A new television serial on Jesus in Hindi began some months ago from Monday to Friday on &TV and since then it is gaining it's popularity with viewers day by day.
Fr. John Paul with child artists
The story for the serial entitled “Yeshu” deals with Jesus’ life story, and it is done by Utkarsh Naithani, an actor, flute player, and writer based on the research work of Divine Word missionary Fr. John Paul Herman SVD who is working in the India Central Province.
Fr. Herman, a media professional, says, “First of all, let me tell you that as a resource person, I am the research scholar and the story developer for this serial in Hindi “Yeshu” and Fr. Savari Rayan SVD, also a Divine Word missionary and a theologian working in "Divya Vani", a Biblical center in Bhopal, is associated with the serial as a guide. And it is a pride moment for us as Divine Word missionaries to reach out Yeshu to the people who have not heard about him or not sufficiently heard as per the charism of its founder, St. Arnold Janssen.
He has been working on it since March 4, 2020 as the producer and director called him to Mumbai for the first initial meeting. “Lockdown was a great opportunity for me to sit down and work on it. Since then I am on it all the time,” said Fr. Herman, director of media commission, Catholic Diocese of Jaipur, Rajasthan (Western India).
&TV presents for the first time in Hindi General Entertainment Channels, the untold, unheard story of “Yeshu”, produced by Arvind Babbal Productions Pvt Ltd. “Yeshu” is a story of an exceptionally benevolent child who only wants to do good and spread happiness all around him. His love and compassion is for all in stark contrast to the dark, evil forces prevalent during his birth and childhood. Witnessing the various atrocities on his family and in society has a deep impact on him.
His attempt to help others and ease their pain often leads to situations where he inevitably ends up being hurt and condemned by not just the oppressors but also the people at large. But even that does not stop Yeshu from continuing on his path. It is not only the most iconic story of good versus evil, but it also captures the beautiful relationship between Yeshu and his support and guide – his mother. The Story of Yeshu is is based not only on the infant narratives of the New Testament but also on other gospels, traditions, interpretations and other sources. Since it is a creative presentation the viewers have supported it with positive feedback. And the growing viewership is a proof for this.
Fr. John Paul svd with other svd confreres with child artists on location
The running time for each episode is 22-25 minutes. The first episode was longer as it had to cover a long background of Jesus' coming. “The shooting is going on daily in Mumbai and I often make my trip to be with the team,” Fr. Herman. Initially we were nervous besides being excited as to how will the viewers react as there has been many stories which are not found in the Bible. But seeing the views of the first promo, crossing the 3 million mark and a number of positive comments made us feel relaxed. The serial, which is a work of &TV production, is made keeping in mind the Indian viewers. The serial can be viewed on &TV from Monday to Friday at 8.00 pm.
“So far hardly anything is being produced for the Hindi-speaking people, who consist of the majority of the Indian population. It is a great challenge and opportunity to tell the people who Jesus is. Many people will be informed by the serial,” said Father Herman. He is trying his best that things go well with viewers. “We are taking some creative liberty to enhance the characters and the story in line with Christian faith. I am thankful for &TV team and the producer Arvind Babbal that they took a bold step in bringing out this serial and giving me this opportunity to be associated with the team of Yeshu. I am sure this will be big milestone for narrating the story of Yeshu to Indian audience, specially for the Hindi speaking people.” said the priest. &TV is a popular Hindi channel which produces great mythological shows besides the comedy and entertainment shows.
This has been Fr. John Paul Herman’s dream that something of this kind should come in a mega serial. “In the past, I have been associated with Divine Word Fr. George Proksch, a German missionary who made a significant contribution to music, dance and Hindi writings in India. Fr. Proksch’s dance drama had influenced Fr. Herman from his childhood”. “Later, I was motivated to do doctoral research (Ph.D) on Fr. Proksch’s book “Khristayaan” and other books which he wrote from the Indian perspective,” Fr. Herman recalled.
Fr. John Paul svd with artist child Jesus
The priest did a doctorate degree in Hindi literature from Devi Ahilya University, formerly Indore University. In due course of time, Fr. Herman associated with Divine Word Fr. Francis Barboza, the Bharatnatyam dancer. For him [Fr. Francis Barboza], I had written a ballet called “Preetinriteshar”. And later, I myself produced a 100-dance drama “Antardvad” with 500 artists on the occasion of the golden jubilee of the archdiocese of Delhi in 2019. “I thank God for such a responsible task the Lord has entrusted me. I take this task as part of my mission,” said Fr. Herman.