Television in the 1980s and ’90s meant Doordarshan. Who of that vintage can forget shows such as Fauji, Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, Shanti, Bharat Ek Khoj, Surabhi and Mahabharata? The channel turns 60 this month. To mark the occasion, we put together a list of classic DD shows that are now available to stream on Amazon Prime and Hotstar. 

‘Malgudi Days’

Remember Malgudi Days (pictured above)? 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. Tune in to watch 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
Malgudi Days - Doordarshan Hotstar

‘Jai Hanuman’

Created and directed by Sanjay Khan, Jai Hanuman was a much-loved mythological series that chronicled the life of the Hindu monkey god, Hanuman. Starring Raj Premi, Irrfan Khan (yes, he had humble beginnings) and Siraj Mustafa Khan, it enjoyed a long run on DD Metro, the sister channel of Doordarshan. 

Director: Sanjay Khan
Cast: Raj Premi, Irrfan Khan, Siraj Mustafa Khan
Streaming on: Hotstar
Jai Hanuman - Doordarshan - Hotstar

‘Shaktimaan’

The West may have Superman and Batman, India has Shaktimaan. The man has so many superpowers (flight, super strength, x-ray vision, telekinesis, teleportation, telepathy) that others are put to shame. It starred Mukesh Khanna in the eponymous role and as Shaktimaan’s alter ego, Pandit Gangadhar Vidyadhar Mayadhar Omkarnath Shastri, a photojournalist. The success of the show spawned dubbed versions in Tamil, English, Odia and Malayalam, and also a television film, Hamara Hero Shaktimaan (2013). 

Director: Dinker Jani
Writers: Ghalib Asad Bhopali, Brijmohan Pandey
Cast: Mukesh Khanna, Kitu Gidwani, Vaishnavi Mahant, Surendra Pal
Streaming on: Amazon Prime

Shaktimaan - Doordarshan - Amazon Prime

‘Fauji’

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 a Bollywood superstar 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
Fauji - Doordarshan - Amazon Prime - Shah Rukh Khan

‘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 around Ranjit and Renu Verma (Shafi Inamdar and Swaroop Sampat) and Renu’s brother Raja (Rakesh Bedi), and the comedy of their lives. The other notable actor was Satish Shah, dubbed the ‘king of comedy’ by the media in the 1980s, 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
Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi - Doordarshan - 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
Zabaan Sambhalke - Doordarshan - Amazon Prime

‘Raja Aur Rancho’

India’s best crime-solving duo in the mid-1990s was Detective Raja and his pet monkey, Rancho. The two foiled many a nefarious plot every week on screen, had terrific chemistry and made for an incredible crime-busting team. Also, Rancho the monkey, who played himself, was pretty adorable to watch.     

Director: Murali Nallapa
Cast: Mohan Bhandari, Ved Thapar, Rancho the monkey
Streaming on: Amazon Prime
Raja Aur Rancho - Doordarshan - Amazon Prime