Malgudi Days remains an all-time favorite television series, of not only me, but I am sure it is so for millions of viewers worldwide. Produced under the banner of Padamrag TV International, by T. S. Narasimhan, and directed by Shankar Nag & Kavitha Lankesh, the series was based on the acclaimed works of the eminent Indian author and novelist R. K. Narayan.
It was originally aired on Doordarshan, way back in 1986.
However, the thirty-nine episodes then telecast became so immensely popular, as evident in the several re-runs (even in the dsatellite channels after they came into being), that the project was revived in 2004, and telecast in 2006. Though the original series had been helmed by Shankar Nag, the revived series was made by Kavita Lankesh as the former had passed away. The series was spun from various stories of R. K. Narayan and many of them were just one episode long. That made the series all the more laudable. The stories - though now part of the Malgudi anthology - were actually taken from the books A Horse and Two Goats, Malgudi Days, Swamy and Friends and Vendor Of Sweets.
Malgudi happens to be a fictitious small town in South India. It has the typical characteristics of any small town or village, and is habituated by timeless characters who could be living anywhere in the world, there is something universally appealing in that; an innocence; a simplicity; a humane depiction of life as such.
The lives of the simple folks of Malgudi has been dealt in an uniquely engaging manner, with delightful humor. The highlight of the series was its specific as well as generic appeal. The characters come alive with their idiosyncrasies, their typicalities, their inconsistencies, and their warmth.
R. K. Narayan drew on his observance of human life to create the magic in his Malgudi tales. And in the transcreation for television it was as much an accomplishment.
I am thankful to Big Home Video who have compiled the entire series in an attractive DVD/VCD box-set for the connoisseurs, and I am thankful to my sister for gifting me the grand opportunity to revisit my favorite tele-series. I am sure that it would be lapped up by all the fans of the series, and would also open up a new vista of entertainment who haven't warmed up to the magic of Malgudi on television. I recall that some years back at Nandan, here, in Kolkata, there was a screening of the segment called 'Swamy & Friends' from the series and the show had an overwhelming response.
The entire series has now been given a new lease of life thanks to the video packaging. We can once again hum the amazing title track that had been composed by L. Vaidyanathan; till date it remains one of the best title scores ever! Sharang Dev was the other composer, he had scored the music for the segment 'Swamy and Friends'. Shot entirely near Agumbe in Shimoga district of Karnataka, the visuals were exceptionally rich in terms of their texturing, as far as as television productions are concerned. The sketches that graced the title cards were done by R. K. Laxman (acclaimed cartoonist, and the brother of the novelist R. K. Narayan). The cast includes Girish Karnad, Vaishali Kasaravalli, Ananth Nag and many other established actors, and has young Manju Nath essaying the role of Swamy.
The DVD pack consists of two DVDS whereas the VCD pack has eighteen discs. The tales that are featured are namely: Swamy and Friends, Vendor of Sweets, Sweets for Angels, Salt & Sawdust, The Antidote, Minister without Portfolio, The Snake Song, Dodu, Sidda, Mandir ka Budda, Chowkidar, Naga, Doctor's Word, Lawley Road, Muni, Dhakiya, Maha Kanjus, Hero, Annamalai, Engine ki Kahani, Iswaran, Govind Singh ki Bhent, 45 Rupaiya, Aaya, Rome ka Moorthy, The Performing Child, Career, Trail of the Green Blazer, Four Rupees, Neighbour's Help, Astrologer's Day, The Gold Belt, Nitya, and The Seventh House.