Doordarshan, India’s Public Service broadcaster, was launched in New Delhi on 15th September 1959, making it a significant day in the history of modern Indian media.
Beginning with an experimental telecast with a small transmitter in a makeshift studio, Doordarshan had a modest launch as a part of Prasar Bharti (the public service broadcaster of India). Beginning with a 5-minute news bulletin, the channel had a quick climb and went on to add programmes like the iconic Krishi Darshan, which is the longest-running program on Indian television.
Anyone who has grown up in the 70s, 80s and 90s will remember the happy feeling of switching on the TV set and settling down in front of it. With its signature music and swirling logo of a spinning eye which finally stabilised into a unique symbol, Doordarshan brought the world into our living rooms.
Well, the iconic Doordarshan logo, which was designed by Devashish Bhattacharya, an alumnus of NID, might soon be retired and be replaced with something which is more contemporary. So, in a quick trip down memory lane, here’s presenting 8 interesting facts about the Doordarshan logo, and the man who created it.
1. Bhattacharyya, along with eight of his friends at NID were roped in for this project after Doordarshan moved out of being a subset of its parent company, the All India Radio (AIR) and decided that it wanted its own symbol which would be a visual rendering of its independent identity.
2. According to this report in the Hindustan Times, Bhattacharyya scribbled a human eye, drew two curves around it, depicting, “the yin and the yang,” and submitted his work to his teacher Vikas Satwalekar.
3. Around 14 designs—submitted by eight students and six faculty members of NID— Bhattacharyya’s design was picked by PM Indira Gandhi.
4. The animation for the symbol was done by RL Mistry, another National Institute of Design student. He made copies of Bhattacharyya’s sketches and shot them with a camera. He would rotate the images till they reached the final form, also known as the popular ‘DD Eye.’
5. The accompanying theme music with the logo was composed by Pandit Ravi Shankar, along with Ustad Ali Ahmed Hussain Khan. The tune and the symbol first appeared on television screens on 1st April 1976.
6. The only changes the symbol had was an upgrade during the late 80s and 90s when new channels such as DD News, DD Sports, and region-specific channels cropped up. Interestingly, for DD Sports, the visual was an athlete throwing a discus, that turns into the actual Doordarshan symbol.
7. Since a symbol has many different meanings in various cultures, Bhattacharyya had to ensure the design of the Doordarshan logo did not cause confusion. Speaking to Firstpost, he said that the symbol had to mean the same thing all over the nation and had to be simple. Additionally, the logo also had to prepare the audience for an experience before it happened.
8. The tagline, “Satyam Shivam Sundaram” that initially accompanied the logo had to do with a directive from Doordarshan. It was eventually removed.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)