There was a time when Indian TV was not just watchable, but really good.
It was a time when scriptwriters wrote good script, actors acted brilliantly, and a page of dialogues didn’t last the whole episode.
And there was a distinct feeling of happiness and attachment to the TV shows.
Then Kyunki… happened, and the whole industry went to shit, quite literally. Producers finally knew what the cocaine of housewives was – saas-bahu melodrama. And just like drug peddlers, they dished out cocaine in various forms like – Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki, Kusum and other unspeakable acts of torture.
It is because of these crybaby shows, kids today will never know the glory days of Indian television. The shows that actually impacted daily lives of people who watched them.
1. Tu Tu Main Main – before saas-bahu melodrama ruined it all
Before saas-bahu serials got really depressing, this saas-bahu drama-comedy was a gem of Indian TV. Jokes and quips that could make you laugh every minute and acting that deserved Emmys.
It has been ages since light humor like this has been on TV with such effortless acting.
2. Surabhi – the culture show that highlighted the pride of India
Surabhi brings very pleasant memories. This was one show that actually made you happy about India and proud of its culture. The hosts were always smiling and the way the show was carried left us with a smile after it got over too.
3. Hum Paanch – the first show where the cast of women carried it through
While today’s shows are peppered with women wearing expensive sarees and jewellery, going about their household drama, Hum Paanch had a layered approach to women. On the surface, it was a comedy, but it talked about serious women-related issues like independence, feminism and marriage in a very light vein.
4. Dekh Bhai Dekh – the first family comedy that had us in splits
Before Sarabhai vs Sarabhai had us in splits, this family comedy was probably the best thing to happen to Indian TV. It was intelligent and had memorable characters we still remember after a decade.
5. Family No. 1 – the show that made family squabbles funny
Before family squabbles took an ugly turn in TV shows, they were cute and funny in Family No. 1. Also, Kanwaljeet Singh made the women who watched the TV show swoon and the family actually gave everyone life goals.
6. Shrimaan Shrimati – the show that accurately portrayed the changing face of India
It was one of the most popular TV shows to be aired on Doordarshan. Comic characters like Keshu have not been seen on TV since. This show too highlighted the nuances of families and couples effectively.
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7. Byomkesh Bakshi – the show that detective series should get inspired from
We had our own Sherlock in the form of Byomkesh Bakshi and it was played perfectly by Rajit Kapur. And because all the cases were taken from the novels, not one episode was less than intriguing. Unlike CID.
8. Malgudi Days – bringing R K Narayan’s stories to life
There were only seven episodes, but because they were so well-written, every episode felt new. And because R K Narayan had such an insight into life, you felt really good after watching them.
9. Shaka Laka Boom Boom – the show that fascinated the kids
Even though the serial was for kids, the concept was fascinating at the time, and everyone loved watching it.
10. Shaktimaan – the show that gave us lessons in being good human beings
11. Office Office – the show that portrayed the apathy of government offices
This serial very accurately portrayed the corruption in Indian government offices and channeled the frustration we felt in them when we go to get the work done.
12. Chandrakanta – the show that introduced fantasy to Indian audiences
Again, just like Malgudi Days, Chandrakanta was based on a novel too, and hence had a high quality of the script. Yes, it did go downhill after the quality script ran out and the cast changed, the serial is still very memorable.
13. Movers and Shakers – the variety show we all loved.
Movers and Shakers was the first good variety show on Indian television, even though it was a rip off of The Tonight Show. It was back when Shekar Suman was funny and the interviews were light and could be watched with the entire family.
Now that I think of them, I miss the good old days when Indian TV was sane and you didn’t have to download Hollywood TV shows to pass free time.
Will we ever get shows like these on TV again?