Sometimes back I got a mail from friend written on Doordarshan era. Inspired from that mail I’m writing this post about the Doordarshan era and my memories from that era. In India, visual media was tightly controlled by government till 1992. We just had Doordarshan and at the most Doordarshan’s Metro channel to satisfy our entertainment needs. But in 1992 revolution came and satellite TV broadcasting started. Over a period of time so many channels got added to satisfy people’s entertainment needs and today we have hundreds of 24×7 channels of various interests beaming in India. But even after so many channels sometimes we still miss the golden era of Doordarshan. Today our platter is full but still we miss the balanced diet served by Doordarshan in past.
I’m just trying to revisit some of the unforgettable things which Doordarshan offered to us in past :
1. The logo n Montage
Well, who can forget this logo of Doordarshan? Also, do you remember the colored stripes seen before the start of actual transmission? sometimes we are so eager for the start of the broadcast that we used to watch these stripes invariably.
Also, we can definitely not forget the irritating Doordarshan’s Signature Montage which was always there before the start of broadcast.
As I was kid during the Doordarshan era, I will start with the memoirs of kids shows.
2. Kids / Children shows
If I remember properly then Sunday Morning till 11 was dedicated for children on DD. There were plenty of notable shows on DD for kids. One of them was Jungle book with Mougli. Title track of the show was also quite good n I still play this track for Ruhi many times.
Disney’s cartoon show was also once a week on every Sunday. I had to wait for one week in order to watch Mickey n Donald. (Now we have a 24×7 Disney channel n Ruhi is totally hooked up to it. Isn’t it a perfect example of changed time?)
Also, we had HE MAN n Spider man series. Stickers of HE MAN n spider Man were hit amongst children at that time. However, these things haven’t changed yet. Still children love spider man.
And do you remember गायब आया?
When I grew up a little, there were other kid’s shows also, like विक्रम और वैताल, सिंहासन बत्रीसी, तेनाली रामा, etc. Also, there were few English shows also i.e. Didi’s comedy show (I enjoy this even today sometimes on TV), Charlie Chaplin (no one can imitate him) n Lucy’s Comedy show. Though at that point of time I was not able to understand what they speak, still it was good enough to make me laugh. They are just immortal characters.
Do You remember this boy Swami? Malgudi days one of the most liked serial of mine. At that time I was still a kid and I was able to relate myself with this boy very much.
Based on R. K. Narayan’s works this serial was instant hit. The title tract just ता..ना…..ना….ता..ना…..ना….with amalgamation of sketches was very good. I want to see all the episodes of this epic once again.
3. Giant robot n other sci-fi
Giant Robot I think was the first sci-fi thing I ever watched by me. (If I ‘m not wrong then Star Trek series started much later.) I was believing in the existence of Giant Robot n was thinking like if some day I’m in problem then I will call Giant Robot. Calling the Giant robot by speaking in watch (yeah watch because Gadget was alien word for me at that time) and then robot preparing to fly n it’s take off looked wonderful to me. (Watch the video below)
I think when Star trek started I had grown up a bit. So I had know how of what the fiction story is all about. Though I was watching Star Trek, I was not avid viewer of that series. (Perhaps I was not able to connect with Star Trek the way I connected with Giant Robot)
First Mythological series on Doordarshan was RAMAYAN. Ramayan was historic in many ways. If I’m not wrong then RAMAYAN went on for 100+ episodes which was kind of record at that time. During the broadcast time of RAMAYAN (i.e. early morning every Sunday), it was curfew like situation in the streets in India. People were so hooked up to this series that in villages people were doing aartis n all that when Ram Sita and Hanuman appeared on screen. Arun Govil who acted as Ram was infect treated like god off the screen by innocent people. Dara Singh and Arvind Trivedi were also hit as Hanuman and Ravan.
After Ramanayn, Mahabharat came on small screen. That was also instant hit amongst people. Producers saw the gold mine with the Mythological serials and finally producers made serials on all the gods from Shiv to Hanuman to all Devi devtas in order to loot the gold mine. But no one could match the euphoria of the Ramayan n Mahabharat.
When I went to my honeymoon in Shimla, I was put up in the hotel operated by Sagar brothers. There they had displayed their creation RAMAYAN in the hotel lounge with proud. I think hotel also had the original cassettes of RAMAYAN in their possession.
As I grew up my hunger for other genre of entertainment also increased. Comedy was one such genre. Some fabulous shows were there on DD to tickle my funny bone. The prime show which everyone still remember is ये जो है जिंदगी. All characters in that show became immortal. Satish Shah, Rakesh Bedi, Shafi Imandar, Swaroop Sampat, etc. I don’t remember any of it’s show now but I would definitely like to watch this show again.
Another notable comedy show was देख भाइ देख. I really liked the sweet family showed in that show. I developed instant liking of Deven Bhojani (Karima as servant in that series). Few years back, I think Sony had shown the re run of this series and I enjoyed watching some episodes again at that time.
One more notable serial in this genre was “Shreeman Shreemati”. Start cast of Jatin Kanakia as Kekuji / Kekda / Keshav Kulkarni, Archana Puransingh as Doll, Rakesh Bedi as Dilruba / DilBura uncle and Reema Lagoo was excellent. Serial was based on just one simple thing of men drooling over to their neighbor’s wife but each episode of it produced excellent and clean humor.
I also remember few other shows like “Wagle ki Duniya”, “Aa bail mujhe maar”, “Flop Show”(by Jaspal Bhatti), “Mungerilal ke haseen sapne”, “Mr. Yogi” n perhaps few more. All these shows were offering pure entertainment n not like what today’s shows like “Comedy circus” offers. I think we really miss such kind of clean comedy shows in today’s time. One comedy show which I think currently doing good is “Tarak Mehta ka Ulta Chasma” but unfortunately I haven’t seen single episode of this show as I’m not in India. But given a chance I would like to see this series.
6. Soap Operas
DD broadcasted few great soap operas. Hum Log and Buniyad were just epic. Though at that time I was not mature enough to understand those serials. But other grown up or mature people had liking for this serials. In those Soap operas however glamour was not at all present.
Another series which touched every one was “Nukkad”. I think at that time everyone liked it.
Another, soap opera (which was soap opera in true sense) which came around in mid 90s and I also liked watching was “Swabhiman”. Swabhiman and Shanti (starring Mandira Bedi) were one of the first daily soaps i.e. broadcasted everyday. These daily soaps were meant for the urban people. Extra marital affairs, rivalries, lust for money, woman n every other evil thing was covered in those daily soaps. I still remember watching “Swabhiman” everyday after coming back from my college.
However, Daily Soaps were never a forte of DD. Many daily Soaps were broadcasted on DD but most of them were not so successful. None could reach the height or aura of what Ekta Kapoor’s soaps with ‘K’ could reach.
In the Historical epic, I just remember “Sword of Tipu Sultan”. I was watching this serial with interest. I don’t remember any other serials based on History which was popular.
8. Crime and Detective series
Sometimes back Sony had started broadcasting Karamchand again but it didn’t go off well n was stopped within weeks it was started. It seems like now we have developed more liking for “CID”.
9. Horror series
Only one serial which comes to my mind in Horror category n that is “किल्ले का रहस्य". I was bit afraid at that time watching such horror shows but still I was watching it. But as this serial progressed I lost interest and didn’t see it till end.
9. Other Misc. genre
“Bharat Ek Khoj” a series based on the writings of Jawaharlal Nehru was getting very good viewership then. At that time I was not interested much in that. But now given a chance I would definitely like to see this show.
One more serial I liked at that time was “Rakshak”. This series was to create awareness amongst people towards the environment and wild life.
There were also some short story based series (i.e. new short story in each episode) which worth mention here are “Darpan” and “Katha Sagar”. These two serials were broadcasted I think in late 80s but were good n I liked them at that time.
One series which left ever lasting impression on my mind was “Hello Zindagi”. This series was produced by Nalini Singh who later also presented “Aankho Dekhi”. In each episode, they will pick up one common man and show how he is fighting the battle of his life against all odds. This show had deep impact on my mind and soul at that time. After seeing the show first time I realized that how painful the life could be. During those time, I was also going through lot of problems in my life n at my home and week after week watching this serial I was trying to prepare myself for the battle of life. That was the time of my life when I saw the pain, problems, tensions, etc. for the first time in my life. I had very pampered childhood and I was not at all prepared to take up the challenges thrown up by life. When not able to cope up with situations, I was used to cry alone in the corner of house. I was thinking like why I’m the only unlucky person in this world? Why god has been so unkind to me? etc. etc. But after seeing “Hello Zindagi”, I realized that I was wrong. There is lot more pain in the world. I had watched all the episodes of “Hello Zindagi” and each episode gave me a strength n courage to fight my problems. Title song "हेलो जिंदगी, जिंदगी नूर है, मगर इसमें जलने का दस्तूर है….." was indeed apt n soothing for me. You can listen this title track here. Unfortunately not a single episode of this series is available anywhere on the web. (If someone finds / have it, do let me know).
I don’t remember many youth oriented series on DD but remember “Chunauti” in this genre. This series was based on the student life in college. This series highlighted issues like politics, drugs, ragging, poor hostel conditions n poor teaching system, etc. Title track of this series was also very good.
This program was one of the gem produced by DD. It is difficult to categorize this program in any genre because this program has everything in it. Arts, literature, music, science, personalities everything was part of this program. Siddharth Kak n Renuka Sahane were perfect host for the show. There are few videos of this shows available in the You tube may be as n when time permits I will see them.
11. Bollywood Entertainment
In the Bollywood entertainment, only Rangoli n Chitrahar were there. Rangoli broadcasted on every Sunday morning was really very popular. Apart from these two shows some movies were also shown during the weekend. After the DD started the Metro channel, some more film based programs started and people also liked those programs.
In the Doordarshan era, there was no concept like “Breaking News”. News was just once in night. News readers were mostly flat faced n they would give smile only at the time of saying Good Bye. Some of the news anchors I remember are J V Raman, Salam Sultan, Shammi Narang, etc.
I think though current 24×7 news channels are mostly serving shit news, still they are better from Doordarshan era because it gets the news for you the moment it happens.
Doordarshan not only gave us good programs but also gave us some memorable advertisement. Some of them are
Vicco (Vicoor turmeric nahi cosmetic, Vicco turmeric ayurvedic cream),
Nirma (Suno Suno e Babuji, kapde kyu maile dhule),
Rasna (I love you Rasna),
Complan (I’m a Complan Boy……, I’m a Complan Girl…….),
Bajaj (Jab mein chhota bachchha tha, badi shararat karta tha, meri chori pakdi jaati…),
Gold Spot (The xing thing Gold Spot),
Hajmola (bas bas maa ne pet ke liye diya hai… bhago bhago masterji aa gaye)
There may be many more ads then listed above. All these ads can be viewed in You tube and one can feel nostalgic seeing them.
I was fortunate that we had tv in our house since early 80s. In early 80’s owning a TV was luxury and only B&W tv were available. After 82 Asiad games, color tvs were available in India. Till 1986, we had B&W tv and then we bought BPL sanyo color tv. That tv lasted for very long time. I was using that TV till I was in Mumbai and was running quite good.
Ahh…. it seems like I wrote too much about DD era. As we know change is way of life and change is the only thing that remains constant in one’s life. Over a period of time we witness many changes in front of our eyes. Some changes are for good while some for not so good. Sometimes changes are so gradual that things changes upside down without we realizing it. One such change was the entry of Satellite TV. I also have some memoirs about the days of Satellite TV evolution in India but about that I shall write in different post sometime later. For now I stop here.
Disclaimer : All the images used in this post is from the various sources on web. It is difficult to mention all of them here. However, if someone has any objection about the use of the images, pls let me know through comment and I shall do the needful.
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