Did Ramayan become the most viewed TV show after Game of Thrones?
The lockdown is making us miss the good old days and have more appreciation for them than we did before. Many TV shows are making a comeback on public demand and hitting us with a whole new wave of nostalgia including Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan.
This Doordarshan’s version of the classic had gained immense popularity among the viewers back in 1987, but its return on screen in 2020 has taken its viewership to another level.
- Ramayan’s episode becomes the most viewed in the world
- Doordarshan’s Ramayan breaks Game of Throne’s record
- Ram and Sita’s tale from 1987 is a hit
It could be because we are going through tense times and can use a ‘blast from the past’ kind of entertainment if we are done surfing through streaming giants like Netflix and Prime. The team was more than happy to oblige and bring the cult classic back to our television screens in very little time.
On April 30, Doordarshan announced that it became the most-watched entertainment show in the world with 7.7 crore viewers.
But did it beat Game of Throne’s viewership record? The Business Insider reported that “Ramayan had nearly 6 times viewers than HBO’s most-watched episode – the finale of Game of Thrones. According to Nielsen data, an estimated 1.36 crore viewers watched the last episode of GOT.
Moreover, this isn’t the first time Ramayan made a world record. From 1987 to 1988, Ramayan became the most-watched serial in the world. Till June 2003, it remained recorded in the Limca Book of Records as “the most-watched mythological serial in the world”.
However, Doordarshan Ramayan’s world viewership record was challenged by many sources
After Doordarshan proudly shared the news on Twitter, many credible media sources spread the news in their respective platforms. However, many sources also challenged its world record of largest viewership, claiming that while it had taken over GOT’s records, the classic American series M*A*S*H had more viewers.
A report by Livmint stated that “The final episode of the classic American series M*A*S*H (“Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”), on 28 February 1983, notched up nearly 106 million viewers. This is considerably more than the 16 April episode of Ramayan.
Ramayan is a rerun: a 1987-88 series by Ramanand Sagar, made at a time when Doordarshan was the only option for Indian TV viewers. It’s possible that somewhere in its initial run – when the telecasts would bring the nation to a standstill and around 100 million viewers were said to watch each episode – it came close to, or maybe even crossed, M*A*S*H’s record.”
But according to Republic World, the I&B ministry sources support the claim that Ramayan has set a global record. The news website reported that “…more than 102 million people tuned into the highest viewed episode of Ramayan from within the TV ratings universe. Additionally, they disclosed that several million more tuned in from outside the TV ratings universe through mobile TV services that stream DD Channels, such as JioTV, MXplayer, etc.”
Factors that led to the success of this cult classic
Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan was successful then, and it is successful now. But what makes this iconic Indian show so special that people can’t stop raving about it? Let’s explore how.
At a time when television was a part of very few homes, Doordarshan’s Ramayan was still beyond successful in grabbing the attention of millions of people back in 1987. Every Sunday, viewers would gather together at the home of whoever owned a television set and watch every episode with complete attention. The show still holds the same timeless appeal even now albeit different circumstances as it’s being viewed during the nationwide lockdown.
From engaging narrative to powerhouse performances, Doordarshan’s Ramayan had a lot to offer. For the older generation, it was the nostalgic factor, while for the youngsters, it grabbed their attention because of its immense popularity from a time before they were even born.
Despite the poor quality of the show from a different time, viewers from across different age groups were quick to delve into it.
As they say, old is gold indeed.