A look back at our Constitution: Shyam Benegal’s ‘Samvidhaan’

The Indian Constitution is the largest written constitutional document in the world. It took two and half years to frame it completely. Having born way after Independence,  the Youth of this country can only imagine what could have happened during the meetings of the Constituent Assembly or read in the history books about it.

I was watching the History TV 18 Channel on TV and wondered why couldn’t we in India make some show which enlightens the youth about the rich heritage and struggles for freedom of this nation, which seems to have thrown in the dustbin, as India grows younger.

Then one day while watching the Speech of our PM (then PM designate) Sh. Narendra Modiji on Rajya Sabha TV , I watched the 2nd episode of the mini TV series by Shyam Benegal on India’s Constitution, titled as ‘Samvidhaan’ which is the Hindi translation of the word ‘Constitution’.

The TV series features the series of events which took place during the formulation and enactment of the Constitution of the largest democracy of the world.

The script has been written brilliantly taking care of the use of words by the people in the coveted assembly according to their region of origin.

Shyam Benegal’s experience and artistry is reflected in the way he has chosen and directed actors for their respective roles. You would sometime feel that you were watching a documentary and not a mere enactment. For example, Rajendra Gupta as President Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Dilip Tahlani as Pt. Nehru, Paresh Ganatra as K. T . Shah,Ila Arun as Hansa Mehta, and others look perfect in their respective roles, be it their make up, dialogue delivery or accent.

Cast and crew of Samvidhaan

Swara Bhaskar’s anchoring adds to the attractiveness of this story styled narrative of the making of the constitution of India. The article by article discussion, the politics of the country at that time, the social and communal issues which were raised during the discussion, the separation of Pakistan and Gandhi-Jinnah relations have been portrayed beautifully. Although some might argue about the story line but Benegal and his team has taken care of each and every short story they encapsulated in the series. All the dialogues have been created from recorded facts and speeches and accounts from the biographies of various leaders.

The first show aired on 2nd March 2014, Sunday when the nation was hearing the opening bell of the 2014 general elections and in these extravagant elections this fantastic piece of creation went unnoticed.

President of India felicitated the actors in a ceremony on 20th February which was coincidentally the penultimate day of the 15th Lok Sabha.

The series couldn’t be shot in the Central Hall of Parliament as it would have to be re shaped, so a replica of the Central Hall (as it would have looked in that era) was created in the Film Studio at Mumbai and the series was shot there.

I urge people from all walks of life to watch this TV series at least once and I am sure you would be proud of our Constitution and its rich history.

These episodes are now available on RajyaSabha TV’s YouTube channel.

Here are all the 10 episodes of the series.

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