Long before the present 100 or more satellite channels, countless odd never-ending serial, and even long before Ekta Kapoor’s saas bahu dramas there was television. I was small then. (Stupid sentence.) Going forward, I was small then and there were only two TV Channels. DD1 and DD2.
And then there were TV serials. And the point is that these serials had endings. There were no TRP then. No big sets and no big hoardings. They never needed it. There was no competition. But still they made serials and movies which you still remember.
It all started when I was searching one song titled “Subah” but I ended up downloading the title song of a serial “Subah”. I had heard the song somewhere but could not figure out where.
So, searching on Google (Where else?), I found only some mention of these serial. So I decided to take a trip down memory lane and note down something about the serials I remember. What started to be a small memory trip turned out to be a big series. So here goes the first one irresepective of any rating or the year they appear. I was writing as I remembered. I don’t know when I will stop. So please be kind enough to tolerate me.
India’s first big serial and strangely not about a big industrialist family (like serials today) but a very lower middle class family. The serial was shot on sets with the house of the family being only 2-3 rooms. The serial glued the whole of India. Most of the serial that time had 13 episodes. Which means that the story has to wrap in 13 episodes. “Hum log” went beyond 13 episodes. I don’t know how many but it did went for a long time and still it did not loose the grip on the story and was entertaining till the very last episode. Each episode ended with Ashok Kumar coming and explaining the episode and actually trying to find a moral in the episode. His explanation was acted by many mimicry artists. I still remember characters like Basesar Ram, lallu, Chutki, Nanhe, Dadi maa(Sushma Shresta in a over protective mother’s role). Amazing
The next big thing after “Hum Log”. A mega serial which almost ran for 2 years. Nothing compared to the serials which run for 3-4 years but a big achievement in those day. A story of a family which is caught in the partition and migrates to start from scratch. A classic story of lost and found. I still remember my mother and all the neighboring women sitting and discussing the story. I don’t remember much of the serial. But some of the characters like Alok nath and Anita Kanwar, Mazaar Khan, Kanwaljeet Singh. Alok Nath used to call his wife lajjoji.
Subah was a prime time hindi serial based on college life and drugs. R. D Burman composed the title song. It had everything from students, college life, drugs college rivalry. I think it showed the hero joining college, getting into drugs and then helped by his friends getting out. The title song was something like “Subah ko………. kar salaam”
I think it had Shekar Suman and Zarina Wahab. Can’t remember the story line but I remember it was a comedy.
Yeh jo Hai Zindagi
Remember the theme song “Yeh jo hai, yeh jo hai Zindagi”. Shafi Inamdaar. Rakesh Bedi, Swaroop Sampat, Tiku Talsania, Rakesh Bedi, Sulbha Arya and of course Satish Shah. Kundan Shah directed it. The serial was so famous that we use to wait for it every Friday. A fantastic way to end the week and welcome the weekend. Dialogues like “30 years ka experience” and “Yeh kya ho raha hai?” were on everybody lips. Satish Shah used to do different roles in each episode. Even today it’s a classic.
Again a serial based on drugs. Nice one became hugely popular. Title song went something like “Man ek seepi hai, asha moti hai har pal jeevan ka ek chunauti hai”
The first serial which dealt with big industrialist families. Shreeram lagoo played a industrialist and the story revolves what happens in the family for money. Something like the Ambanis today. You could find the same theme today in most of the serials but then it was different. It had TV stars of yesteryears, Jayant Kriplani, Mohan Bhandari, Neena Gupta. It had lot of bitching and back stabbing and all this was quite entertaining and interesting.