Golden Years of TV EXCLUSIVE: Ramayan star Arun Govil opens on shooting back then, working with Ramanand Sagar

Pinkvilla will take you down the memory lane with the most popular Ram till date, Arun Govil, as he EXCLUSIVELY speaks to us. As Ramayan is enjoying a rerun currently on DD, owing to the lockdown in the country in the view of Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Arun became nostalgic which you don't want to miss.
Golden Years of TV EXCLUSIVE: Ramayan star Arun Govil opens on shooting back then, working with Ramanand SagarGolden Years of TV EXCLUSIVE: Ramayan star Arun Govil opens on shooting back then, working with Ramanand Sagar
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When one thinks of India's most-read mythology, visuals of Ramanand Sagar's Ramayan blur our mind. The show which aired between 1987-88 on Doordarshan, and starred Arun Govil, Dara Singh, Dipika Chikhalia among others in the lead roles as Ram, Hanuman and Sita, is one of the most viewed shows of all times. Today, Pinkvilla will take you down the memory lane with the most popular Ram till date, Arun Govil, as he EXCLUSIVELY speaks to us. As the show is enjoying a rerun currently on DD, owing to the lockdown in the country in the view of Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Arun became nostalgic which you don't want to miss. Read below excerpts from the chat:

1. Ramayan is being re-telecast on DD currently. We saw a picture of you watching the show with your family. Does it bring back memories?

Absolutely. While I was watching Ramayan, many memories from the shoot came back. As someone who played one of the prime characters, I was walking down the memory lane at the same time while I was watching it.

Arun Govil and family watching Ramayan on Doordarshan

2. Do you recall what was it like to shoot then? Was it difficult? 

True. People still call me Ram, sometimes (laughs). Shooting then was very hard and difficult. The place where we used to shoot hardly had any facilities, only the basic amenities were there. That way, as far as the material is concerned, it was a hard task. There was no specific time for shooting. When we used to start shooting, we did not know when we would end. There was no concept of shifts then. Sagar Sahab used to love shooting at nights, so most of the time we would shoot overnight. We used to work together. He used to treat me like a family and I remember we would sit and work together and not worry about the time at all. As far as the technical aspect is concerned, if we compare it with today, there was hardly anything then. We started shooting Ramayan in low band; there was no HD, beta and digital, there was nothing. We started shooting with the camera which was used to shoot weddings then. There were no special effects or VFX we had then. We managed to still bring out good results with no facility as such. 

Also, there was no makeup room or anything. The shoot used to start when everyone would get ready and once we would start, we did not when we would pack. We have worked more than 24 hours also at stretch. Sagar would never look at the time; he would pack up only when he was satisfied. Today, we have rules, earlier it was only our passion to work that would drive us. 

3. People are really attached to this Ramayan series.

People were so attached to this Ramayan because I think everyone had their hearts in it. They did not just take this as a job. After this Ramayan, two more Ramayan were made by this family itself but it did not click. We sometimes say that our cast was especially blessed.

4. Do you remember any scene which you found very difficult to portray?

I remember there was a scene, actually a reaction, where I had to give a little thought before performing. Usually, I did not have to prepare so much but for a scene where Ram is in Vanvas (exile) and his brother Bharat comes to inform him that their father is no more. The reaction I had to give to this was a little challenging because Ram as a character is a god disguised as a human. Though he never showed himself as God, so to give a reaction to this and keep the character and his backstory in mind was a little difficult. I did not want to give away any loud reactions or body gestures which was not up to the mark. It couldn't have been too loud to imply 'arey yeh insaano jaise ro raha hai' but couldn't be too soft either. I remember I had taken a little time to get this scene right. 

5. Today, we have jewellery made of plastic for actors but back then things were different. Wasn't it?

All the armbands, the jewellery we used to wear were all made of metals. We used to suffer bruises all the time because it had sharp edges. We had to wear a lot of jewellery in heat because there were no AC floors then; we used to sweat too much. It was a difficult and funny situation then. We used to feel so uncomfortable in it, but we used to enjoy working and the result is what matters.

6. Do you see the medium evolve in the last few years?

Medium has evolved a lot technically and even content-wise it has evolved, now it is very different. Now, the content is very fictional. Nowadays, people feel that shows with good values don't work, who watches them anymore? Unless there is a villain, vamp, if we watch the satellite content today, in a frame if there are four women, three of them are likely to be vamps. This is the kind of content being pushed today. Content is not limited. There is no story, but the show goes on for years. I think the shows should have a limited life. Web series, at least, have limited episodes. 

Writer's Note: The television industry in India has evolved tremendously over the last 3 decades. Termed as an idiot box, television viewing showed growth and drastic change with GEC channels coming to the foreground. Times before saas-bahu sagas set a successful precedent, in the 80s and 90s, stalwarts of cinema, the best filmmakers, writers had taken to TV to share their stories which were relevant, relatable and not driven by TRPs. In this world of competition, we still think of the golden period of television which was ruled by appointment viewing. Pinkvilla, in this new weekly post, will be bringing back memories of old classics.

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Comments

Love you Ram

Dedication and hardwork brings success not technology.

Nostalgic and overwhelming

Nostalgic and overwhelming

A masterpiece in which small time actors were given such pivotal roles. Watched it as a child and now watching again with my daughter!

Love you Siya-RAM

Arun ji when ever I see the ramayan and your role I really again and again cry and remember those where the days when I was 6 year old.

Every character was so indulged in their roles as if we are seeing real RAMAYAN , that might have happened in treta yug....
I am happy that my kids also loves the show and watch it regularly...

jai shree ram. I salute the efforts of arun Govil in ramayan.

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