Doordarshan (Hindi: दूरदर्शन, often abbreviated DD) is an autonomous Government of India founded public service broadcaster which is owned by Broadcasting Ministry of India and is one of two divisions of Prasar Bharati. It is one of India's largest broadcasting organisations in terms of studio and transmitter infrastructure, having been established on 15 September 1959. Recently, it has also started broadcasting on digital terrestrial transmitters. DD provides television, radio, online and mobile services throughout metropolitan and regional India, as well as overseas, through the Indian Network and Radio India.
For the 2012 Summer Olympics, live telecasts of the opening and closing ceremonies of the games were broadcast on its national channel. DD Sports provided round-the-clock coverage of sport events.
Doordarshan had a modest beginning as an experimental telecast starting in Delhi on 15 September 1959, with a small transmitter and a makeshift studio. Regular daily transmission started in 1965 as a part of All India Radio. Doordarshan began a five-minute news bulletin in the same year. Pratima Puri was the first newsreader. Salma Sultan joined Doordarshan in 1967, and later became a news anchor. The television service was extended to Bombay (now Mumbai) and Amritsar in 1972.
Up until 1975, only seven Indian cities had a television service and Doordarshan remained the sole provider of television in India. Television services were separated from radio on 1 April 1976. Each office of All India Radio and Doordarshan was placed under the management of two separate Director Generals in New Delhi.
Finally, in 1982, Doordarshan took shape as a National Broadcaster. Krishi Darshan was the first program telecast on Doordarshan. It commenced on 26 January 1967 and is one of the longest running programs on Indian television.
National telecasts were introduced in 1982. In the same year, colour TV was introduced to India with the live telecast of the Independence Day speech by the Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, on 15 August 1982. This was followed by the 1982 Asian Games held in Delhi. Now more than 90 percent of the Indian population can receive Doordarshan (DD National) programmes through a network of nearly 1,400 terrestrial transmitters. There are about 46 Doordarshan studios producing TV programmes.The first TV serial, in 1976, was Ladoosingh Taxiwala, starring Paintal as Sardaar taxi driver.
The 1980s were noted for shows such as Hum Log (1984), Buniyaad (1986–87) and Nukkad and comedy shows like Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi (1984).
Mythological shows such as Ramayan (1987–88) and Mahabharat (1989–90) paved way for mythological and historical shows. Such was their popularity that roads would be empty when they were aired.
Bollywood film songs based programmes like Chitrahaar, Rangoli, Ek Se Badh Kar Ek and Superhit Muqabla.
Crime thrillers like Barrister Vinod (starring Parikshit Sahni), Karamchand (starring Pankaj Kapoor), Aparadhi Kaun, PC 1008 (starring Kanwaljit), Police File Se, Byomkesh Bakshi (starring Rajit Kapur), Reporter (Shekhar Suman), Tehkikaat, Janki Jasoos, and Suraag (starring Sudesh Berry).
Shows targeted at children included the ever-popular Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Tom and Jerry cartoons, and also He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Talespin & Duck Tales. The dubbed Hindi version of the Japanese anime Jungle Book was hugely popular, especially it's introductory track, Jungle Jungle Baat Chali Hai, whose music was composed by Vishal Bhardwaj. Shows catering to kids also included Faerie Tale Theatre, Dada Dadi ki Kahaniyan, Ek Do Teen Chaar, Vikram Aur Betaal, Space City Sigma, The Stone Boy, Malgudi Days, Tenali Rama, Potli Baba Ki (puppet show), Superhuman Samurai Cyber Squad, Knight Rider, Teletubbies, Street Hawk, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (a dubbed English version of a Japanese anime), Batman, and The Green Hornet, Spider-Man, Giant Robo, Ghayab Aya, Kahaniyon ke Guchhae and horror serial Kile ka Rahasya (1989). There were also comic plays of Charlie Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy and Didi's Comedy Show.
Shaktimaan (1998–2005), India's first superhero, glued millions to Doordarshan as did many other shows.
Other popular shows included Oshin, a Japanese drama series, Rajani, dealing with social issues, Trishna, Mr. Yogi, Neem ka Ped, Circus, Dil Dariya, Doosra Keval, Shyam Benegal's Bharat Ek Khoj, Sanjay Khan's The Sword of Tipu Sultan, Rani Lakshmibai, Dastan-E-Hatim Tai, Alif Laila, Gul Gulshan Gulfaam, Mulla Nasiruddin, Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne, Udaan, Talaash, Phir Wahi Talash, Katha Saagar, Nupur, Mirza Ghalib, Wagle Ki Duniya, Subah, Bano Begum, Phulvanti, Kshitij Ye Nahi, Paying Guest, Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan, Show theme, Sangharsh, Farmaan, Lifeline, Kashish, Shrimaan Shrimati, Tu Tu Mein Mein, Junoon, Ajnabi (starring Danny Denzongpa), Zabaan Sambhalke, Dekh Bhai Dekh, Shrikant, Sansaar, Swabhimaan, Yug, Chanakya, Shanti (launching Mandira Bedi), Sea Hawks (starring R. Madhavan), Surabhi, Aarohan, Tana Bana, Mujrim Hazir (launching Navni Parihar), Jaspal Bhatti's Flop Show, reality singing show Meri Awaaz Suno, Captain Vyom, Chandrakanta, and Tootne Ke Baad.
There were many acclaimed shows on Indian armed forces which aired on Doordarshan - Param Vir Chakra, Samandar, Fauji (launching Shahrukh Khan).
Serials like Dadi Maa Jagi, Bibi Natiyonwali and Aur Bhi Ghum Hai Zamane Mein were also popular.
Sarab Sanji Gurbani was the first sponsored programme on Doordarshan, sponsored by Texla TV.
Among the earliest documentary films produced by Doordarshan in Delhi are The Peacock Calls [Mor Machay Shor] (1968), TRS-FRS (1968), The Floods May Come and Go (1969), and University Girls (1971).
Some of the Transtel-Cologne shows that were popularly played on Doordarshan include Telematch, The Old Fox, Derrick, Didi's Comedy Show, The Investigator, and Scene of Crime. Doordarshan also played NBC's Knight Rider starring David Hasselhoff and ABC's Street Hawk as part of its Sunday afternoon broadcast during the mid- and late 1980s.
Doordarshan brought to the Indian viewers geographical documentaries made by the great marine explorer Jacques Cousteau (Secrets of the Sea) and the British naturalist David Attenborough (The Living Planet)
Doordarshan also brought to the Indian viewers English political Comedy series Yes Minister also American Family comedy serial Diff'rent Strokes also during 1994–95 Doordarshan for four hours will air programs from MTV which had the sensational Rahul Khanna as the VJ.
Ekta Kapoor's Kayamat, Ithihaas and many other shows from Balaji Telefilms were broadcast on this channel.
Doordarshan operates 21 channels:Two All India channels (available terrestrially), DD National and DD News
11 regional language satellite channels (RLSC), four state networks (SN), an international channel, a sports channel, DD Sports and two channels Rajya Sabha TV and Lok Sabha TV for live broadcast of parliamentary proceedings.
On DD National aka (DD-1), regional programs and local programs are carried on time-sharing basis. DD News channel, launched on 3 November 2003, which replaced the DD Metro formally known as (DD-2)'entertainment channel, provides 24-hour news service.
The regional languages satellite channels have two components – the regional service for the particular state relayed by all terrestrial transmitters in the state and additional programs in the regional language in prime time and non-prime time available only through cable operators. DD-Sports Channel is exclusively devoted to the broadcasting of sporting events of national and international importance. This is the only sports channel which telecasts rural sports like Kho-Kho, Kabbadi etc. something which private broadcasters will not attempt to telecast as it will not attract any revenue.DD 2 (from 1984 to 1993) - later Renamed to DD Metro
DD Metro (from 1993 to 2003) - later Converted to DD News
Metro Gold (from October 2000 to Sep 2001) - aired on DD Metro
DD International (from March 1995 to Sep 2000) - later renamed to DD World
DD World (from Sep 2000 to Jan 2002) - later renamed to DD India
DD CNNi (from 30 June 1995 to 31 May 1997)
DD 3 (from 1995 to 1996) - later merged With DD Movie Club, and the new channel was named as DD3-Movie Club
DD Movie Club (from 1995 to 1996) - later merged With DD 3, and new channel was named as DD3-Movie Club
DD3-Movie Club (from 1996 to 1998) - later converted to DD Sports
It is an interactive service of Tata Sky to show TV channels of Doordarshan which are not available on Tata sky as normal channels. Active Doordarshan channels are DD Kashir, DD Podhigai, DD Malayalam, DD Punjabi, DD Sahyadri, DD Chandana and DD Girnar.
DD has its own DTH service called DD Free Dish.
DD India is broadcast internationally via satellite. It is available in 146 countries worldwide; however, information on receiving this channel in other countries is not easily available. In the UK, DD India was available through the Eurobird Satellite on the Sky system on Channel 833 (the logo is shown as Rayat TV). The timingprogramming of DD-India international is different from that of India. Transmissions via Sky Digital ceased in June 2008 and those via DirecTV in the United States in July 2008.Prasar Bharati is parent body of Doordarshan, has all board members appointed by the Government of India acting through the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
It had been actively used especially during the Emergency for government propaganda.
During Operation Blue Star in 1984, only government sources were used for reporting the story. Here, Doordarshan was complicit in the production of a video that claimed acts of violence which when investigated by independent journalists were found to be false.
In 2004, it censored the airing of a controversial documentary on Jayaprakash Narayan, one of the opposition leaders during the Emergency.
When Doordarshan broadcast the 70-minute-long Vijayadashami speech of Mohan Bhagwat, the leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Narendra Modi administration and the BJP were criticized for "misusing" the public broadcaster. While Director General of DD, Archana Datta issued a clarification on speech and said, "Speech was like any other news event therefore we covered it."
After private television channels were allowed in 1991, Doordarshan has seen a steep decline in viewership in homes, due to general public acceptance of cable and satellite television, which in 2002 was just at 2.38% for DD National.
While it earns significant advertising revenue due to the compulsory feed given to it by the highest bidder to national events, including cricket tournaments, there has been a proposal to give it funds by imposing a license fee to own a television in India.
On 17 November 2014, Doordarshan relaunched with a new theme of pink and purple, accompanied by a new punchline Desh Ka Apna Channel, meaning "the country's own channel". It was announced by Vijayalaxmi Chhabra, Director General, Doordarshan.