Jai Shri Ram: Doordarshan Ramayana Creates World Record For The Most-Watched TV Show

Doordarshan Ramayana
Image: Indiatimes

The Mythological epic TV show – ‘Ramayana’ – that is being re-aired on television on popular demand during the nationwide lockdown has become the world’s most-watched with a viewership of 7.7 crores on the 16th of April.

The information and broadcasting minister of India, Prakash Javadekar had announced that the popular television series Ramayana will begin its rerun on Doordarshan from 28th March 2020. This is on public demand, the minister said.

Touted as the first popular mythological epic on Indian television, Ramayana was first aired in the year 1987. It is largely based on Valmiki’s Ramayana and Tulsidas’ Ramcharitmanas. It was first aired on Doordarshan, the only channel back then. In the 1990’s it was aired on Zee TV, in the early 2000s, Star Plus and Star Utsav aired it and as recent as 2008, NDTV aired it too.

Ramayana Creates World Record
Image: Ramayana

When it came out first, it broke the Indian viewership record. Broadcasted in 55 countries and a total viewership of 650 million-plus, it is by far the most-watched Indian television series. It holds the Limca Book of World Record of being the most-watched religious show.

The Show was a rage when it came out

There were reports that while the series aired, the roads were deserted, the shops were closed and people would flock the neighborhood who had television sets. In villages, hundreds of people gathered around a single television set to catch a glimpse of the series. A popular legend says that even government meetings were postponed as the entire cabinet failed to attend because of the series. The popularity and the impact of the show were such that the actors who played titular roles continued to live under the shadow of the characters as people refused to see them in another character. The actors, even today, are identified by the roles they had played in the show 30 years back.