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, Shows you won't forget

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> Doordarshan@50, Shows you won't forget
post Sep 16 2009, 12:39 PM
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Doordarshan@50: Shows you won't forget

Jaya Biswas /

Published on Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 16:32, Updated on Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 19:05 in Entertainment section

as Doordarshan turns 50, let's take a trip down memory lane and look at the shows we'll never ever forget...

Byomkesh Bakshi: He was someone who came closest to our idea of Sherlock Holmes and I enjoyed watching it over and over again. With his inimitable style and wit, it was difficult not to fall in love with warm and intelligent dhoti-kurta clad Rajit Kapoor aka Byomkesh, who solved the most complicated cases in a jiffy. K K Raina as his assistant was Watson's counterpart in the show, who helped Byomkesh in every mystery he investigated. Wish they come up with DVDs.

Humlog: Now who can forget the first and longest running soap of the 1980s. Humlog, launched on July 7, 1984 was loved by one and all for its novelty. The plot revolved around a lower middle-class Indian family living in Delhi. The characters were unique in their own ways. A perpetually sloshed father who loved to sing, a long-suffering but hard-working mother; their three daughters and a son. Well, there were the grandparents; and the NRI cousins too. The eldest daughter, Badki was a feminist; the second daughter Majhli wanted to be a singer and have fun in life. The youngest, Chhutki, was still in school. The son wanted to make quick money, and got involved with a rich girl (marrying money). The soap also had Ashok Kumar, the veteran actor who played the sutradhar, summarising each episode at the end. Sometimes fun, sometimes painful, the show captured a slice of life.

Nukkad: Guru, Radha, Khopadi, Ghanshu, Ganpat and Hari jostling at Kadarbhai's hotel sipping hot cup of tea...well, that's what we still get to see at every nukkad, right? The characters had almost become part of audiences' daily lives. In a particular episode where we see Hari riding the bicycle continuously for days so he could set a record and get some money, audiences actually prayed for his victory. Their hopes came crashing down to see him collapse in the final lap. Truly a moment etched out in time.

Mahabharat: The year 1988 saw the launch of BR Chopra's magnum Opus on TV, Mahabharat. Kids of this generation may be aware of Ekta Kapoor's latest version but, BR Chopra with his Mahabharat gave the television industry actors like Mukesh Khanna, Nitish Bharadwaj and Rupa Ganguly who are still remembered for their stints in the show. Mahabharat, India's greatest epic is a story based on an ancient Sanskrit verse of sibling rivalry interwoven with mythological history of India. The 94-episode series was later shown on BBC for two years. The special effects used were amazing for that time. Thankfully, this complete story is brought graphically, vividly and spectacularly to DVD by BR Chopra and Ravi Chopra.

Buniyaad: Ramesh Sippy's Buniyaad enthralled and fascinated audiences in the '80s and set the benchmark for the Indian television industry. A star-studded cast with the likes of Alok Nath, Kiran Juneja, Kanwaljeet, Kulbhushan Kharbhanda, Abhinav Chaturvedi, Kruttika Desai among others, contributed to Buniyaad's instant success. Produced by Sippy Films, Buniyaad ruled the television sets for some time. People would not move out of their houses in case they missed the show. Buniyaad was about the trials and tribulations of Master Haveliram and his family during the partition. Having left most of their material possessions in the present Pakistan, armed with nothing but memories, how Master Haveliram, Lajoji, their sons and daughter try to settle down in their new home in India formed the crux of the story. Buniyaad was the story of struggle that most Indian families faced during the partition.

Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi: A sitcom about a couple (Shafi Inamdar and Swarup Sampat), Shafi's brother-in-law (Rakesh Bedi), and the trouble they get into, this show was a big crowd puller in the year 1984-85. That was a time people could see deserted streets in most of the over crowded Indian cities whenever there were sitcoms on Indian television screens. It was one of the first sitcoms and one of the biggest hit shows on Indian television after the state owned channel, Doordarshan, started sponsoring its programmes.

Even the box-office openings in cinemas were affected due to the airing of the show. A trademark of the show were the characters played by actor Satish Shah. In each episode, Shah donned a different avatar. These characters would be regular people like a plumber or repair guy, a prospective servant, someone from the street who wants to use their bathroom, and so on. Shah played these characters exceedingly well using unique mannerisms and accents from all over India and had other affectations which kept the audience enraptured.

Ramayan: They say the Lord incarnated upon the earth nine times. The seventh avatar was that of Ram. Ramanand Sagar's Ramayan covered the entire story in detail up to Ram's coronation. When Ramayan aired, India came to a standstill. Buses stopped running, religious services were rescheduled, and everyone stopped what they were doing for 30 minutes every Sunday morning to watch the ancient Indian epic brought to life on television. It's hard to believe that something like that is possible, but it really happened. Despite being dismissed by some as a cheap production with garish sets, cheesy special effects, and melodramatic dialogue, Ramayan was and continues to be a phenomenon.

Mr Yogi: Mohan Gokhale played Mr Yogi who comes to India in search of a bride. Om Puri plays sutradhar who directs the story of Yogi. The story revolves around Yogi and his search for a perfect bride. The ending episode had Yogi marrying Om Puri's daughter. 13 episodes and 13 girls. Hilarious.

Mungerlilal Ke Haseen Sapney: This was a popular Hindi TV comedy serial directed by Prakash Jha that revolved around the life of Mungeri Lal. Raghuveer Yadav was Mungerilal who dreamt. His dream always started with the twitching of his eye. Mungerilal, a small time clerk got bossed around by his wife at home and by his boss at office. To top that, Mungerilal's father in law rubbed salt on his wounds by exaggerating his own achievements as police inspector. Mungerilal overcame all this by day dreaming, where he took revenge on his boss, his father-in-law. Mungerilal also dated his beautiful colleague. As he basked in the glory of his accomplishments, his wife would wake him up to ruin his dream. The serial was based on James Thurber's novel The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Fauji: It was the serial that introduced Shah Rukh Khan to Indian television. Shah Rukh had actually started shooting for another serial called Dil Dariya first, but Fauji was the first one to be aired. One interesting point was that he forced Shah Rukh to cut his hair for the serial. Fauji was about a batch of trainees into a commando school, their training and eventual induction as soldiers. Shah Rukh Khan was Abhimanyu Rai, a bright, young, but naughty trainee. Fauji (1988) was a TV series about the daily life of an Indian Army regiment. SRK became an overnight heartthrob. The character gained instant popularity due to its charm, peppiness and the exuberance with which Khan essayed the role. The success paved way for Shah Rukh's next series (Circus) and his foray into filmdom.

Circus: In the second tele-serial, Circus, SRK played the son of a circus owner who comes back from USA and is forced to take control of a failing circus. It had Renuka Sahane playing Shah Rukh's love interest. The serial worked for their chemistry. People simply loved to watch the cute couple together on screen. Directed by Aziz Mirza, the show also had most of the actors from Nukkad. Filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker also played a role in it.

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