Recalling a Few Old-School Indian Tele-Shows

Marv D'Souza , 08 Jul 2012
legendary shows on Indian Television
legendary shows on Indian Television

Tired with the over-play of reality shows, exaggerated drama in soaps and game shows, where the contestants are more talented than the judges? I often wonder if we will ever have reruns of old TV shows. Here’s a list of some India’s best television productions from comedy, drama and game show genres. Watching reruns of Friends and Fullhouse, I wonder if we can have some of those old shows back!

Drama – Nukkad

I remember watching Nukkad as a child. Though I was just a little boy with limited understanding, I do remember liking the actors and how the entire family gathered by the television. I looked it up the internet and found an episodes online. The show had a beautiful soul that was humble and innocent. Not only were the writers of the show great story-tellers, the show was packed with trivial information about local city life in Mumbai. If we somehow have reruns of this show, it could be a nice change from the crazy camera panning and unnecessary monstrous background scores.
PS. You have to l0ve love love Sameer Khakhar as the “Khopdi“, the drunk.

Family Comedy – Dekh Bhai Dekh

India loves family shows, and Dekh Bhai Dekh was hilarious. Farida Jalal as the adorable bahu/wife and beauty parlour owner, Shekar Suman with his screen wife, the naive serious writer and that boy in the shorts ruled the show with their comic timing and quick deliveries. Also the show had some really funny recurring character like Lilliput who kept appearancing through the series in different characters and Dingu, a friend of one of the characters with his short denim “chads” and the catchphrase, “Lolly, Lolly, Sunday morning”. I miss comedies that were cleverly written, light and fluffy. They weren’t pretentious and got the pulse right. Today I feel comedies lack structure and actors lack character.

Game Shows – The Crystal Maze

Though it wasn’t an Indian show, it definitely was a rage here just as it was all over the globe. Who doesn’t remember the super enthusiastic energy ball, Richard O’Brien’s funny comments and his “mumzy“. The show was written around 6 contestants working through a set of challenges through 4 zones – The Medieval, The Aztec, The Futuristic and the Industrial, which was later changed to The Ocean. It would be fun to watch this show again, or at least have the option. Can I hear you say, “TO THE CRYSTAL BALL”?

New Age Shows – Khichdi and Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai.

Supriya Pathak and Ratna Pathak Shah came face to face when the two shows were combined for a special “International Family Day” episode and the result was tummy-achingly funny. Supriya played Hansa as the gajra clad- dressed for evening- going nowhere, bahu who does nothing but sit and “learn English” through her “intelligent” husband, PRAAFOOOL. A hilarious take on Indian family soaps, the show was well-written and included some of the funniest characters on Indian television. Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai on the other hand had the high society – Middle Class, mother-in-law versus daughter-in-law face-off… Ratna Pathak Shah played the high society sasu like the pro that she is. I loved her eye-rolls and the supreme South Bombay twang in her dialogue delivery. I hear these shows are out on DVD. If incorrect, there is a petition on their YouTube stream, check it out and sign it!

Guilty Pleasure – Tu Tu Main Main

The original Saan-Bahu duo and it doesn’t get any more candid than this. Directed by Sachin Pilgaonkar and starring, Reema Lagoo and Supriya Pilgaonkar, ruled the show on their own with their nasty yet innocent battle of words and street wit. The chemistry between the two was untouchable. Watching this show now, could be such a breather from the intense, high drama saan-bahu shows currently on air.

These were just a few shows that are on top of my list. Apart from them, Indian tele-shows a few years ago had other shows like Zaban Sambhalke, Saap Seedi, Just Mohabbat and the commercially successful Hum Paanch. I think most of these shows are available on YouTube, though I think, like reruns of international TV shows; it would be nice to have reruns of these shows on Indian television too. If we find it hard to remake then, let’s just bask in the glory of the good old days!

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