4 Doordarshan Shows To Revisit This World Television Day

4 Doordarshan Shows To Revisit This World Television Day

By Manasi Rawalgaonkar20 November, 2020 3 min read
4 Doordarshan Shows To Revisit This World Television Day

Doordarshan, India’s only public broadcaster, started transmitting broadcasts in 1959 in Delhi, later expanding to Mumbai and Amritsar. When Indian small screen programming began in the early 1980s, Doordarshan churned out quality content that kept the citizens of the country informed and entertained. Every year, November 21 is celebrated as World Television Day to honour the role the television plays by highlighting the power of media and showcasing world issues. As we doff our metaphorical hat to our favourite electronic gadget (after the phone), let’s take a walk down memory lane to the golden era of Indian TV, the 1980s and 1990s. Some of the shows from the time are currently streaming on various platforms.

‘Malgudi Days’

A few of writer RK Narayan’s 32 short, slice-of-life stories set in the fictional town of Malgudi were televised and made into a show that was a requisite watch for everyone in growing up in the late 1980s. It featured veteran actors such as Girish Karnad, Anant Nag, Deven Bhojwani, Arundathi Nag and Dina Pathak.
Director: Shankar Nag
Writer: RK Narayan
Cast: Master Manjunath, Girish Karnad, Anant Nag, Deven Bhojwani
Streaming on: Hotstar


Everyone who knows Shah Rukh Khan’s story knows this is where his career began. The dreamy-eyed boy from Delhi who went on to become King Khan had humble television beginnings. Fauji followed the lives of trainee commandos in the Indian Army, from their training to induction as soldiers.
Director and writer: Raj Kapoor
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Vikram Chopra, Vishwajeet Pradhan
Streaming on: Amazon Prime

‘Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi’

In 1984, a sitcom called Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi changed not just the careers of the actors that starred in it, but also set the tone (and the bar) for comedy on Indian screens. The story centered on Ranjit and Renu Verma (Shafi Inamdar and Swaroop Sampat) and Renu’s brother Raja (Rakesh Bedi). The other notable actor was Satish Shah, who played a different character in each episode.
Directors: Kundan Shah, Manjul Sinha, Raman Kumar
Writer: Sharad Joshi
Cast: Shafi Inamdar, Swaroop Samat, Rakesh Bedi, Satish Shah
Streaming on: Amazon Prime

‘Zabaan Sambhalke’

This hilarious sitcom was a Hindi adaptation of the British comedy, Mind Your Language. Starring Pankaj Kapoor as Mohan Bharti, the harried Hindi professor to a motley bunch of students from all corners of the country, it was one of the most popular shows on DD Metro. The cast comprised well-known actors such as Shubha Khote, Tom Alter, Viju Khote, Vivek Vaswani and Bhavana Balsavar.
Director: Rajiv Mehra
Writers: Saleem Agha, Shaukat Baig, Rajender Mehra
Cast: Pankaj Kapur, Shubha Kote, Tom Alter, Vivek Vaswani, Tanaaz Currim Irani
Streaming on: Amazon Prime

However, not all our loved shows have managed to cross over to the digital side. These are a few we fervently hope make it to one of our favourite content streaming platforms sooner than later.


Govind Nihalani’s Tamas, based on Bhisham Sahni’s eponymous novel depicted the violence and unrest in Pakistan following Partition. The critically acclaimed miniseries starred Om Puri, Deepa Sahi, Amrish Puri and A K Hangal.

‘Bharat Ek Khoj’

Based on Jawaharlal Nehru’s book, The Discovery of India, this show had Roshan Seth ably essay Pandit Nehru as he took the audience through India’s 5,000-year-old history. Directed and written by Shyam Benegal, the cast also included Om Puri, Tom Alter and Sadashiv Amrapurkar.

‘Byomkesh Bakshi’

Directed by Basu Chatterjee, this critically acclaimed show starred Rajit Kapur (pictured above) as Byomkesh Bakshi, a character created by writer Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay. Bakshi, a famed, fictional Bengali detective was a self-professed Satyanweshi (seeker of truth) who was aided in solving cases by his friend/sidekick Ajitkumar Banerji (K K Raina).


From 1988 to 1990, every Indian household had a typical Sunday. They would wake up, have breakfast and as soon as the timepiece struck Mahabarat o’clock, people would be glued to their TV set. So much so that the streets would be deserted. Such as was the impact of BR Chopra’s take on India’s greatest epic.


Fierce, feminist and fabulous, Rajani was the icon we needed and deserved. Played by the late Priya Tendulkar, she a champion for consumer rights who unflinchingly called out the government on their wrongdoings. We don’t know about you, but we could definitely do with a Rajani in today’s times too.


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Tags: #Byomkesh Bakshi #DD Metro #Doordarshan #Fauji #Mahabharat #Shah Rukh Khan #World Television Day
Manasi Rawalgaonkar
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Manasi Rawalgaonkar

I work hard to give my cats a better life.

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