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Remember The Good Old Days Of Indian Television?

Posted: June 11, 2015

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Though we are bombarded by new serials and shows each day on the television these days, yet it hardly attract us the way the good old days of Indian Television did. A reader recounts her tale. 

A cable TV connection at home, which boasts of a hundred channels; yet, I did not find anything absorbing to watch. Some were news channels, depressing and sad. Some were movies, but I could not sit through them. I am also not a big fan of the channels that shows animals’ lives. Owing to the late hours, even the cartoon channels were off the air.  Some were reality shows but were so unreal. It all seemed scripted. It is nice to hear good music; however, the dance and entertainment kind of reality shows have all lost their attraction for me. How can we cash in on one person’s tears and emotions?

The serials in the regional languages have become too typical. Some may be good, as some of my friends claim. However, I felt even more cheated after watching a few of them. The loud make-up the women wear, the hatred in their eyes, forever formally dressed as if they were stepping out for a wedding and the display of strained relationships in the families.

I remember those childhood days when we used to wait eagerly the entire week for those wonderful serials.

I remember those childhood days when we used to wait eagerly the entire week for those wonderful serials. Those days, there was no concept of mega serials that came each day. One serial that comes instantly to my mind is Udaan.’ It showed the ambition and determination of a girl aspiring to be an IPS officer. I still recall a scene vividly. Here this girl (the adult version played by the famous ‘Lalitaji’ of the Surf advertisement) sees her dad ploughing the field. The plough is too heavy to lift and she watches him struggle and fight with all his energy and very slowly (no dramatic music or slow motion here) lift it up. Her eyes reflect pride, relief and steel-like determination. Life’s lesson learnt from her father – to fight on.

Another unforgettable serial is Fauji. Shah Rukh Khan played his role with charm. His character gained instant popularity. If I remember it right, it was on Wednesdays that they used to air this serial. All my classmates had the typical teenage crush on this serial’s actors and we used to gather early next day morning to discuss the serial.

My close friends and I used to watch Invisible Man anxiously. It was our first step from Enid Blyton books to the sci-fi world. After 2 years, I remember reading Robin Cook’s books with the same excitement. The father of television quiz shows in India, Siddhartha Basu’s Quiz Time was a hot favourite too. I remember an animation series called Barbapapa. I loved these creatures. I was amazed how they could change their shapes and solve any problem. I wished that there were a bicycle for me, next minute changing into a skipping rope then to a pink cloud where I could float around!

I love Lucy was the one serial where I would literally fall on the floor laughing. I do not remember the stories very clearly; however, the loud laughter straight from my heart is distinct in my memory, even today. How Lucy could put herself in various funny and ridiculous situations, I really did love Lucy! Well, the evergreen Different Strokes was a favourite as well. There was one neat and serious serial in Hindi titled Parivartan. It finished in a couple of weeks and had a very different story. A story about two people from rival business families, who are kidnapped. One is a pregnant daughter-in-law and the other a wayward son.

I wish there would be a refreshing change in the current telecasts. The focus should be to deliver outstanding stories. Stories that inspire us, that are unique and from our rich Indian literature and some which makes us forget our worries and laugh to our heart’s content. As I write this, other favourite serials tumble out of my memory. Thank god, I have not forgotten them. Those stories are still safely stored in the channels of my mind.

Shahrukh Khan in the television serial Fauji image via Facebook

First published here

Archana was raised in Chennai and lives in Dubai.She was a banking professional for

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