that tells arts are not economical viable option.

There are so many institutions in India, teaching arts, Music and dance. Every year lot of students pass out. But what market is available to them? how they get employment?

Only ICCR or such related centres established abroad employ these artists. I had seen many Kathak dancers passing out of Kathak Kendra have got jobs in variuos countries in the centres either promoted by ICCR or such organisation/ambessay etc.

Or few students get jobs in Government colleges, and teach there till retirement. What is their contribution? no body seems to evalute? Why to? Since in all other govt sectors there is no mechanism of evaluation, why to imply in arts?

crores of schools, colleges, univesities are there. Why the standard of education is low in govt schools? Not all but in most of schools the condition is same.

Coming back to TV, where is the TV channel where dancers artists can come and perform. Where is the audience? Is the audiance is ready or want to listen to artists on Tv channels?