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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

'Malgudi Days' - Revisiting My Favorite Serial

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.


Siddhu said...

Watching 'Malgudi Days' on a Saturday morning re-run on the National Channel, for me, feels like a visit to the good old times. It is actually a visit down memory lane for my parents, I know. And, when they tell me how much they loved the series when it first aired, I can see why.... in those days of course Doordarshan had no one to compete with, but this very television series was all about uncompromising quality, and that's why it is treasured.

Dibyendu Paul said...

Its all About the reminiscing the innocent days which so pure that we can connect to it promptly.down the pages of our old sweet days, its so original, a series of portraits deep into our conscience, intensely cherished for eternity..

No doubt about the cinematography, it directly connects to the viewers.. Kudos to all related to 'Malgudi Days' .. :)

Arunima said...

'Malgudi days' brings back one very prominent memory to me..your absolute joy in watching the same :-). I was quite young when it was first aired on tv and have missed all the re-runs too..but something from that nostalgia I have never forgotten. May be the sheer innocence or the simplicity that was so palpable, has stayed on in my mind...somehow, somewhere it brings to me the same emotions a Ruskin Bond story brings.

Anindo Sen said...

Thank you Siddhu, Dibyendu, and Arunima, for your comments. MALGUDI DAYS indeed is close to my heart. The television series has too many personal associations for me and, writing about it, was a walk down memory lane as the very process of watching the series on home-video and writing about it has unleashed the memories and made me cherish the nostalgia.

Anirban Halder said...

Though I haven't watched 'Malgudi Days', I have read about it earlier and can feel the nostalgia attached with this treasured series through this well-written post. It is indeed great to know for all 'Malgudi Days' lovers that it has been brought back in a collectible form by Big Home Video.

Abhijit Sengupta said...

Though I was too young when 'Malgudi Days' was first aired on Doordarshan, but I managed to catch the re-run of this absolutely lovable series years later on Sony. I still remember those Sunday mornings when I used to come back from my art-class and sat in front of the TV for my weekly dose of R K Narayan. Ah, those were the days! Even today whenever I feel low, I grab the book and transport myself to the world of Swami and Malgudi. Talking about the technical aspect, 'Malgudi Days' was an excellently well-crafted product. Since Big Videos has taken this wonderful initiative, I can't wait to bring home a copy of Malgudi.

Thanks Anindo for reminding me of those mesmerising days of my life.

Sayantan said...

it was my favourite too......

tanana tana nana na
tanana tana nana na.....