Country Roads

Director Saeed Akhtar Mirza returns to Doordarshan, this time with a travel show featuring the interiors of India

More than two decades ago, Saeed Akhtar Mirza and Kundan Shah got together to make a show for Doordarshan, which dealt with the struggles of urban youth trying to make a living in an increasingly harsh socio-economic climate. The show was Nukkad. Here, the characters met at the local street corner every evening and shared their life stories and sometimes started some new ones too.

The 69-year-old Mirza is now back this time without his friend and co-director Shah on the same channel directing a show which will highlight the lives of people living in rural India. Titled Yeh Hai India Meri Jaan, Mirza's comeback is a travelogue in a docu-drama mould.

It is a story of an urban girl, played by Madhvi Singh who sets off on a tour of interior India covering several states such as Rajasthan, Gujarat, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. "Long ago, I met a girl who was worldly-wise, but knew very little about the actual India, though she claimed she did. Her thoughts were so interesting that it prompted me to think. I then decided to put down the basic premise, find a girl and then take her around India, shoot her on real locales and develop the story along the way," says Mirza.

The show is suppose to be a 26-episode one, but Mirza, who is still shooting, believes that it could finally be longer.

Mirza, who has directed films such as Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai (1980), Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro (1989) and Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho! (1984), is known for his realistic portrayal of people from the urban middle class, and of the impact of communalism on society.

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