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Revisiting the nostalgia of the Doordarshan era

-Riya Ganguly

One of India’s largest and most popular broadcasters, Doordarshan turned 62 on September 15, 2021. Started by the Indian government in 1959, Doordarshan soon became a staple in every Indian household with its wide range of entertainment and news content, from TV serials and films to daily news bulletins to live sports broadcasts. Covering a vast array of regional languages, Doordarshan is also the only sports channel to broadcast local and rural Indian sports such as kho-kho and kabaddi.

As DD National celebrated the 62 glorious years on twitter, the social networking site was replete with tweets tagged with #Doordarshan and #MemoriesWithDD, revisiting the nostalgia of the Doordarshan era as people commented on their favorite shows on what is commonly dubbed as the Netflix and Amazon Prime of the past generation. Here are some of the most memorable shows we grew up with since childhood:

Ramayan and Mahabharat

Ramayan and MahabharatDoordarshan began the trend of making serials out of the Indian mythological marvels, captivating the whole nation with its glamorous sets and star casts and transporting the viewers to the epical eras. Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan (airing from 1987 to 1988), and BR Chopra’s Mahabharat (running from 1988 to 1990) were sensational to the awestruck viewers, making a much-appreciated comeback as the series were aired on popular channels to entertain the COVID lockdown-struck public in their homes.

Hum Log

Hum LogThe first Indian soap opera and serial drama, Hum Log garnered immense popularity in its portrayal of the typical 80’s Indian middle-class family. Narrated masterfully by the veteran actor Ashok Kumar using witty limericks and monologues, the serial completed its successful 17-month run, portraying the trials and tribulations of the typical Indian family.

Chitrahaar

ChitrahaarFeaturing popular songs from famous Bollywood movies, this 30-minute weekly segment immediately became a firm favourite, fascinating regional as well as international audiences with its filmy beats. The entertainment program also came to be adopted as a literacy initiative, as same-language subtitling was employed to engage viewers, capitalizing on the popularity of the segment to promote literacy across India.

Shaktimaan

ShaktimaanThe first Indian superhero on screen, Shaktimaan captivated audiences with his heroics and marvels way before the Marvel Cinematic Universe took over the superhero universe. Airing for eight long years from 1997 to 2005, Mukesh Khanna enthralled audiences across the country with his portrayal of the eponymous superhero and his geeky alter-ego, the newspaper photographer Gangadhar.

Malgudi Days

Malgudi DaysA hit among children, R.K. Narayan’s classic short stories were brought to life with T.S. Narasimhan’s 1986 TV series. Filmed in Hindi as well as English and running for 54 episodes through four seasons, the show perfectly captured the childlike innocence of Swami and his friends and the simplicity of their familial lives in the fictional village of Malgudi.  

Byomkesh Bakshi

Byomkesh BakshiThe first TV series based on Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay’s iconic detective figure, Byomkesh Bakshi has attained cult status today, maintaining its status as the most celebrated adaptation of the beloved Bengali sleuth among a myriad of adaptations. Received favourably by critics as well as viewers, the show, starring Rajit Kapoor and K.K. Raina in leading roles, ran for 32 episodes from 1993-1997, re-telecast in March 2020 during the nation-wide lockdown period.

Buniyaad

BuniyaadThe 1986 Hindi soap opera was a unique serial exploring the life and struggles of a classic Indian family in the aftermath of the partition of India. Starring well-known names such as Alok Nath, Dalip Tahil, Soni Razdan and Rajesh Puri, the family drama gained popularity as it ran for 105 episodes till 1987. It is critically appreciated for subtly depicting the domestic scenes during partition times, an angle often lost in the glory of Indian independence, as the show dealt with sombre themes of partition, familial separation and reconciliation while maintaining the nostalgic simplicity of the times.  

Also read: Weekend movies to enjoy with children 

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