Programming : Aamrapali
The Sets Of
B M Vyas, writer
On the story of Amrapali
It's a story based in Vaishali nearly 2,500 years ago.
It's about a very beautiful and talented young girl
who is brought up by a person who she believes is her
father but who actually isn't her father. Every seven
years, there is a major festival called Vasant Utsav
and Aamrapali along with her lover Harsh and best friend
are persuaded into attending the festival. In a dramatic
turn of events, she gets drunk and joins the group of
beauties contending to become Janpath Kalyani.
(Janpath Kalyani was the term given to the most beautiful
and talented girl of the kingdom. A Janpath Kalyani
was selected for a period of seven years and a palace
was given to her. A Janpath Kalyani had the right to
choose her lover and get a person of her choice for
a physical relationship but it did not necessarily work
the other way round.) Now, I must specify here that
in the modern context such a situation might seem absurd
but in those days it was an extremely respectable practice
and the Janpath Kalyani commanded immense respect.
Moreover Aamprapali, by virtue of her rare talent (she
excelled in 64 forms of art), goes down as a revered
historical character. On her invitation, Lord Buddha
is supposed to have come to her palace.
The thrust of the story is on how an innocent, fun loving
pure girl is suddenly transformed into the world of
glorified adultery and how she still copes with the
changed scenario and goes on to become an erudite legend.
Then, there are the peculiar dilemmas she is confronted
with - the quest for her true father, the separation
from her lover when she suddenly becomes a Janpath
Kalyani and so on.
I feel that in spite of belonging to a different era,
the story would interest viewers because the drama and
the events are very pertinent today.
On the research that has gone
Quite a lot. Actually, I started accumulating material
on Lord Buddha nearly seven years ago, though it was
for a different project. I even went to Igatpuri to
attend a devotion camp, observed maun vrat (keep
silent) for 10 days and all that. Finally, after I had
worked on that project for a year, it got shelved. Two
and half years later, I started work on a serial on
Ashok, which too did not happen. So I had done enough
research on the history of the period. It was a coincidence
that around the same time, DV Rao got the concept approved
by Doordarshan. He offered me the project and handed
me his own material on Aamrapali. Since I had
a sufficient groundwork for the project ready with me,
I decided to give it a shot.