TV shows

The DD Files: When Shah Rukh Khan stole hearts and the show in ‘Fauji’

Our new series looks back on the classic television shows of the Doordarshan era

The 1980s saw the Hindi film industry touch new lows in terms of aesthetics, story telling and filmmaking. It was when Love 86 and Ilzam gave us shiny baggy trousers and an unlikeliest hero in the form of Govinda.

Cinema’s tackiest era was also television’s finest.

In the decade before satellite television, Doordarshan kept the nation glued to television screens with a rich repertoire of serials helmed by master storytellers, fine actors and future stars. Production values were abysmal, thanks to low budgets, and technical skills were also sometimes near absent. But creative ambitions soared. Whether it was the endearing bunch of street dwellers in Nukkad or the adventures of Swamy and his friends in Malgudi Days, the carrot-munching detective of Karamchand or the irrepressible housewife on a mission to expose corrupt government officials in Rajani, the national broadcaster nurtured characters and stories that stayed with the 1980s generation before it lost its innocence to The Bold and the Beautiful.

In our series The DD Files, we revisit some of the popular and unique shows that defined entertainment for a generation that was on the cusp of the single-most defining event of their lives – economic liberalisation. We begin with Fauji, in which a young actor with deep dimples, unruly hair, brown eyes and a remarkable screen presence first caught the nation’s fancy. Fauji, about a training programme for Army commandos, was not Shah Rukh Khan’s first DD outing, but it marked his big moment under the spotlight.

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Directed by TV’s affable “ketchup” uncle Colonel Raj Kapoor (those of a certain vintage will remember the immortal lines “Ketchup hota kaddu bhara” in the Volfarm commercial), Fauji was one 1989’s big hits. At a time when the most popular television serials were about bows, arrows, clubs and crowns (Ramayana and Mahabharata), Fauji gave Doordarshan’s younger demographic an insider’s view into Army life.

Hand-to-hand combat, parachutes, machine guns with almost real ammo, bombs and a band of boys who nurse their cigarettes and their crushes, were a hit, as lanky commandoes in tiny boxers and their romantic interludes featuring women in puff-sleeved dresses (this was the ’80s, after all).

The show has intrigue (what is the secret of Captain Vikram Rai and the trainee Abhimanyu Rai?), romance (every man has a crush), buddy bonding (new alliances are forged and old rivalries froth over during training sessions) and action (watch Khan and his buddies out-manoeuvre their seniors during a particularly tough training module). All this alongside partying, filling up plates at the buffet tables, harmless flirting and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.

In terms of production values, Fauji was as amateurish as you could possibly get with a genial former Army man in command and a bunch of mostly strange actors mouthing lines that were inexplicably a rage, such as “I say, chaps.” But the devoted DD audience embraced every new story.

What made the serial such a sensation was its underlying theme. It was, after all, a coming-of-age story, a precursor of the movie Lakshya, perhaps, with happy-go-lucky boys being whipped into shape to defend the nation.

The show’s scene-stealer, Shah Rukh Khan, was cast by default. His character Abhimanyu Rai (supposedly based on the Lieutenant Colonel Sanjoy Bannerji of the Bombay Sappers, Indian Army), was supposed to have been the second lead. However Kapoor said in an interview that the camera “loved him so much” that they had to change the script to prop up Khan as the lead. The first few episodes reveal how much the actor has travelled — or not. His ticks, lop-sided smile, and dialogue delivery are reminiscent of the SRK of today, minus the outstretched-arms-and-head-tilt routine. It is also not difficult to see why the camera loved Khan so. In a cast of stiff, wet-behind-the-ear actors, he seemed like the only one who had done his homework.

In today’s context, Fauji looks like a sophomoric effort. The octapad-driven background score and some of the shots are unintentionally funny. But, like other serials of that era, Fauji was an earnest effort, dripping “Indianness” without the chest-thumping and the jingoism that would have coloured the series had it been produced today.

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The next Industrial Revolution is here – driven by the digitalization of manufacturing processes

Technologies such as Industry 4.0, IoT, robotics and Big Data analytics are transforming the manufacturing industry in a big way.

The manufacturing industry across the world is seeing major changes, driven by globalization and increasing consumer demand. As per a report by the World Economic Forum and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd on the future of manufacturing, the ability to innovate at a quicker pace will be the major differentiating factor in the success of companies and countries.

This is substantiated by a PWC research which shows that across industries, the most innovative companies in the manufacturing sector grew 38% (2013 - 2016), about 11% year on year, while the least innovative manufacturers posted only a 10% growth over the same period.

Along with innovation in products, the transformation of manufacturing processes will also be essential for companies to remain competitive and maintain their profitability. This is where digital technologies can act as a potential game changer.

The digitalization of the manufacturing industry involves the integration of digital technologies in manufacturing processes across the value chain. Also referred to as Industry 4.0, digitalization is poised to reshape all aspects of the manufacturing industry and is being hailed as the next Industrial Revolution. Integral to Industry 4.0 is the ‘smart factory’, where devices are inter-connected, and processes are streamlined, thus ensuring greater productivity across the value chain, from design and development, to engineering and manufacturing and finally to service and logistics.

Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence and Big Data analytics are some of the key technologies powering Industry 4.0. According to a report, Industry 4.0 will prompt manufacturers globally to invest $267 billion in technologies like IoT by 2020. Investments in digitalization can lead to excellent returns. Companies that have implemented digitalization solutions have almost halved their manufacturing cycle time through more efficient use of their production lines. With a single line now able to produce more than double the number of product variants as three lines in the conventional model, end to end digitalization has led to an almost 20% jump in productivity.

Digitalization and the Indian manufacturing industry

The Make in India program aims to increase the contribution of the manufacturing industry to the country’s GDP from 16% to 25% by 2022. India’s manufacturing sector could also potentially touch $1 trillion by 2025. However, to achieve these goals and for the industry to reach its potential, it must overcome the several internal and external obstacles that impede its growth. These include competition from other Asian countries, infrastructural deficiencies and lack of skilled manpower.

There is a common sentiment across big manufacturers that India lacks the eco-system for making sophisticated components. According to FICCI’s report on the readiness of Indian manufacturing to adopt advanced manufacturing trends, only 10% of companies have adopted new technologies for manufacturing, while 80% plan to adopt the same by 2020. This indicates a significant gap between the potential and the reality of India’s manufacturing industry.

The ‘Make in India’ vision of positioning India as a global manufacturing hub requires the industry to adopt innovative technologies. Digitalization can give the Indian industry an impetus to deliver products and services that match global standards, thereby getting access to global markets.

The policy, thus far, has received a favourable response as global tech giants have either set up or are in the process of setting up hi-tech manufacturing plants in India. Siemens, for instance, is helping companies in India gain a competitive advantage by integrating industry-specific software applications that optimise performance across the entire value chain.

The Digital Enterprise is Siemens’ solution portfolio for the digitalization of industries. It comprises of powerful software and future-proof automation solutions for industries and companies of all sizes. For the discrete industries, the Digital Enterprise Suite offers software and hardware solutions to seamlessly integrate and digitalize their entire value chain – including suppliers – from product design to service, all based on one data model. The result of this is a perfect digital copy of the value chain: the digital twin. This enables companies to perform simulation, testing, and optimization in a completely virtual environment.

The process industries benefit from Integrated Engineering to Integrated Operations by utilizing a continuous data model of the entire lifecycle of a plant that helps to increase flexibility and efficiency. Both offerings can be easily customized to meet the individual requirements of each sector and company, like specific simulation software for machines or entire plants.

Siemens has identified projects across industries and plans to upgrade these industries by connecting hardware, software and data. This seamless integration of state-of-the-art digital technologies to provide sustainable growth that benefits everyone is what Siemens calls ‘Ingenuity for Life’.

Case studies for technology-led changes

An example of the implementation of digitalization solutions from Siemens can be seen in the case of pharma major Cipla Ltd’s Kurkumbh factory.

Cipla needed a robust and flexible distributed control system to dispense and manage solvents for the manufacture of its APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients used in many medicines). As part of the project, Siemens partnered with Cipla to install the DCS-SIMATIC PCS 7 control system and migrate from batch manufacturing to continuous manufacturing. By establishing the first ever flow Chemistry based API production system in India, Siemens has helped Cipla in significantly lowering floor space, time, wastage, energy and utility costs. This has also improved safety and product quality.

In yet another example, technology provided by Siemens helped a cement plant maximise its production capacity. Wonder Cement, a greenfield project set up by RK Marbles in Rajasthan, needed an automated system to improve productivity. Siemens’ solution called CEMAT used actual plant data to make precise predictions for quality parameters which were previously manually entered by operators. As a result, production efficiency was increased and operators were also freed up to work on other critical tasks. Additionally, emissions and energy consumption were lowered – a significant achievement for a typically energy intensive cement plant.

In the case of automobile major, Mahindra & Mahindra, Siemens’ involvement involved digitalizing the whole product development system. Siemens has partnered with the manufacturer to provide a holistic solution across the entire value chain, from design and planning to engineering and execution. This includes design and software solutions for Product Lifecycle Management, Siemens Technology for Powertrain (STP) and Integrated Automation. For Powertrain, the solutions include SINUMERIK, SINAMICS, SIMOTICS and SIMATIC controls and drives, besides CNC and PLC-controlled machines linked via the Profinet interface.

The above solutions helped the company puts its entire product lifecycle on a digital platform. This has led to multi-fold benefits – better time optimization, higher productivity, improved vehicle performance and quicker response to market requirements.

Siemens is using its global expertise to guide Indian industries through their digital transformation. With the right technologies in place, India can see a significant improvement in design and engineering, cutting product development time by as much as 30%. Besides, digital technologies driven by ‘Ingenuity for Life’ can help Indian manufacturers achieve energy efficiency and ensure variety and flexibility in their product offerings while maintaining quality.

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The above examples of successful implementation of digitalization are just some of the examples of ‘Ingenuity for Life’ in action. To learn more about Siemens’ push to digitalize India’s manufacturing sector, see here.

This article was produced on behalf of Siemens by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.