Remember the days when we didn’t have hundreds of channels on our televisions sets to browse? When the whole family would gather on a Sunday morning to watch “Rangoli” or “Ramayana” or “Mahabharat” or “The Sword of Tipu Sultan“? When TV shows were much more than just something you watched for fun, and the characters became a part of your life?
With time, as the broadcast industry expanded, cable and dish TV took over the viewership and Doordarshan got lost somewhere in the race to gain the highest TRPs.
The recent news about Doordarshan going global and being broadcast to 120 millions homes abroad made us reminisce about the old times and brought back memories of the amazing programmes we have spent hours watching. We may not watch good old DD anymore, but those memories are etched in our mind forever.
I still remember the “Rukawat ke liye khed hai” (Sorry for the interruption) notice that popped up every now and then on the channel. The Republic Day parade that the whole family watched together and still does. The theme music, the unforgettable logo and those advertisements for public interest. The “Flop Show” which ticked our bones whenever we saw it. It has been years since we saw them but they still remain in our memories and flash every now and then to bring a smile on our faces.
So we couldn’t help but compile a list of our favourite shows on DD-
1. Malgudi Days
Based on the short stories by R.K. Narayan, the series was a runaway success. Swami and his friends became every kid’s most talked about characters. The series was launched in 1986 with 39 episodes. Malgudi Days was revived with a new set of episodes that were aired in 2006 on Doordarshan.
Here is the first episode of the show to remember the lovely time we had watching it-
Remember Guru, Radha, Khopdi, Kaderbhai and Ghanshu Bhikari? The characters made a place in every street’s “nukkad” (street corner) as they portrayed the struggles of the lower income bracket of the society. Their hardships in their daily life, their love for each other and their philosophy of living every moment in spite of all the miseries was something we could all learn from.
Watch a favourite Nukkad episode here-
3. Byomkesh Bakshi
He is our very own Sherlock Holmes. The smart detective and how he solved the most complex mysteries in no time was something which kept us all hooked. We loved him for his dashing good looks and for how easily he solved every case.
Here are is an episode you can browse through while you remember how awesome the show was-
Directed by Ramesh Sippy and Jyoti Sarup, this series had an ensemble cast that was loved by all. The story was based on the partition of India in 1947 and how it changed the lives of people after that. The emotional drama, the characters and everything about the show was splendid. People could relate to the characters and the situations and that made the show a household name.
Here is a clip from one of the episodes to refresh your memory-
5. Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne
How can you forget Mungerilal and his miserable life that he tried to forget by dreaming? The funny incidents and circumstances in the character’s life brought the whole family together as they laughed along with him.
Here is a short clip to remember Mungerilal-
This was one of the India’s first detective series. Pankaj Kapur who played the title role of Karamchand took the show to great heights. And how can you forget his assistant Kitty who would help him solve the cases but end up complicating things? And every time Karamchand said “Shut Up, Kitty” we all had a grin on our faces.
This immensely popular show focused on the government and the corrupt civic system. Priya Tendulkar in the lead role created a lot of stir as she created awareness around the system. The show did not just convey a message but was also interesting to watch. Here is the title track of the show to refresh your memories-
This cultural show was hosted by Renuka Shahane and Siddharth Kak and talked all about the Indian culture. Did you know that this series has a place in the Limca Book of Records for receiving the largest measured audience response ever in the history of Indian television? It was the longest running cultural series. Thinking of Surabhi reminds me of how we scurried to get postcards so that we could send in our answers to the weekly quiz question, thinking this time we’ll be the chosen one!
Watch a glimpse of the show-
9. Wagle Ki Duniya
Remember a nervous, middle class sales clerk, Srinivas Wagle and his everyday struggles? And how everyone would sympathize with him? Based on characters of R.K. Laxman’s cartoons, the series was an instant hit and made Wagle a household name.
Here is an episode of the show-
10. Hum Log
This was the first soap opera on India Television and was immensely popular. The life and hardships of a common man and how he deals with it kept the story going. We all waited eagerly for Ashok Kumar to come at the end of every episode to discuss the ongoing story.
Here is the first episode of Hum Log-
11. Bharat ek Khoj
Learning history could be boring sometimes but this show based on Jawaharlal Nehru’s book The Discovery of India’ made it almost exciting! The series showcased 5000 years of Indian history, culminating in the gaining of independence in 1947. The strong cast was the USP of the show that included Om Puri, Roshan Gandhi, Tom Alter, Sadashiv Aprapukar, etc.
Here is an episode of the show. Enjoy!
Out of all the versions we have seen of Ramayan on Indian television, the one by Ramanand Sagar was undoubtedly the best. So strongly did we start believing that Arun Govil was ‘Ram’ that even if we saw him on the streets we would probably bow to him! The colourful costumes, the dramatic dialogues and the gravity defying arrows with unique properties kept children, parents and grandparents hooked to the television set.
Here is the title track-
As we talk about these shows we can think of so many others like Udaan, Fauji, Ye jo Hai Zindagi, Circus, Katha Sagar and many more. Each one of them was a gem and touched our hearts.
These shows may be over now, but the memories will always remain with us. With Doordarshan going global, we see a silver lining and a new turn in the vintage channel’s life. Cheers to this achievement!
Do share your favourite Doordarshan memories in the comments below.
Oh well, why don’t you watch the logo video as well since you are anyway walking down memory lane-