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Being the national broadcaster in a country that boasts of rich diversity in culture and heritage, Doordarshan has come a long way ever since its first terrestrial signals beamed, way back in 1982.
With shows like Hum Log (1984) and Buniyaad (1986), Doordarshan caught the frenzy of a nation that was completely fascinated with the concept of moving colour pictures on a small box like instrument that brought stories to life. The country would come to a standstill everytime Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan (1986) and B.R. Chopra’s Mahabharata (1988) played out on Sunday mornings with every household’s young and old gathering in homes that had the luxury of owning TV sets.
Come to see, late 1980s and early 1990s were revolutionary years for factual entertainment on Indian television and had not evolved as much as it has now. Being the only channel – that was the primary source of information, entertainment and education – Doordarshan has been around for over 57 years and still continues to entertain the country.
Here are the top 10 animation/live action shows from yester years that shall always live with us throughout our lives.
Shaktimaaaan! Shaktimaan! Did you just hum it rhythmically! if you did then you too have been an ardent follower of India’s first ever famous superhero Shaktimaan. This red attired magical crusader who wore a golden sash on his waist; and would come flying to your rescue – having pledged to overpower evil – was loved by every member of the family. A ‘messiah’ for the world who taught children the difference between the good and the bad and also jumping from one building to the other was a child’s play (Pun Intended), the show that successfully aired for 8 long years primarily because of the protagonist Shaktimaan aka Mukesh Khanna and his deadly and magical fights with the antagonist Tamraj Kilvish aka Surendra Pal is what had made the series Shaktimaan remain immortal in our minds forever.
Jungle Jungle baat chali hai pata chala
Jungle Jungle baat chali hai pata chala hai
Arey chaddi pahanke phool khila hai, phool khila hai!!!
This title track from our forever favourite dd show ‘Jungle Book’ sung by Amol Sahdev and written by Gulzar turned to be one of the most favourite songs of all the toddlers of the 90s whose tunes got stuck up in our minds forever.
The concept of the wild animal kingdom acting as a shield to the life of a human child from another vicious animal of the same kingdom was what got everyone hooked to this show. The inimitable combination of a toddler human ‘Mowgli’ and his best friends, ‘Baloo’, the bear and ‘Bagheera’ a panther along with their fun pranks, the heart-in-the mouth situations and the ‘Bromance’ was what made ‘The Jungle Book’ a never-to-be-forgotten series. Originally a Japanese anime series, it was dubbed in Hindi by DD National in India during the 1990s.
That tune that was, is and shall always remain in our minds was renditioned by music director Vishal Bharadwaj.
Remember the DD show that made you desperately own a computer that could connect you to the outer world somewhere in the galaxy. Yeah…you got it right, we are talking about Anand Mahendra’s Indradhanush.
This mixture of sci-fiction and fantasy that revolved around a group of kids, who assemble a computer that turns as the host to an alien prince from a planet in the Andromeda Galaxy on the run from his enemies, which gives birth to a lot of twists and weird situations. Truly, if Appu, Bala, and Srikanth have been your ‘reel-life’ friends in your childhood, you have surely been an ardent fan of DD then. The serial also had a bunch of talent featuring fine actors like Vikram Gokhale, Girish Karnad, Deepa Lagoo and also Urmila Matondkar.
Space City Sigma
Space City Sigma is an Indian science fiction television series that aired on the DD National channel in the late 1980s. Along with Indradhanush, it was one of the first science fiction series produced in India. Remember Commander Tara, Shakti, and Heera and also Dr.Luka.it is truly said ‘Old Is Gold.’
This sagar films production TV series based on the Arabic stories, one thousand and one nights was a superhit in the 90’s. Remember the initial times of the show when the series started right from Scheherazade telling stories to Shahryar. It was made in two seasons. The first season was aired on DD National and season two on ARY Digital. The title track sung by Kavita Krishnamoorthy itself took us to the Arabian old days.
Probably, this was the first skeleton that did not frighten the kids out of their wits but became a friend to kids who thoroughly enjoyed the show right from the title track. This cool, dancing Haddi made anyone wonder as a kid… was this skeleton the first ever Indian break-dancer or has he inspired the concept of break dance.
Remember, ‘Gayab aaya Gayab aaya
Idharse aaya! Udhar se aaya!
Kisiko hasane aaya kisiko rulane aaya
Kids listened to this track and rushed to their living rooms mildly dancing to the tunes of this catchy song, and humming the lyrics as they laughed at the witty episodes was what made these tiny tots stay hooked to this animated serial.
The off white little magical creature who could transform itself into anything, who would always be on his toes to help people was loved by all. His innocence and wittiness was what made the character remain with us in our minds eye forever.
Potli baba ki
Ah! ‘Potli baba ki’ which had a grandfather like figure called ‘Baba’ who would then recite to the children a lot of stories that he would take out from his ‘potli’ created a cult following for the character and almost all kids in that era followed this show with dedication.
The story revolved around ‘The old story-teller, Chhenu ki Jhunnu ka Baba, living in Ghungar village who collected stories and fables which his mother had left them hidden under rocks. Baba’s peculiarity was that is grew younger day-by-day and would come back to his ‘child’ life once he is done finding all the stories. This series was a popular children’s puppet TV series aired in India in 1991 on national Television channel Doordarshan. It featured various popular fairy tales in simple language and used to give good moral messages to children.
The title song – “Aaya Re Baba” that was very popular among children was composed by none other than renowned Hindi-Urdu poet and lyricist Gulzar. The series was also co-directed by Gulzar and he penned the script as well.
Captain Vyom was India’s first heavily sci-fi oriented serial in India that managed to garner a good measure of success. With Milind Soman starring as the protagonist title character along with Tom Alter, Captain Vyom was set in the 2220 A.D. and revolved around the time when mankind had become the most powerful living being by conquering the solar system and looking to capture new frontiers.
The prison in this era is based on Io, which is a moon of Jupiter and contains the worst criminals. When a meteor strikes Io, the criminals are set loose and Captain Vyom (who is the captain of his spaceship ULKA and its crew) is assigned the task of securing them back.
The series successfully ran for 54 episodes. This new concept of sci-fi was directed by Ketan Mehta, who successfully runs India’s pioneer in 3D animation – Maya Digital Studios.
B.R. Chopra’s Mahabharata has given the television industry team of fine actors. Be it Rupa Ganguly as Draupadi, Swapnil Joshi as young Krishna, Surendra Pal as Dronacharya and many more. The character of Yudhistir was played by the much controversial actor currently, Gajendra Chauhan.
The 94-episode Hindi series originally had its music composed by Rajkamal while the script was written by Urdu poet Rahi Masoom Raza, based on the original story by Vyasa.
Just to let you know, The parent company Doordarshan, which is one of India’s largest broadcasting organisations in terms of studio and transmitter infrastructure has several babies; DD metro, DD National, DD India, DD sports and many more, has a good news for the lovers of DD; DD national is all set to upgrade itself from a an SD version to HD version and are also targeting for smartphones. So for the ardent viewers of DD National, you can now completely enjoy your favourite shows with much clarity and on your fingertips.
Happy Birthday Doordarshan !!! Supercopier 5.