Oldish Gold

Inspired by my fellow blogger and close friend Neelanjana, whose superb blog can be read here,I’ve decided to follow her lead and write a post on the good ol’ serials of yore,when a certain Miss Kapoor’s brain was free of the K mineral.Without further ado,here goes:

1.Byomkesh Bakshi:

This wonderment of a serial,originally a series of short stories and novels by the Bengali novelist Saradindu Bandopadhyay,was turned into a 25 episode serial by Basu Chatterjee,way back in 1993.It was aired on Doordarshan and starred the uniquely and supremely talented Rajit Kapoor as the main lead,Byomkesh Bakshi and the ever versatile KK Raina as Ajit. Of course,I was oblivious to the talent of the actors and the screenplay and plot made no sense,me being six years old at that time.But something about the serial just stood out.I vividly remember a scene where Byomkesh pins down a murder suspect effortlessly and manages to keep him from escaping till the cops arrive.Also,the title tune was catchy.Not completely eerie,but not soothing either.This was a winner all the way.

2. Shriman Shrimati:

Shriman Shrimati was a hilarious take on marriage and infidelity. It first aired on DD in 1989 but had reruns in the later years.It had an ensemble cast comprising Jatin Kanakia as the meek Keshav Kulkarni,the smart and wise housewife Kokila,played by the superb Reema Lagoo,the effervescent and bubbly Prema Shalini,played by Archana Puran Singh (who was actually a delight to watch on screen) and finally,the immensely likeable and gifted actor Rakesh Bedi,who played Prema’s bumbling and philandering husband Dilruba.You can read more about the serial here. The spats between Keshav and Dilruba brought the house down.You could not help but smile widely at the painstaking efforts the two male leads took to impress the females and then fall flat on their face.All the four actors made their characters utterly believable and that is what made this serial such a big hit amongst the masses.

3. Star Bestsellers:

Now I loved this show from the depths of my heart. It aired on Star Plus and in my opinion,the best show ever to come out of the channel.I could not wait for Saturday nights,when I would turn down all the lights and sit huddled up under blanket and watch the show.There used to be a new story,a new episode each week and barring a few,the shows were an utter delight to watch.Crisp storytelling and towering performances at their best.This show introduced me to the powerhouse called Irrfan Khan,and several now-prominent Bollywood directors like Anurag Kashyap,Tigmanshu Dhulia,Imtiaz Ali and Sriram Raghavan.I remember many of the episodes very clearly even now,after almost eleven years of its last run.There was one about a psychopath killer on the loose (this was my first ever experience of watching horror on TV), a lovey dovey story on the internet, one about a housing society called Gulmohar (I used to live in a similar society so I could connect with it instantly) ,one about a woman who hitchhikes a ride and finds herself in the worst nightmare of her life.But the one which I loved the most was the Irrfan Khan-Tisca Chopra-Himani Shivpuri starrer.It begins as a simple story,with a newly married couple (Irrfan and Tisca) staying as paying guests with an elderly couple.Irrfan played a shopkeeper and Himani essayed the role of the elderly housewife.This story had a major twist in the end that still amazes me.Another story which stayed with me starred Aditya Shrivastava (Inspector Abhijeet of CID) and Nikki Aneja Walia (Dr.Simran of Astitva:Ek Prem Katha) as a bestselling novelist involved in a serious car crash,incapacitating him and a deranged woman who lives alone in a deserted part of the country respectively.The premise was borrowed from a Stephen King novel,Misery,but it had its own flavor.I couldn’t digest Nikki as the affable Dr.Simran for a long time, after I had seen her essay this character.They were both excellent. Serials of this kind prove time and again that a solid script and talented actors can produce wonders on screen,with mininum funding.I’d love to catch the reruns someday.

4.Family No. 1

This was a complete family entertainer in every sense of the word. Kanwaljeet Singh starred as a single dad with three kids Rahul ( a certified Mogambo devotee),Rashmi (addicted to makeup) and Guddu (a smarty pants) and Tanvi Azmi starred as a single mom with three kids Dev (loves karate,but is a simpleton),Bharti (a mother hen) and Toofan (a hulk with a pea sized brain).The two families occupy the two halves of a house and are constantly at loggerheads with each other.The hapless parents are often cast aside,while the vastly contrasting personalities of the six youngsters provided all the necessary humor.A wholesome show,full of wisecracks,cool parents,madcap children and a happily-ever-after feeling.

5.Rishtey:

No,I am so not referring to a hideous movie by the same name.This Rishtey appeared on Zee Tv and I was hooked the minute I stumbled onto it.Quite similar to Star Bestsellers,this showcased a story a week.Human interest stories formed the bulk of the episodes and each one was a gem.All of them engaging,all plots plausible,the characters flesh-and-blood.The one where Renuka Shahane played a single mom to a cute lil kid who is in a dilemma whether or not to marry her good friend is etched in my memory,for the sheer simplicity of the story.Another one,where a little girl wants her dad to get married to her teacher also tugs at your heart strings.The show touched on life issues,be it a young girl’s determination to succeed without offering bribes or influence or the arrogant son’s realization that life isn’t all about money or the rift between two sisters because of personality clashes,Rishtey brought forward a fresh breath of air in television.

6. Tehkikaat:

Tehkikaat,aired on DD,was the first crime based show I watched.Being very young at that point of time,I believed in everything which was shown.Like,when a character was stabbed to death,I used to think he/she is dead forever.There is one particular scene which remains in my memory till date.A man,faking his own death,lying in a bathtub full of water,only to open his eyes and terrify the detective who comes to investigate.It starred Vijay Anand as the detective,Sam and Saurabh Shukla as his sidekick,Gopi.Not very slick when compared to today’s crime shows,but it was the first of its kind and did a pretty good job.

(I could not get a suitable image for the following shows)

7.Swabhimaan: This first aired on DD National in 1997. I still remember the title song.It went like this.

 Ek pal,hai zindagi;ek pal kuch bhi nahi.Kahe ka gham,kaisi khushi;ghadiyaan hai na,ek sadi.

Or something to that effect.It starred Kitu Gidwani,Naseer Abdullah,Anju Mahendroo,Ronit Roy,Kunika,Manoj Bajpai,Achint Kaur,Ashutosh Rana,Sandhya Mridul,Harsh Chhaya,Simone Singh (all very famous and noted names in the telly and film world as of now) et al in pivotal roles.The story was basically about business tycoons,inter family rivalry,legal disputes,property disputes etc.But it was handled in a very mature and non dramatic way,which is why it ran for a long time.

8.Shanti: Before Mandira Bedi became synonymous with a certain food type,she was a powerful performer in the all dark drama,Shanti,aired on good ol’ DD. She essayed the title character of a woman whose parentage is unknown with aplomb.The other principal characters on the show,Kamesh Mahadevan,played by Yatin Karyekar and Raj Singh,played by Amar Talwar,were equally stolid.The entire show was like hanging on a cliffhanger.Secrets would be revealed at every turn and the twists were really twisted.The story had a fresh appeal to it and it wrapped up neatly.I still think of Mandira as Shanti,whenever I look at her.

9.Hum Sab Ek Hai: This aired on Sony TV.A perfect blend of patriotism,humor and people of all nationalities living under the same roof.Jatin Kanakia played Brig.Kachroo,a strict but loving husband to his wife Bharti,and three sons Mohan (Rakesh Bedi;hilarious),Sohan (Dilip Joshi;fantastic) and Rohan (Deven Bhojani;side splitting).The three sons have wives from different parts of India.Mohan is married to Manjeet (Dolly Bindra was born for this role.She was truly amazing) a golden hearted loudmouth from Punjab.The music maestro Sohan is married to Protima,a Bengali,who is meek and in awe of her husband’s apparent genius and Rohan is married to Preeti,a Gujarati,whose aim in life is to serve dhokla to everyone she meets.The ensemble of characters created a perfect harmony on the screen.I loved this show.Unfortunately,there were no reruns.

That’s it then.Readers may kindly point out any mistakes and/or any shows I might’ve missed.

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2 thoughts on “Oldish Gold

  1. Brilliant post Palla!!
    I can’t believe I forgot about Star Bestsellers. I do remember the episode about Gulmohar. I wish I could also remember the Irrfan Khan-Tisca Chpra one. It was some TV show, eh? Beautiful!

    Same goes for Family No.1and Shreemaan Shrimati .Nobody who has had the misfortune to watch Comedy circus would ever believe that Archana Puran Singh could actually act once upon a time 🙂

    Hey, I just remembered something that we both forgot to include- Tu tu main main!! Again, a popular and light-hearted show!

    PS: When did you start blogging at wordpress? Blogrolling this one too 🙂

  2. LOVED this post. There used to be a show called Pukar? Do you remember?
    I also enjoyed Dekh Bhai Dekh (was this the name?) a family show, starring a joint family, very different from the kind we see on the TV now – directed by Jaya Bachchan, starring Navin Nishcol, Farida Jalal and many others.

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