Family time in 70’s, 80’s and 90’s use to start with AIR or Doordarshan! The characteristic tune and the rotating elliptical logo ensured everyone lined before their wooden black and white TV boxes to watch Rangoli, Mahabharata or News! But do you know what the Doordarshan logo stand for?
Doordarshan’s logo is inspired by the cosmic theory of Yin and Yang! The channel, India’s first television public service broadcaster was launched in New Delhi on Sep. 15, 1959 in association with Prasar Bharati.
Well, the truth is that what started as an experimental telecast with the help of a small transmitter and a makeshift studio later became one of India’s largest broadcasting organisations.
It was in the 1970’s when eight graphic design students of National Institute of Design (NID) took on a government project in Ahmedabad. This was the project that made the iconic Doordarshan logo that further on took the channel to new heights.
The design was created by NID and selected by PM Indira Gandhi!
One of those design students was Debashish Bhattacharya, who initiated the design by scribbling a human eye. Then he drew two curves around it, depicting, as he told Hindustan Times, “the yin and the yang”. Of the 14 designs submitted by the eight students and six faculty members – Prime Minister Indira Gandhi picked his.
The signature tune with the logo was composed by Pt. Ravi Shankar!
During the creation of the logo, the DD signature tune was already composed by Pandit Ravi Shankar, with Ustad Ali Ahmed Hussain Khan and the whole package of the logo and the tune appeared for the time on television sets on April 1, 1976. Bhattacharyya with this achievement was happy to have made the symbol for a communication system that “shook the country.”
RL Mistry, the animator of the DD symbol, working with the Oxberry camera.
The channel which was available only in seven Indian cities up till 1975, now opened up to a wider audience.
“You can’t make a Brogue and say it’s for villagers,” says Bhattacharyya. He further adds “A symbol means different things in different cultures and India has a wide variety of cultures. So the DD symbol had to be such that, reduced to its simplest elements, it would not have idiosyncrasies of meaning. An eye means the same thing to the south as to the north-east. The symbol also had to prepare the audience for an experience before it had arrived.”
Should this brilliant and dynamic signature tune go or should both the tune and the logo be replaced is a big question. With that, the designer who will create the new logo has very big shoes to fill.