Chitrahar is the longest-running Hindi film songs program in TV history
We all are familiar with the word “Chitrahar”. In fact, it is not just a word it calls for a memory which we use to live in our childhood. Yes!!! We are talking about our much-known show Chitrahar which debuted on Doordarshan in 1982. It is one of the popular TV series which telecasted popular songs from Hindi films. The best thing is that it included songs from new and old films. The show was popular among the audience and had become an inseparable part of people’s life that without its Sunday day it was not realized.
Actually, the Chitrahaar literally means “a garland of pictures” but if we say “a garland of songs” that it would not be wrong. It is a television program on DD National featuring song clips from Bollywood films that aired for half an hour every Wednesday in prime-time. Chitrahaar first aired in 1982 and was widely watched in the 1980s and 1990s. During that time the show was famous not only in India but outside India as well, especially in places like the Middle East or the United States, which had a large number of people of Indian origin. The first flash of the show began with every veteran singer photographs like Lata, Asha, Mukesh, Kishore, Manna Dey, Geeta Dutt, etc., which were later updated with new versions.
It was the year 2010 when Chitrahaar started using the same language subtitling (SLS), where Hindi subtitles of the song’s lyrics scroll across the screen. This became the best thing for song lovers to sing along the song reading the lyrics. Another idea behind doing this was an engaging way to promote literacy, especially in villages. This initiative of Doordarshan has been technically supported by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Before the show used to come on every Friday. It was for half an hour which people would watch enthusiastically every Friday. But later, the program schedule was changed to every Wednesday at 8 pm. It had a mix of both old classic songs as well as the latest from Bollywood.
One of the amazing things that are related to this nostalgic show is the Chitrahaar lottery. You can ask this to the residents of Darjeeling. A local entrepreneur literally cash in on the popularity of the television program. Come Wednesday, and lottery wallahs fan out selling slips of paper to star-struck viewers of Chitrahaar, The slips have the names of filmstars written on them. If the program happens to feature a film star named on a slip, the bearer wins twice the amount he paid for the ticket. If not, obviously the money spent is lost forever.
No doubt it was great fun and Monopoly when Doordarshan used to broadcast Chitrahaar twice a week at 8pm on Wednesdays and Fridays.