History documentaries in Indian Televisions


The 24X7 high decibel Indian English channels may not get much credit in infotainment, where really they can do something.

Documentaries – that too on history is a rare thing in India. Most Indians don’t subscribe to the idea of idea of documentaries is a myth. Discovery channel, History Channel and National Geography busted this myth.

But getting into the heart of India’s politics or literature was not really done in the past very successfully. Few of the films division archives can be exemption. Doordarshan might tried to achieve something in the past.

BBC’s documentaries on India about the last viceroy, Sikh riots, Partition and the popular story of India did not get much deeper into India’s fullest history after independence. Indian literature based documentaries are very less.

I am not sure, is there any documentary on the journey of Ram to Sri Lanka.

But I think, the ice broke – when ABP News came up with Pradhan Mantri – a detailed series on the Indian prime ministers since independence. I became fan of the series.

Still, I was looking for a good documentary on India’s history based documentary travelling over Indian literature – not like enacting Discovery of India.

Today, the Ice broke when one of my friend from south India, introduced a documentary series based on greatest  Chola king of all times – Raja Raja cholan.

The documentary is part of weekly series called ‘Yatreegan’ (Traveler). The documentary takes ‘Ponniyin selvan (son of Liquid gold)’   (a novel by Tamil writer Kalki ) as reference book and travels over it.

‘Ponniyin selvan’ is similar to Ramayan but more on politics. Ponniyin selvan is an epic of the victory of secular Indian king over Buddhist Sri Lanka. Ponniyin Selvan doesn’t have appeal like Ramayan for the reason it is not religious and more based on facts and not on mythology.

Raja Raja Cholan

Ponniyin Selvan starts near to present day Madras (Chennai) and travels to the island Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka was under Chola rule for centuries.

The documentary was okay. Not much dramatized due to the grandeur of the novel and the expense it can incur. Dramatizing the history was plus for the documentaries like Pradhan mantri and Last days of Raj.

Yatreegan of Thanti TV has tried its best. I think, the series should be available with English sub-titles for all.

Appreciate ABP News and Thanti TV.

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  • Partha Sadhukhan

    Good information. Do you work for TV..