The way Alif Laila came to BTV


In the nineties, the Indian TV serial ‘Alif Laila’ was made in Hindi based on the story of Arabian Nights; Later, when it was dubbed in Bengali and started broadcasting on Bangladesh Television, it created a stir among the viewers.

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In that decade, ‘Alif Laila’ rose to prominence, surpassing all foreign TV serials aired on BTV; Every Friday at 8 pm, after the Bangla news, the viewers would wait anxiously in front of the TV set.

Anand Sagar, Prem Sagar and Moti Sagar produced the serial under the banner of Indian production company Sagar Entertainment Limited.

In 1993, the three-hundred-episode series was aired in Hindi on the Indian channel Doordarshan National; In the meantime, the production company had offered to broadcast it on BTV.

Nawazish Ali Khan, who was in charge of BTV’s show at the time, told bdnews24.com that the Indian production company had dubbed the serial in Bengali and sent it to BTV; Seeing that, it was decided to campaign.

“After watching a few episodes, we realized that they had dubbed in Bengali very accurately. Seeing that, we became interested in preaching. ”

The campaign was started with the permission of the Ministry of Information; The dubbed serial from India was shown in unaltered condition. According to the agreement, the production company had to pay a certain amount to BTV through the Ministry of Finance.

Prior to that, eighty English serials were aired on BTV in ‘original language’; Nawazish Ali Khan said that Alif Layla paved the way for the promotion of foreign serials in Bengali.

Nawazish Ali Khan took over as the General Manager of BTV in 1995; He retired in 2000. During his tenure, he was involved in the promotion of several popular foreign serials.

How popular was it?

Although the popularity of a TV show at this time could be easily ascertained through TRP (Television Rating Point), TRP did not exist in the country in the nineties.

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As a result, BTV has no specific information on how popular the serial was at that time; However, at that time, Nawazish Ali Khan tried to calculate the response of the audience, the review of the newspaper by the criteria.

Asked by bdnews24.com, he said that Alif Laila was the most popular and successful foreign serial aired at that time. There was a heated discussion among the viewers about the serial; BTV officials also felt his flame.

“It simply came to our notice then. Viewers from different parts of the country used to write letters expressing their fascination with the serial. There was a lot of writing in the newspaper about the serial. ”

At that time several popular serials including ‘The Sword of Tipu Sultan’, ‘The Adventures of Sindbad’, ‘The New Adventures of Robinhood’ were aired on BTV; ‘Alif Laila’ surpassed all the serials in terms of viewership. The town or the village, the children or the elderly everyone was watching the serial.

Iftekhar Mahmud, a bank official in Dhaka, said Alif Laila was 10 or 12 years old at the time of the campaign; He used to go to the next house with his family members and watch the serial.

“As soon as the introductory song ‘Alif Layla, Alif Layla’ was aired, we would get busy and crowd in front of the TV set. I miss those days very much now. Now many programs are on TV but not as much as before. ”

The serial was so popular that it had a profound effect on the lives of teenagers at the time; In particular, the characters of Sindbad, bandit Keherman, Aladdin and Malika Hamira left a lasting impression on the viewers.

Another viewer, Mustakim Ahmed, said that they used to make one-eyed glasses like the bandit Keherman in their teens. Solomon’s sword of Sindbad came to the center of attraction of teenagers. Alif Layla’s character was then printed on the cover of his notebook; They used to buy them with great interest.

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“Bichu Akram of Malika Hamira was very popular as a toy; In the form of Akram, the scorpion made of plastic became the playmate of the school children. ”

Viewer Mustakim said that in keeping with the development of technology, the serial is now made with more dazzling and dazzling visual effects than ‘Alif Layla’, but he will never forget the serial with childhood memories.

Some viewers have demanded BTV to save the serial.

‘BTV has no jurisdiction’

Bangladesh Television says the serial was originally contracted by the production company to air once; BTV has no jurisdiction over the breach of that agreement or its subsequent publicity.

Nasir Mahmood, general manager of BTV, told bdnews24.com: Once they were paid to preach. There was no subsequent agreement to promote or preserve it; We don’t have that legal right. ”

The Copyright Office said that keeping it out of the agreement or promoting it on YouTube would be considered a violation of Bangladesh’s customary copyright law.

However, the Bengali dubbed record of ‘Alif Laila’ has been published on several YouTube channels over the years.

Nasir Mahmood said, it also came to their notice; BTRC has already been informed. Authorities are trying to remove them.

Asked how the serial got to the YouTube channel, the general manager of BTV said, “Now many companies can record all TV shows with the help of technology. Somehow they can go to YouTube. ”

Among the coronavirus epidemics, BTV aired several domestic serials, including ‘Nobody Elsewhere’ and ‘Confidential’; However, BTV has stated that there is no plan to promote ‘Alif Laila’ again.

The series aired on BTV in the nineties and then on Ekushey TV in 2000. It was also broadcast on Gazi TV a few years ago.

Serial producer Subhash Sagar has produced several popular TV serials in India; Alif Layla’s three directors Anand Sagar, Prem Sagar and Moti Sagar are his younger brothers. Subhash Sagar died in 2009 at the age of 82.

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Bollywood composer, lyricist and playback singer Rabindra Jain composed the melody of the serial ‘Alif Laila, Alif Laila’; Who was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2015. Many Bollywood singers including Asha Bhonsle have given voice to his tune.

He died in October 2015; Prime Minister Narendra Modi mourned his death.

Orissa actor Shahnewaz Pradhan played the role of a sailor Sindbad, one of the main characters of the serial.

In the discussion about that serial, Shahnewaz has been seen in several TV serials including Hindi serial based on Bengali writer Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay’s ‘Bomkesh Bokshi’.

The 60-year-old actor later starred alongside Shah Rukh Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui in ‘Rais’ and Amazon Prime’s popular web series ‘Mirzapur’. Besides acting, he is also known as a voice artist.

Delhi-born actor Navdeep Singh has played the role of Aladdin, who found the Wonder Lamp; He later made a name for himself in Bollywood as a director.

Under his direction, ‘NH-10’ released in 2015 has been praised by the audience; Anushka Sharma has acted in it.

In 2019, he made ‘Lal Kaptan’ with Saif Ali Khan; Navdeep was also involved as a consultant in the screenplay section of the popular web series ‘Patal Lok’. He is also known as a producer and music director.

Girija Shankar, an actor from Punjab, is seen in the role of King Shahriar; Before he acted in this serial, he got fame all over India by acting in ‘Mahabharat’ serial.

The 72-year-old actor has acted in more than 60 movies. Besides acting, he is also involved in directing and producing.

Indian actress Damini Kanwal Sethi has played the role of Shahraj, the king’s wife; He started his acting career in Mancha Natak and then in TV drama. The actress is also involved in screenwriting and production of more than a hundred TV serials.

The cast of Daku Kehermen has been played by Indian actor Bilas Raj, Ismat Jahan’s character Ritambhara Sahni and many others.