Doordarshan Nostalgia : It was not an ‘idiot’ box then nor were we

Days of Doordarshan

Spending countless hours before the screen is a fav. Timepass these days. Many people have got RAS by pushing the remote buttons continuously. However there was a time when watching tv was ultimate experience after the days hectic schedule.

My house was one of the few who had televisions in the village. My neighbors gathered to watch the popular serials at that time starting from Hum Log to Recent ones like shaktiman. Here are the few serials I remember and happy that I saw them.

Very contrary to todays no brains daily soaps which show pretty women clad in expensive sarees and jewellery and moving around in big sedans this serial was truly a family drama. A middle class family with their every day problems and some unforgettable characters alikeness’s Ram and a mausi whose name i cant remember. Written by /manihar Shyam Joshi a low profile marathi author this serial was a landmark.

Every family of that time could see characters that resembled them or their surroundings. Love, hatred, faith and fate the serial showed all this in a manner that made this serial a classic.

Despite of poor production values this serial was a mega hit on tv. Arun Gowil and Deepika lived the indian legends on the tv screen. Directed by Ramanand sagar this serial gave every indian an image of Ram and Sita which they could imagine.

It was not just the serial but it was the faith of people in the epic that pulled them to this serial. The serial too in my opinion did justice to the story and portrayed the perfect couple well on the screen. I still remember how eagerly I and everybody else use to wait for this serial every Sunday. People stared the tv not only with amusement but with a faith as well.

‘Mein kaal hoon’ use to be the first line of this serial. I loved the character Arjun while everybody loved Krishnaa played by Nitin Bharadwaaj who had almost become synonymous with Lord Krishna. I use to cry if they did not show war scenes in one episode and my mother use to have tough time explaining why the war did not take place. She use to tell me that the Arjun’s arrows had got over that is why the war was postponed. I read mahabharat many times after that and every time I came across Arjun in the book I visualized the Arjun in Mahabharat.
This serial helped a generation to understand the value of mahabharat and introduce the convent going kids to the different characters in the worlds biggest epic.
Hardly any ones knows much about mahabharat these days and reading such books are considered to be waste of time or getting communal. The true wisdom in the story remains untouched in todays society while the legend of Krishna remains prisoned in the Temples only.

Frankly I never appreciated this serial when it was being aired. It was after 5 years that I learnt that the serial was an television incarnation of legendary cartoon figure ‘The Common Man’ by R. K. Laxman. The common man was heard speaking for the first time the serial. Wagle had his own Dunia which was not much different from the world around each one of us. Today the Indian Middle class had changed a lot and the story might look irrelevant on modern terms however I liked the serial when it was re-aired on DD-Delhi 5 years later.

This was a serial that inspired me. Especially the first few episodes of struggle and failures faced by a journalist portrayed by Shekahar Suman. I think I am one of the few people who have seen him performing a serius role so well. Supported by Nandu ‘Makarnad Kulkarni’ this serial was my and my fatehrs fav. We together use to see this serial while struggling not to sleep. 10:30 was too late in our house at that time.

It was then when I loved Shahrukh as abhimanu rai a commando in Indian Army. His impeccable acting soared patrotism in the hearts of we kids.
The scene in which a soldier dies while controlling his sneeze was the best scene I ever saw on television. The serial shares a corner of my heart along with Abhimanyu Rai. However I dont find Shahrukh there.


Malgudi was not just a small village but it was a prototype of India. Swami was not just a character but a figure represented Indian children. I did not posses the vison to understand this serial when it was aired for the first time but I wa it on POGO recently. Each small story had a message. A message that touched our hearts and forced us to look around us for the characters in the episode. Swami was a hero in every house at that time. It showed the cosmopoliton metamorphism of Indian villages very nicely. I am yet to start earning otherwise I would have bought and read the origianal book.


Many people heard these names for the first time when this serial was aired. However I was already familiar with these characters better than anybody else through the original stories. Vikram in reality was the best king India ever saw and his greatness was spread with this stories. He had answer for every question Betaal had his comittment to his duty brought him back to the Samshaan.
Every story had a message that was discussed in form of question and answers by vikram and betaal.

I am really nostalgic about this characters and I feel bad that my kids perhaps will never get to hear about them.


Kashmeer is beautiful and this story took Kashmeer to every part of India. Everybody loved these characters for the reasons I never understood, I never understood the serial may be my young mind was not developed enough to understand horros and tormoils of the valley.

The list does not end here there are many more names which I am not able to recollect right now. You are not always an idiot to sit in front of the television. However recently I have stopped watching serials for the only reason that I feel very stupid watching them. I watch only CNBC and HBO/STAR MOVIES these days.

2 thoughts on “Doordarshan Nostalgia : It was not an ‘idiot’ box then nor were we

  1. If you want to read a reader’s feedback 🙂 , I rate this post for four from five. Decent info, but I just have to go to that damn google to find the missed parts. Thank you, anyway!

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