DEORIA – UTTAR PRADESH – INDIA SEPTEMBER 19, 2014 11.45 P. M.
It is sad that news of the demise of J. V. Raman reached me late. For numerous television watchers of this generation, the name J. V. Raman does not carry any familiarity. But for generation of my age, he was a household name. Unlike the cacophony and know-all news anchors of today, JV Raman was one of the sober voices in the news industry.
He died of kidney failure on August 7, 2014 at Sant Parmanand Hospital in Civil Lines, New Delhi. He was 68. Prayer meeting was held on August 19 at the Freemasons Hall, down a small bylane of Janpath market. Among those who attended were his family members, friends and colleagues from DD as well as Rajdhani College, Delhi University, where he taught Economics for over 44 years.
Raman started his TV career after a friend advised him to go for an audition that fetched him a place in DD as an English news reader. Soon, he switched to Hindi news reading, and continued the freelance assignment until the late 90s. His impeccable diction never betrayed the fact that he was from Andhra Pradesh.
Shammi Narang, who read news with him for about 20 years or so, remembers Raman as a guide and mentor. “When I read my first bulletin in 1982, he said, ‘Narang, you should be thankful that you are associated with Hindi.
A thorough professional, he would often work with his producers to improvise on the script and style. Sarla Maheshwari, a colleague and news reader, who remembers watching Raman’s bulletins as a child, found an understanding friend in him when she started working with DD. She recalls how Raman volunteered to fill up for her for one of her bulletins as Maheshwari was away for her father-in-law’s operation.
Ved Prakash, another news reader who still freelances with DD, was often told that he copied Raman’s style. “He was my guru, so I followed him,” says Prakash, “An era of TV news has ended with his demise.”
But news reading was not Raman’s only passion. He was involved with a theatre group Abhiyan until last year.
A bachelor, Raman lived in a joint family in Delhi. During his last days, his sister JV Lakshmi Kalyani was with him.
At a time when viewers couldn’t switch channels because there was only one, when the infuriating ” ……..Rookawat ke liye khed hai …….” was the most common one-liner on the small screen and when streets were deserted on Sunday because everybody was watching the evening movie, he read out news on Doordarshan.
He was from the older, less aggressive breed; much like family friend who dropped by for a fireside chat every night. When he read out news, it was like he was shaking hands with you.
Apart from J. V. Raman, Tejeshwar Singh, Salma Sultan, Neethi Ravindran, Shammi Narang, Manjari Joshi, Rini Khanna, Komal GB Singh, Usha Albuquerque, Ramu Damodaran, Sunit Tandon, Gitanjali Aiyar, Minu were the other famous news readers of that bygone golden era. Every newsreader had a distinctive style. You could close your eyes and make out who was reading the news.
In those days, in Spoken English classes, students would be instructed to listen, and if possible record on tape, the English news read out by Tejeshwar Singh, Neethi Ravindran and others. “Listen to their diction. Try to speak the same way,” teachers said. Students obeyed.
The pay packet wasn’t much. But DD news readers were among the most recognisable faces in the country.
In the early Nineties, with the onset of satellite television, Doordarshan lost its exclusivity. With competition, it was time to evolve. By the late Nineties, the news readers were required to upgrade themselves as news anchors. Their new job profile required them to be on the ball with national and international politics. “Not everybody was able to adapt. Consequently, some fell through the cracks. Others had by then developed new pursuits.
In the early 1970s, news readers had as many followers as their counterparts now. Perhaps more, as the uncluttered news screens — without the persistent ticker — had more space for news anchors. J. V. Raman belonged to that era. That era ends with his demise.
On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise, I offer my heartfelt condolences to the family of J. V. Raman.
May God bless them with peace and give them strength to bear the loss.
[ Some portions of this blog is taken from THE DOORDARSHAN DIVAS – The Times of India – January 06, 2008 by Avijit Ghosh & A TRIBUTE TO DOORDARSHAN’S J. V. RAMAN – Indian Express – August 20, 2014. I express my gratitude. ]
MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA
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