Doordarshan, India’s public service broadcaster, made its debut in New Delhi on September 15, 1959, as part of Prasar Bharti, the country’s public service broadcasting organization. It began as an experimental telecast with a small transmitter and makeshift studio but soon evolved into one of India’s largest broadcasting entities.
In 1965, Doordarshan started its regular daily transmissions as an extension of All India Radio. The television service expanded to Mumbai and Amritsar in 1972 and to seven other states in 1975. The channel’s signature tune and logo have held a special place in the hearts of its viewers since its inception. However, this iconic symbol is now set to retire, making way for a new logo that will resonate with a younger audience.
Origins of this iconic logo
To understand the origins of this iconic logo, we need to go back to its inception.
Devashis Bhattacharyya, an alumnus of the National Institute of Design (NID), is the creative mind behind the beloved ‘DD eye’ logo. He and eight of his fellow students at NID were working on a government project in Ahmedabad when Doordarshan transitioned from being a subset of All India Radio (AIR). Bhattacharyya designed the logo with two curves representing the concept of ‘yin and yang.’ His design was one of 14 submissions to his teacher, Vikas Satwalekar, who then presented it to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. She selected Bhattacharyya’s design over others.
Although the logo underwent upgrades in the 1980s and 1990s, NID students were once again entrusted with its redesign. Another NID alumnus, RL Mistry, worked on the animation for the original symbol. He created copies and filmed them under a camera, rotating them until they formed the final ‘DD eye’ logo. According to Vikas Satwalekar, the design wasn’t necessarily intended to represent an eye. Instead, it symbolized the interplay of information transmission, reflecting the essence of a news channel.
Pandit Ravi Shankar, with Ustad Ali Ahmed Hussain Khan, composed the distinctive Doordarshan tune, which was first broadcast on April 1, 1976. This marked a significant milestone as the channel expanded its reach beyond the initial seven Indian cities, making it accessible to a wider audience.