| 24 Feb 2024
Madhuker Upadhyay producer of 'The Mahatma' took a decade for research

MUMBAI: Madhukar Upadhyay is well known for producing radio features on BBC World Service. Upadhyay, in his debut project with All India Radio, with a series based on Mahatma Gandhi, took almost a decade to complete his research. The series has been created with an aim to celebrate 100 years of the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa in 1915. Over 70 episodes have already been aired with around 20 more shows to go.

 “It took me ten years to complete my research, as the year 1915 had a few reports on Gandhiji for various reasons. There were only four to five publications that interviewed him. Since most editors at the time were British, a large part of media ignored him. Also when he returned to India, he was unaware of the ground realities and it could have been difficult for him to convince the people of his ideologies of ‘Satyagraha’ or ‘Non- Violence’. His political mentor, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, asked him to remain silent and to simply ‘observe and absorb’”, said Upadhyay.

Not having adequate reference material proved to be the biggest challenge. However, finally getting his hands on letters written by Gandhiji to various people, helped to a great extent. Upadhyay revealed he had to go through 600 letters to get a clearer picture on who was close to Gandhiji. “Apart from those letters, the diary he maintained in Gujarati also helped me to an extent,” he further explained.

As a producer Upadhyay would also like to make a series on Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. “It was because of him we got the records of the uprising of 1857, and someday I would love to make a radio series on him,” he added.

When asked with the advent of Phase III, if he wishes to produces shows for private FM channels Upadhyay said, “If you see the reach of All India Radio, it is massive and can beat any private radio station hands down. It also has the power to man the stations, so nothing on the cards for now,” he elucidated.

The series is broadcast at 8.30 am on FM Rainbow Network and 9.15 am on FM Gold Network.