Image: courtesy Hindustan Times
The 50th anniversary of the inception of terrestrial television in India provided the occasion for one of Doordarshan’s most famous faces, Salma Sultan, to enter the studios of the satellite whipper-snappers.
Talking to Barkha Dutt on NDTV 24×7, Ms Sultan recounted the harrowing experience of having to read from the teleprompter and the challenge of having to correct the script even while reading from it.
“Once the prompter was supposed to read: Purane zamane mein auraton ko band kar rakhthe the (in the olden days, the women used to be held in purdah).
“But some letters were transposed and there was a spelling mistake. The prompter read: Purane zamane mein auraton ko bandar khathe the (in the olden days, monkeys used to eat up women).
“We had to correct and edit ourselves on our fly. But there was great energy and bonding, and I cherish those memories even today.”
Photograph: courtesy The Hindu
Doordarshan, the State-owned television channel in India, is reporting the death of Pratima Puri, the channel’s first news reader, when it went on air in 1959.
Born Vidya Rawat, Puri belonged to a Gorkha family settled at Laal Paani in Simla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh, according to a report in The Tribune earlier this year.
She worked at the All India Radio (AIR) station in Simla before being transferred to New Delhi when AIR telecast its first television news bulletin on September 15, 1959, from a makeshift studio in the capital.
“Good-looking and good-voiced (sic) Pratima was selected as an announcer, maybe a newsreader, but was definitely the first face on the small screen in India,” the Tribune report said.