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8 timeless Indian TV shows to take you on a stroll down the memory lane

A chance glance at a daily newspaper on a lazy Sunday afternoon proved to be a sweet flashback. The article was about silver jubilee of satellite television in India. A quick Google search helped in understanding how the great liberalization reforms in 1991 changed the entertainment scenario in India. Anyway, we are not going to stress about reforms that took place,  we are going to talk about the Indian TV shows that have entertained one and all during these 25 years. We are sure, it helps you revisit your childhood, just as we did.

1. Dekh Bhai Dekh

Dekh Bhai Dekh
Daily tussles of a joint family

Directed by Anand Mahendroo and produced by Jaya Bachchan, this hindi sitcom first premiered on DD metro on 6th May 1993.A joint family which can be collectively called a “Mad house”. The show is about a typical Punjabi joint family, the Dewans, who somehow land up in funny situations everytime .What made it click was that the audience could connect with every character in the show to  their real lives whether it’s a caring Badi Maa(Sushma seth) or sweet chichi (Bhavna Balsavar) or the quirky chachu(Shekhar suman) or the aspiring youths of 90’s ,Sanju and kirti(Vishal singh & Nattasha singh) .The show is a cult classic which is proved by its numerous re-runs on Sony and SAB TV.

2. Shanti

Shanti TV show Mandira Bedi
Mandira Bedi became a household name with Shanti

The show can be described as Love, Sex and Dhokha of 90’s.Perhaps, one of the first daily soaps on Indian television, the show traverses the story of two friends (Yatin Karyekar &  Amar talwar) and their heavily guarded past which comes in light when a young and fierce journalist ,Mandira Bedi, enters in their lives. The show was intense, dark and sinister to some extent. Fine acting by the leads of the show made it a compelling watch. It is best remembered as Mandira Bedi’s launch pad as it made her a household name for her passionate acting as young ‘Shanti’, who is determined to find out the injustice done to her mother.

3. Aahat

Aahat sony tv
Aahat was the first horror show on Indian TV

As far as I can recall, this show is longest running horror show of Indian television. The show horrified its audience with its minacious plots, baleful background music and evil characters. The show primarily relied on suspense, deep plots and special effects which instilled fear among its audience. The show’s popularity can be gauged by the fact that it was satellite TV’s highest watched show with prime ratings. The show ran its sixth season in 2015.

 4. Hum paanch

Hum Paanch Vidya Balan Rakhi Tondon
Hum Paanch

Again, a cult classic hindi sitcom which entertained audience consecutively for four years starting from 1995.The show narrates the story of a middle class white color worker, Anand Mathur, whose life’s tragedy is his own five daughters who make sure their dad is always in some kind of trouble, thanks to their adventures. The show’s characters were lively, fierce and comical. Various elements like Sweety’s(one of anand’s daughters) ritual of singing a  song before opening the main door of house, Pooja aunty’s favourite oneliner “Aunty mat kaho na !!” were  great hit among the audience.

It catapulted the careers of various actors like Vidya Balan, Ashok sarf, Rakhee Tondon to great heights. The show also ran its second season in 2005, which according to many was a pale shadow of its predecessor.

5. Office Office

office office mussadi pankaj kapoor
Who can forget Mussadi’s trouble with sarkari babus

Bureaucracy, Redtapism, Corruption, “Sifarish” etc all these words can be added to description of culture and traditions of our country- India. And there is only one hero (am not gender biased here) who braves it right from getting his birth certificate till his death certificate , fortunately in this case he emerges victorious !! Hurray we (common man) won at least on reel, if not in real. Pankaj kapoor, Mussadi lal, essays his role to perfection so does the rest of the cast of this show, from Bhatia ji to pandey ji to Ushaji , everyone fills in aptly. Although this is sitcom but the situations are no less than any daily happenings in any government office.

The show was appreciated for its satirical take on Indian bureaucratic system. In 2011 a movie, Chala Mussadi office office, was also made which did a decent business on Box office.

6. Kaun banega Crorepati

Kaun Banega Crorepati
9 PM was booked for this show across India

At the turn of this millennial , Star India network was looking forward to enter the Indian households and they were targeting the masses, hence they experimented big time and fortunately for them, the dividends came in, big time !! Kaun banega crorepati , an Indian adaption of UK’s hit game show “Who wants to be a millionaire”, was one such cog in Star’s wheel of fortune. The show was first outing of Amitabh Bachchan  on Indian television with this show. The novelty of the concept caught the much needed attention and the show became the household name. In retrospective, films aside, it was actually KBC which made Amitabh Bachchan the shehansha. While his competition has hanged boots long back, the rein of shehansha continues ..!

7. Kyuki Saas bhi kabhi bahu thi

Kyunki Saas bhi kabhi bahu thi Smriti irani
One of the longest running daily saga

As we mentioned above, star India network juggernaut to capture the Indian television at the start of this millennial had many commandants and this proved to be the powerful one! Apologies to readers, we know most of you like me would hate to even discuss shows based on Indian family sagas, but as the saying goes..Love it or Hate it but you cannot ignore it. We surely cannot ignore this one, one of the longest running shows of Indian television history which was watched from the youngest member of the family(majboori mein yaar, In the days of 1 television set per household, after all who could dare to snatch remote from mummy’s or dadi’s hold) to the oldest one !!. The show focused on Indian Gujrati family and the intricate relations, their love, hatred, respect for each other and how it changed as the generations changed.

8. Sarabhai Vs Sarbhai

Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai Maaya Roshes
One of the most loved comedy shows in the recent history

One of our favorites, again another family show from star’s stable but it this tickled one and all. To put in simple words, it’s a contest between the classy, stylish, and sophisticated Maya Sarabhai and her massy, bargain queen and “middle class” daughter in law, Monisha Sarbhai. This rainbow family has other masala items as well, The mumma’s boy and the Master of third class poetry- Rosesh(Rajesh Kumar), the ever witty ,Indravadan (Satish shah) and The only sane guy- Sahil(Sumit Raghvan).The  show got positive reviews from critiques and audience alike and got a cult following. Although the makers have denied a second season but the audience still hopes to see this classic family once again. Amen.

So, these were some of the shows, which have defined the existence of Indian television in these 25 years, we are sure you would have got your own favorites. Do mention those in the comments below, we would love to relive the glorious years once again !!

Written by Anurag Mahajan

I am a wanderer in this world full of emotions, mystical creations,imaginations & relations. There is a curious traveler inside me who wants to explore , create and understand the what and how of things by experiencing them and not by hearing them from somebody else. It is this zeal which has motivated me to explore and share my experiences with others.

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