Ramayan is a highly successful Indian television series created, written, and directed by Ramanand Sagar. The 78-episode series originally aired weekly on Doordarshan from January 25, 1987, to July 31, 1988, on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. IST.
It is a television adaptation of the ancient Indian religious epic of the same name and is primarily based on Valmiki's Ramayan and Tulsidas' Ramcharitmanas. It is also partly derived from portions of Kamban's Kambaramayanam and other works.
Arun Govil as Ram
Deepika as Sita
Sunil Lahri as Lakshman
Sanjay Jog as Bharat
Arvind Trivedi as Ravan
Dara Singh as Hanuman
Bal Dhuri as Dashratha
Vijay Arora as Indrajit
Sameer Rajda as Shatrughna
Mulraj Rajda as Janak
Lalita Pawar as Manthara
Jayshree Gadkar as Kaushalya
Padma Khanna as Kaikeyi
Rajnibala as Sumitra
Sudhir Dalvi as Vasishta
In 1986, following the moderate success of his television series Vikram aur Betaal and while he was in the midst of producing Dada-Dadi Ki Kahaniyan, Ramanand Sagar approached executives at Doordarshan about the possibility of producing a serialized version of the Ramayana, of which Sagar was a lifelong devotee. The idea was initially rejected, then revived, but delayed due to concerns that such a television series might lead to a rise in communalism. Finally, the show was indeed approved for 52 episodes (which would later be expanded twice in response to the series' overwhelming popularity, each time by 13 episodes, bringing the total to 78 episodes), and was given the unpopular time slot of Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. Doordarshan budgeted Sagar Rs. 100,000 per episode. Among the reference sources for the TV series, the producers used the seven volumes of critical edition of the Ramayana published by the Oriental Institute in Vadodara.
Popularity and influence
During its original broadcast, Ramayan was enormously popular, drawing over 100 million viewers. Although rising slowly at first, its popularity reached a point where the entire nation of India "came to a virtual stop as nearly everyone who could gain access to a television stopped what they were doing to watch the televised adventures of Rama." In a phenomenon that the newsmagazine India Today dubbed "Ramayan fever," religious services (Hindu and non-Hindu) were rescheduled to accommodate the show's broadcast; trains, buses, and inner-city trucks stopped running when the show was on; and, in villages, hundreds of people would gather around a single television set to watch the show.
At the time, Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi stated, "Ramayan has stirred the imaginations of millions of viewers. It has imbibed the great Indian culture, tradition and normal values especially in the young."
While religious-themed films had been produced since the beginning of Indian cinema, Ramayan was the first Indian television series based on religious stories and is widely credited with inspiring the production of many other religious television series, most notably B. R. Chopra's Mahabharat, as well as series such as Vishwamitra, Buddha, and Sagar's own Luv Kush and Krishna, while also inspiring the production of historical dramas such as Chanakya and Shyam Benegal's Bharat Ek Khoj.
The series was initially criticized by both urban Indian and Western film critics as being slow in pacing, melodramatic, and having poor production quality. As the series' popularity grew, eventually making it (at the time) the most popular series in the history of Indian television, many critics wrote articles in the Indian press and held discussions on Indian television, analyzing what caused such a program to reach such a level of popularity.
At the time it aired, Ramayan quickly rose to become the most popular program in the history of Indian television, a title it held until B. R. Chopra's Mahabharat aired, which was after the end of Ramayan's original run. Subsequently, through re-runs and video productions, Ramayan regained popularity and was listed in the Limca Book of Records as the world's "most viewed mythological serial" until June 2003
RAMAYAN by Ramanand Sagar - T V SERIAL