2008/03/04

Nostalgia binge Part I - Serials on DD

A stray conversation with A led to this post . A was probably knee high when these serials were aired but that didn't stop her from nodding along in cyberspace with me !

In the mid eighties Doordarshan pioneeered Hindi serials with India's first social content soap opera, Hum Log . Hum Log followed the trials, tribulations and the everyday life of a normal family. It had terrific performances by Vinod Nagpal and Sushma Seth among others Written by Manohar Shyam Joshi , it created a massive impact on television audiences .

It dealt with numerous social issues like dowry , the status of women ,alcoholism . At the end of each episode Ashok Kumar summarised the episode in the context of the social issues which were explored .. At the end of every episode, appropriate guides for community and individual action were provided in a summary by a famous actor.
Then there was Buniyaad in 1986, directed by Ramesh Sippy which was about the trials and tribulations of a family displaced from Pakistan during the Partition. Haveliram , Lajoji and their progeny became a part of the great Indian TV watching family as they sat on the floor , perched on chairs and sighed and clapped their way through the serial . It starred Alok Nath ( where is he ?), VijayendraGhatge with his brooding sardonic Mills and Boon looks , Veerawali - Kiran Juneja, Dalip Tahil , then less leonine but viallainous, nevertheless with his posh wife Soni Razdan ruled the small screen .
Weekdays were mapped with these serials because they not aired every day - weekends meant a potpourri of so many serials in the morning. Mahabaharata , Bharat Ek Khoj by ShyamBenegal which was a phenomenal serial based on Nehru's Discovery Of India - talking points were the lavish costums of the commercial Mahabharata vis a vis the realistic costumes that Benegal used for his serial .

There was Karamchand Pankaj Kapoor with his famous byline "Kitty dont be silly" ,and his carrots and the theme Karamchaaaaaaaaaaaaand !And please don't forget a very young green around the ears Shahrukh Khan in Circus and Fauji.

Oops how could I forget Khandaan - we'd hang over the balcony in our hostel , peering into the neighbour's house where the television was angled towards us ,sighing over rich bitch Neena Gupta's ishtyle as she rode roughshod over the other characters .It also starred Neena Gupta, Dr. Shreeram Lagoo, Mohan Bhandari, Jayant Kripalani.
Oh and there was Aziz Mirza's Nukkad which followed the misadventures of a group of layabouts who congregated at the corner of the street . Vikram and Vetaal and Dada Daadi ki khananiyan which were viewed when the nephews came to visit .
And who can forget Tamas ,writen by Bhisham Sahni and directed by Govind Nihalani , which was aired over , I think 3 Saturdays - spine chilling with of course terrific performances from Naseerunddin Shah and Deepa Sahi.

In the middle of the programmes when the link was disturbed a board would pop up with "Rukavat ke liye khed hai" - so one would have to sit twisting one's fingers till the link was restored .

Sigh ...life was much simpler then .No fights over the remote , no channel surfing, no horrendous soaps from the Ekta Kapoor stable , no saas bahu serials , no machinations, few villains .. hell how did we pass our time ???

Okay - we read and read and read , we watched movies every Saturday at the Ice Skating rinkand at movie halls , we loafed endlessly , we visited , secure in the knowledge that we would not be responsible for encroachments on people's viewing time , cricket was not a daily routine like cooking or bodily functions , we went for long drives in our second hand Fiat with baby Tupu asleep in my lap , we also ate phuchkas , Tupu perched on AG's shoulders , holding on to his hair firmly with fat little fists and watching us with beady eyes . We were so stupid, naive and unaware of social issues , the world around us , IPL.IPCL , 24/7 news - in fact we waited for the news till the next morning 's paper and all the cooking we knew came from cookbooks, our moms' kitchens and for reluctant young wives like me , the mother in law's kitchen . In fact till Jiggs Kalra waffled thru his moustache on Sunday morning TV , I didnt know what a chef's hat looked like ...

15 comments:

Thinking Cramps said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thinking Cramps said...

Oh, the names of all those serials rings a bell. And I think I would have been at least 7 or 8 when Nukkad happened. You forgot to mention Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi. Or didn't you watch that one?

Anyway, I remember and yet find it hard to believe that there was a time when switching on the TV at an odd hour of the day would mean only the 'jhir jhir' transmission we called 'rain', and when TV was not a companion on insomniac nights. So much else got done in those TV-less hours. And isn't it interesting (and significant) how TVs would be chastely covered, placed-in-a-corner items in the drawing room whereas now they have grown bigger and bigger and now form part of the decor of most drawing/living rooms?

hillgrandmom said...

Wasn't (and still not) much of a TV viewer. But i really like Nukkad.
yeah,life really was simpler those days wasn't it? Without the TV, my children played outdoors for long hours with their cousins, made up plays, and had fun even if the current went off.

A Muser said...

I was also about to point out the omission of the hilarious Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi -- we tuned in every week. Shafi Inamdar, Swaroop Sampat, Satish Shah and the unforgettable Vijay Kashyap and Sulbha Arya playing the Bong couple-next-door. And do not forget Chitrahaar on Wednesday nights and Chhaya Geet on Fridays. Also the Spider Man cartoon on Sunday mornings, reserved for hours of TV watching! God, "Mungeri Lal ke Haseen Sapne." And which was the serial with the character Y.I. Patel? It's amazing how the entire nation watched the same soaps at the same time -- creating a collective memory. And the commercials ... that requires a separate post!

ONEDIA said...

Social commentary after the serial..I truly like that. Sounds splendid to me. We all knew less than we thought and more than we thought in those days.

dipali said...

Those were the days, my friend.....
Lovely programs which were eagerly looked forward to. We hardly watch any serials these days. What I do like are the Hats Off productions- Sarabhai vs Sarabhai,and Baa, Bahu aur Baby. They also made Khichdi.

La delirante said...

I agree with Onedia that the social commentary after the serial sounds cool :) Nice memories :) I remember many TV series that were "in" when I was a child :)

Itchingtowrite said...

wish i cud se bharat ek khoj now. i wud hav appreciated it better
i used to love vikram vetal type of stuff too

Thinking Cramps said...

A Muser, I think that was Mr Yogi, wasn't it? Where he tries to find a suitable bride?

And yes, how can we forget Mungeri lal...I LOVED that!!

Does anyone remember Qiley Ka Rahasya?

A Muser said...

Yes, Anamika! Mr. Yogi, how could I forget? I even remember the song that went at the start -- god! And the way Mungeri Lal's eye would start winking when he'd begin to dream... Vaguely remember QKR, but also wanted to mention "Subah" which I thought was so realistic and relevant to the times as drug addiction was the biggest, newest thing in schools and colleges then. EL, sorry for taking up your space! It's a great post and one I'd been planning on doing for a while so I have so much to say!

eve's lungs said...

Aha the very intention of leaving out so many of them was that you should also contribute ! There was another serial by Sai Paranjpe which I forget but it was hilarious ! So was Mungerilal and Raag Darbari . Subah was a wonderful serial so was Qiley ka Rahasya which I watched fleetingly . Great to see this potpourri of comments !

Rimi said...

And you may turn up your noses and dismiss my twenty-three summers, but I'm what is called a younger contemporary of the times, given that I distinctly recall the phrase "TVta abar jhiri jhiri hoye gechhe" and all the acrobatics we would have the antenna perform every second or third day to cure it. And the "rukavat ke liye khed hai" board. AND the circle of blue and yellow light accompanied by music that came between commercials -- remember?

In your list of how you passed the time, you forgot to mention, mashi, that you also occasionally wrote letters. I know my grandparents certainly did, as did my parents and aunts and uncles in their younger days.

And the last line of the ninth paragraph and the beginning of the tenth reminds me of this:
http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/television/

Usha said...

Hello! Where is my comment?
This is happening to my comments regularly on the various blogs. Why doesn't blogspot like me?

eve's lungs said...

@Usha - well you can comment again I guess :) . I dont have comment moderation so whatever you put there comes up ..

Mystic Margarita said...

First-timer here. Love your blog :) I was in school when these wonderful serials were aired - despite the meagre production values, these were so rich in content and so relevant to our lives that all of us still love them. Maybe Ekta kapoor and her clan can learn a thing or two from them? Sai paranjpai's serial was Hum Panchi ek Chawl ke I believe. I used to love Subah and Chunauti - wonderful post - brought back a lot of pleasant memories.