Between the narratives of ordinary Indians in Hum Log and Buniyaad and the slick Western imports Knight Rider and Street Hawk, someone in Mandi House came up with the idea of adapting literary works into crisp episodic shows for Doordarshan. And the result was fantastic.Doordarshan’s favourite storytellers of the time, including Shyam Benegal (who had already won us over with Yatra) and Basu Chatterjee (a celebrated storyteller of middle-class lives who would give us the decade-defining Rajani), mined a rich treasure trove of short stories from India and around the world in Katha Sagar, Ek Kahaani and Darpan in the mid-1980s. Katha Sagar took us around the world in 37 stories over 44 episodes. The stories included O Henry’s The Last Leaf, Squaring the Circle and Service of Love and Guy de Maupassant’s The Inn and The Adopted Son. The master writers became household names alongside Chutki and Karamchand. Each episode was helmed by different directors and bore their distinctive style. Anil Ganguly’s was a homegrown take on August Strindberg’s Love and Bread in Roti aur Pyaar, starring Ashok Kumar and Kitu Gidwani.
‘Roti aur Pyaar’.
‘Teesri Aankh’ from ‘Ek Kahaani’