Tuesday, October 11, 2005

My favourite programs from Doordarshan

A post after lots of rememberances and thoughts!

1. Didi's Comedy Show - "Dieter Hallervorden" was great - I wish someone were to rerun those great episodes of nonstop nonsense which were a great gift from German TV. He didn't speak any language in many parts of the the show and it was easy to see the universal language of humour. Other parts, the dubbing was so nice, that we as children could understand every part of the dialogue. My favorite ones include wallpaper episode, thievery in the next apartment, and a small skit called "Bamberga" etc :) . And to think, that it was shown on TV nearly 15-20 years ago.

2. Telematch - Another German serial that showed ludicrous costumes on ridiculous people. I loved it and would miss my studies to see it. Picked up some elementary German from it, something that sounded like "eich, diech, triech" (One, two, three). In retrospective, that was cool propoganda, showing how happy people were under communist rule. Something like the Soviet Magazines (Misha) and books (Raduga publications, Mir Publications) that made life in USSR look like heaven. From the time when I was 4-5, till about 1989, when I was 14, and the Berlin wall fell (The World This Week showed close coverage), I wanted nothing more than to goto the lovely Soviet land with dreamy-eyed visions of the great land which I saw in books.

3. I enjoyed the economics capsules that were made by Transtel (German Television). They taught me a lot about how cartoons can help me understand a topic that I had not studied in school till that time!

4. Kacchi Dhoop - nice serial with a beautiful storyline. I believe I was sufficiently sophisticated to appreciate good work by Amol Palekar, as far back as 1986! Of course, Bhagyashree made her debut in that serial and later on went on to star in the all-time hit "Maine Pyar Kiya"

5. Johnny Sokko and the Giant Robot - Who can forget those fingers that had missile firing systems in place of nails! Oh how I fell in love with that! Have a look at this website. If you want to download the opening song, click here

6. He-Man, Spiderman were good :) - You can download the spiderman opening song here

7. Derrick - A late favourite that I enjoyed in the early-mid nineties. Another German serial, it had an old detective and a younger assistant. Very tight direction. It was a very surprising serial, since nothing much seemed be happening at a given moment, but if one missed any consecutive 5 minutes (beginning, middle, end), then one lost all track and the story could not be understood at all. I think that is why my brother and I sat glued to the TV and watched it with our complete and undivided attention (10-11 PM daily)

8. British comedies - Yes Minister, Yes Prime Minister were great and proably the best comedies that I ever saw in my life (barring Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, Golmaal and Chupke Chupke). There was another serial that was about a departmental store and some whacky comedy, which sometime went over my head. British humour was and still is, subtler than American humour, which tends to be crass and loud. The only notable exception I have seen is Seinfeld, which has become my daily fix these days.

9. I Love Lucy - My initiation with American humour at the age of 6-8 was through this lovable piece. I did not know the great history behind those episodes and still enjoyed it thoroughly. What we were shown was probably fairly old, probably from the 1950s, since I recollect Lucille Ball as quite young. The favourite of us kids was a certain character called Mr. Moony, probably Lucy's brother. We used to call him "Mr. Mooli" (Mr. Radish) in our childish humour!

10. Vikram - Betal - No questions for guessing why we loved it. I had a fair amount of fascination with the question in the end and how the king would solve it since I did not have the brain to solve those great questions of morality and right conduct. But, I think my fascination was higher with the Betal - his fairly stupid makeup that made him more a source of laughter than fear! And I loved "Singhasan Battisi".

11. Of course, we had the staple favourites of Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Hum Log, Nukkad, Buniyad.

12. Does anyone remember Phatichar, Guniram, Bhim-Bhawani (Ashok Kumar-Anoop Kumar respectively), Mamaji (played by Deven Varma. the serial had the duo of Induji-Binduji with the pet dialogue "Indu to main hoon, yeh to Bindu hai!).

13. I enjoyed Rajni ("Ladki hai ek, naam Rajni hai, Rajni, Rajni, Rajni). I enjoyed "Idhar Udhar" with Rathna Pathak and Lilliput (forgot who else was there).

14. I vaguely remember watching Khandaan (Dr. Shreeram Lagoo and Neena Gupta as Ketki). I watched, but could not understand Trishna (Remember names like Sangeeta Handa and Kittu Gidwani).

15. Who remembers Mashoor Mahal with someone called, i think, Raman? And Baaton-Baaton Main with Vipin Handa?

16. Saptahiki!! Chitrahaar - I think it still comes on Wednesday (old songs) and Friday (new songs)!

17. Aap aur Hum? Krishi Darshan with Dr. Jawahar Jain and his "Pusa 407" and "Pachheti Buayee"? Andhi Galiyan (Program about deaddition from drugs)?

18. Ek Kahani was great. So was another program that was made by Cinevista and showed short stories. I think it was called "Katha Sagar".

19. DD made great plays. I loved watching one play about an old man who loves to eat freshly-dug, small potatoes that have been roasted on a fire and lets his wife die so that he can eat those potatoes in peace. Who can forget Ghasiram Kotwal, Agra Bazaar (Habib Tanweer, the director, as the Kakri-seller).

20. There was a serial called "Phir Wohi Talaash" in the early-mid nineties about a boy (played by Dr. Ashwini Kumar, a Delhi based doctor), who comes to the city to study and falls in love with a rich and beautiful girl. The boy's father was played by the guy who plays Jassi's father in Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin and my favourite scenes include one where he instructs someone to look after the shop with a stern warning "Kuch Khaiyo Mat" and the other one where he shouts at his son, who wants to study but the father wants him to sit at the shop; so he says "Ek toh Chori Chhupe Padhai Kar Lee, Aur Ab Himmat Dekho, Jaake Imtihaan Bhee De Aaya"! The girl has a friend who was played by Neelima Azeem and her romantic interest, an inspector was played by the guy who can be seen as Parvat Singh in Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin. There was another scene about "Hum Yahaan Se Sab Ko Kaadh Rahe Hain" to be mistaken as "Gaad Rahen Hain" - very hilarious.
The serial was very nice.

21. I loved Mr. Yogi and Space City Sigma along with Star Trek. We made the communicator used by Mr. Spock and his team, using a rubberband and two cardboard matchboxes. That was a cool serial :) - I saw the recent episodes of Star Trek and they do not even match up 1/10th of the original series.

22. Then there was Ek-Do-Teen-Char - amateur detectives who sang "1,2,3,4 - Charo Milkar Saath Chale Toh Kar Deh Chamatkar"

23. FAUJI !!!!! Who can forget Shahrukh Khan as Abhimanyu Rai. "Buddies" and "I say chaps" which became part of the lingo.

24. I enjoyed "Satyajit Ray Presents" with the thrilling episodes, the eerie background music, the aura of mystery around everything, the feeling that something unexpected is about to happen and the feeling that please God, don't let the electricity fail at this moment!
Vyomkesh Bakshi was good too but didn't have enough time for it when it was aired. I watched Srikant and understood it somewhat ! I just remember Farookh Sheikh was called "Tyun Tyun" by a woman and he used to hate it. I remember one of my friends was called "Tyun Tyun" by all of us, since he resembled Farookh Sheikh.

25. Ek aur Anek - Download the original here. Looking for "Swimmy" audio/video, Kanjoos Bania Ballu Malle Shah video/audio. I loved Mile Sur Mera Tumhara ( I have the original mp3 and a new video made by some MIT guys but am looking for the original video). There was "Ek Anna Ka Dana" about saving foodgrain.

26. Deepak Ka Jinn - Modern Genie who wore a suit and entered the room from the door instead of making a grand appearance from a lamp. Carried a briefcase, and whatever one wanted was obtained from opening it!

27. Mungeri Lal Ke Hasin Sapne - I could and still can do an accurate copy of his dream-beginnig sequence!

28. Another with Priya Tendulkar and Karan Razdan which was a comedy. They both were marriage counsellors, as far as I can remember and that was the source of laughter.

29. MALGUDI DAYS - Swameeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!! Amazing work by Shankar Nag - I have read all the Malgudi Days Books and the serial is an amazing example of a TV/Movie Adaption that is true to the original, a rare event. Manjunath as Swami was utterly believable. I wonder what is he doing these days. Don't see him on TV/Silver Screen anywhere. Girish Karnad was amazing as the father and every character played their role to the hilt.

Malgudi days is enjoying a rerun these days on DD India - Sunday Nights 10:30 PM. I am enjoying it all over again. I wonder if Shankar Naag can be persuaded to remake Guide (as a movie or a serial) since it was clearly documented by RK Narayan himself that he hated the song-and-dance filled Guide. I tend to agree and disagree with this posture of Narayan. While he has every right to demand sticking to the original, Guide as a movie is not bad compared to the run-of-the-mill bollywood potboiler. I mean come on, the hero and heroine are not married and enjoy a long relationship openly. That in itself was revolutionary for the 1960s. I think that Guide should be preserved as a good movie inspired by the novel. But if we are looking for a true adaption, then we need not look beyond Shankar Naag.

30. Streethawk - How we wanted to ride that fast :)

31. Dekh Bhai Dekh was cool too!

32. Then there was "Aisa Bhi Hota Hai" (like Ripley's Believe it or not) with someone called Monica. She was so beautiful that it was rumoured that she got 19,000 marriage proposals every week. I particularly remember one episode where a man demonstrated boring a hole in soft metals like Alumnium coins by just staring at them with a powerful gaze!

33. Ulta Pulta and every singly episode of Flop Show - kitne yaad karoon!

34. Karam chand - kitty and gazar :)

35. Then there was this nice cartoon called Jamie and the Magic Torch. I think this is one of the earliest television that I can remember. Look at this website on the program and click here for the song. Of course you can always find more references on the net, as this was a popular serial abroad too.


  1. Wow ! you made me relive those halcyon DD days... Flop Show was my fav... and the German tv stuff... that telematch used to be aired in the evenings...
    yes yes i do remember dieter.. u remember that football match episode of him?? oh yeah i remember the bamberga episode.. tho i was quite young at that time to understand the serial, i generally got the drift... telematch had those team names which i only later discovered were towns in Germany... u remember the transtel badminton lessons kya?
    i used to goto neighbors to watch street hawk coz we didnt have a tv of our own in those days... thats all 15 yrs back right? Amazing post man!!

  2. Have you forgotten - or never watched 'Indrashanush' - Sunday afternoons, about an alien 'living' in the 'body' of a PC, enabling time travel...

  3. Shankarnag who made Malgudi days died in a car accident many years back.

  4. Thanks a million for this blog !! I reached this site searching for articles on Johnny socko and his giant robot and I hadn't the foggiest that such a treasure trove was lying in wait for me ... If some folks today believe that television viewing in our childhood does indeed shape the kind of men and women we become, then it would only be right to say that an entire generation of us (who were kids growing up in the 80s) have had their lives, their sense of humour, their way of thinking, their communications skills ... well, pretty much everything under the sun shaped by the myriad of programs that used to be aired in the glory days that were.

    Thank you for letting me relive those days.

    el pollo del infierno

  5. Greetings! Thank you for remembering "Trishna" and Sangeeta Handa - this is 'she'. www.sangeetahanda.com

  6. This blog was excellant. Reminded me of my childhood.

  7. How about the one about an indian guy from america who comes to india in search of the perfect woman to marry? and each week he meets different women arranged by his relatives and each woman represents each of hte 9 'rasams'?
    he ends up marrying his good friend, i think..
    can't remember the damn name of it..
    Fauji was a huge fave of mine!!!!

  8. that serial was called "mr yogi" - it is mentioned above!

  9. Thank u very much for your information (Johnny socko and his giant robot)


  10. Shemaroo has released the dvd's and vcd's of the serial "Yeh Jo hai zindagi". If you want to buy it please visit Shemaroo's website I bought the entire set :).

  11. I came accross this post while searching TV serial Trishna on google. Thanks for letting me know the name of its lead actress Sangeeta Handa. It reminded me those days when the serial was on air. I think I also saw this serial on some channel in afternoon telecast few years later. It reminded me so many golden serials that I watched on DD.

  12. kool do you have link for aisa bhi hota hain ?

  13. " Gul Gulshan Gulfam, Jeevan Rekha, UGC telecast, Khuch Khoya Hai Khuch Paaya Hai, The World this week, ( Loy Mendonsa's title music), Kissa Shanti Ka, The glofriends (cartoon), Bharat Ek Khoj, Bharat Ki Chaap, Hum Panchi Ek Daal ke, Param Vir Chakra, Surabhi and so on.


  14. BTW, Telematch wasn't from Communist East Germany, but rather from Cologne (Koln) in West Germany...
    Nevertheless, it was such great fun watching those programs. I still know my German numbers from 1 to 20 because of it! Ein, Zweis, Drei, Fier, Funf...


  15. Totally agree on #29. But sadly, Shankar Nag died in a car accident many, many years ago, so no chance of making anything new...

  16. It also reminds me of the time when Hindi programmes were thrust upon non-Hindi understanding audiences at the expense of local talent. I have personally known people whose locally-made serials never saw the light of the day because imports and incomprehensible Hindi serials were given priority.

  17. Hello Ankur, do you have the song Kanjoos Bania Ballu malle shah. If you have the song please let me know if I can download that...

  18. Hi Ankur, Rushikesh..and other, Here you can get Kanjush Baniya Ballu Shah :D I was also searching so long to show this to my kids ..finally, I got it :)