Today, I am going to revisit the charm of 20 Old Doordarshan new readers and anchors, who ruled the hearts of billions of Indians with their charm, presentation and distinctive style. In the days of 24 hours non-stop private new channels, it is really a nice experience to remember the good old days of Doordarshan. Now it has been more than one and half decade, but still I cannot forget the wonderful Doordarshan news readers and anchors who used to enlighten our minds with the current affairs and latest updates in the ephemeral eighties and nineties when TV meant one single channel called Doordarshan.
Salma Sultan worked as an anchor in Doordarshan for 30 years from 1967 till 1997. She was famous for her signature rose tucked under her left ear in her hair,and draping the border of her sari around her neck in a unique style. And you know, what was the reason? She later disclosed the reason; "I did not have so many blouses to match with each sari so I created a style to hide them." All the lady newsreaders used to wear only sari and nothing else; forget business suits and skirts, even salwar suit was ruled out.
After her retirement, Salma Sultan moved to directing serials on social topics for Doordarshan under her production house Lensview Private Limited. Her popular serials were Panchtantra Se, Suno Kahani, Swar Mere Tumhare and Jalte Sawal.
Salma Sultan gave the first news of assassination of Indira Gandhi on Doordarshan’s evening news on 31 October 1984,more than 10 hours after she was shot.
Ramu Damodaran never looked at the script even before the tele-prompter came into news studios. He was the son of diplomat A.K. Damodaran. Later he left the new reading job and became private secretary to Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. He also served in the Indian diplomatic missions in Moscow and at the United Nations.
Tejeshwar Singh was a famous English newsreader during 80s and early 90s. He had a statesque appeal, known best for his well kept beard and deep baritone voice
Prannay Roy started his career with televised coverage of India’s general elections On Doordarshan, he hosted news programs "The News Tonight" and "The World This Week" (which were nominated as one of India’s 5 best television programs since independence. Later he started India’s first 24-hour English news channel NDTV 24×7.
Githanjali Iyer was an elegant and erudite yesteryear Doordarshan newsreader.
Rini Simon Khanna was handpicked from Radio to anchor the National news on Delhi Doordarshan in 1985, co-anchoring news with Tejeshwar Singh. In addition to presenting news, Rini was an experienced Voice talent, rendering commentary and voiceovers for documentaries, advertisement films and feature-films. She also played the role of anchor in many international and national conferences, cultural shows and seminars for prestigious organizations, UN agencies, corporate groups and Government agencies.
Neethi Ravindran used to grace our screens with poise and her crisp voice every night during 1980s and 1990s. After golden Doordarshan days, she has been keeping busy as a voiceover artist, making documentaries, short films and anchoring special programs. It was her voice that led us through the death of Mother Teresa in 1997 and she was the brainchild behind award-winning documentary Fifty Years of India’s Independence, made for the Ministry of External Affairs through the United News of India.
Usha Albuquerque entered into media and journalism, appearing as the English newsreader for Doordarshan, and writing for several magazines. Soon she was producing, and sometimes anchoring, television news features, quizzes, talk shows, and documentaries for corporate houses, the Air Force, Ministry of External Affairs and international organizations, such as the World Bank and Portuguese and Brazilian TV.
Shammi Narang was selected from among 100,000 candidates into Doordarshan and became the ‘face of Doordarshan news reading’ and Indian Television during the 1970s – 80s. He was a master or high quality voice and unique style. Even today, he is a very popular and successful voice artist. All Hindi in-train and in-station voice messages and announcements of the Delhi Metro, Rapid MetroRail Gurgaon, Mumbai Metro, Bangalore Metro and the upcoming Hyderabad Metro Rail and Jaipur Metro are also recorded in his voice.
Manjari Joshi is another evergreen faces of yesteryears’ Doordarshan.
Komal GB Singh was in limelight for ten years and became a household name due to her news reading.
Minu Talwar had a long association, almost 35 years, with Doordarshan, as a newsreader and anchor.
Sunit Tandon was associated with Doordarshan until 2007.
Avinash Kaur Sarin started her career as a presenter on Door Darshan, India, subsequently was promoted to be main newscaster on Doordarshan. She was one of the very few lady newsreaders who would always sport a smile when greeting users. She would never keep her hair open and used to tie them together in a juda. And she had this characteristically large Bindi always on.
Sarla Maheshwari, the lady with the most grace. She had striking features and dressed with utter simplicity devoid of almost any jewellary. She had this small mole that only enhanced her appleal as a charming face that would command everybody’s attention. She looked pretty expressionless most of the times but an occassional smile of hers was quite infectious.
Ved Prakash was also a well known Newsreader and voice artist associated with Doordarshan, Chief Editor of ‘Student Today’, author of over 100 articles with leading Newspapers and Magazines.
Shobhana Jagdish joined DD quite late but quickly became a popular newsreader because of her absolutely magical voice. She would come neatly dressed in starched sarees, with a small bindi always adorning her forehead.
Kaveri Mukherjee, another elegant and erudite Doordarshan newsreader.
Vinod Dua has been the face of Indian television since 1974. He has seen and been associated with Indian television’s transition from a government controlled, black and white, single-channel entity to the present-day multi-channel transnational satellite T.V.industry.
Narottam Puri was the face of sports on Doordarshan for almost 3 decades. His sports quiz on TV during the 1970s and 1980s was a much watched show. His Cricket commentary was well recognised the world over. He is also an acclaimed ENT specialist.