Surabhi has been one of the defining programmes of Indian television. When it began in 1991 one had no idea that it would become a landmark programme, running for eleven years on Doordarshan at primetime. Perhaps Surabhi awoke something in each one of us as Indians — a sense of pride, a sense of wonder, a sense of community — all mixed together in a format that was simple, enjoyable and easily understood. Ferhaps it had something to do with Renuka Shahane’s friendly smile, which became a household trademark! Perhaps it had something to do with the slick and entertaining presentation of the programme, which was quite unexpected in a knowledge-based show. Perhaps it had something to do with the credibility of the scripting and the anchoring. But most of all, it had something to do with the amazing revelations about India, its history its people, its culture, music, dance, theatre, arts and crafts, folk wisdom and philosophy. The ‘Sawal Jawab’ section of Surahhi created history and entered the Limca Book of Records as the only programme to receive the highest ever documented response in the history of Indian television — over 1.4 million letters in a single week — more than the response of an entire channel in a week! And interestingly, the response was to a short quiz on the state of Maharashtra!
Surabhi’s questions weaved a rich tapestry of knowledge, information, wonder and pride, as an entire generation became acquainted with its own culture and ethos. This book brings to the reader a collection of 100 questions and an elaborate answer from the Surabhi television show to recreate the enjoyment 0f learning. Each question is illustrated with lavish four colour photographs. Here’s wishing the reader an enjoyable time, quizzing wondering and learning, the way millions of Indians did when Surabhi was on air!
Siddharth Kak, producer and presenter of Surabhi, a landmark programme, which ran on Doordarshan for a record eleven years, is currently chairperson and producer/presenter of Cinema Vision India, an independent company producing non-fiction and corporate films and audi-visuals since 1980. Siddharth Kak is also well known as a television and film actor. He has regular Food columns in the Bombay Times, The Times’ of India the Indian Express, and currently writes for Page 8 Tabloid, a, weekly newspaper. He was publisher and managing editor of Cinema Vision India, lndia’s first professional cinema quarterly. He has also written a volume of verse Looking is. Louisa Out published by Writers Workshop.
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