Posts Tagged ‘Pankaj Kapoor’

Where is the humor? (Comedy shows drying up on Indian TV)

If you are also not able to find humor in our comedy shows then you are definitely in the category where people are waiting for good and ‘clean’ comedy on Indian television and if you have already find it then please share what I am missing. Oh yes… and if in case you ask me to switch on to latest shows on SAB TV then I agree there are two or three good shows which are worth giving time like Taarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chashmah and recently launched R.K. Laxman Ki Duniya. However all the remaining shows fail to impress even a bit.

Apparently the Indian Television industry was expected to grow over 500 billion by the end of 2011 and currently it has over 500 channels broadcasted. But I still find dearth of substance in our tv shows. For example comedy shows which are my all time favourite are definitely way too below the level of good comedy or sitcom shows. Let us take a look at the journey of Indian television in terms of comedy shows in last 28 years.

Yeh Jo hai Zindagi was India’s first sitcom aired in 1984 on Doordarshan. The show written by comedy writer Sharad Joshi was such a huge hit that even box-office openings in cinemas were affected due to the airing of the show because it aired on Friday nights. Then came the ‘era’ in 1993 of two most widely admired comedy shows ever in the history of Indian television: Dekh Bhai Dekh and Zabaan Sambhalke. I am sure that these two names certainly brings a big smile on everyone’s face and those unforgettable characters like Balraj Diwan (Navin Nischol), Samir Diwan (Shekhar Suman), Gareema (Deven Bhojani), Mohan Bharti (Pankaj Kapoor) and many other became an integral part of our lives. Within two years Doordarshan launched another hilarious comedy Srimaan Srimati in 1995 that gave India one of its favourite characters ‘Dilruba’. Simultaneously Zee TV launched its most popular comedy show till date Hum Paanch in 1995. Another hit show Padosan was launched on DD Metro in 1998. All these have left a legacy behind them and I can’t find any show matching up to their level currently or in these all years.


In modern day classics i can count Office Office easily which was launched in 2001 on SAB TV. This hugely popular and admired sitcom was based on corruption and bribery in public offices. The story revolved around Mussadilal (Bollywood actor Pankaj Kapoor) who was often harshly greeted by the corrupt officials. “Mussadilal” was the favourite character of viewers for a very long period and we remember him fresh as ever even now.


Now coming back to today’s topic of this post “Why comedy shows are drying up on Indian television”? Honestly after all these years finally in 2005 I thought that there is a chance that Indian comedy can get back to track when a new reality comedy show “The Great Indian Laughter Challenge” was launched. The Star One’s laughter show won millions of hearts and before we knew there were four seasons in their kitty. The laughter challenge gave way to all these shows on “Comedy Circus” that are aired on Sony TV regularly. However the quality of the comedians and their so called “punches” has deteriorated immensely. In terms of another blogger whose post I read the other day “the contestants of these shows grew up with time and became big-time perverts”. The reality comedy shows today are nothing but a sign toward the hypocrisy of Indian television that call these laughter shows full of double-meaning jokes family shows.

So what is the exact reason? Are we short of good comedy writers, or we are short of good character artists who can do good comedy or it is just the mindset that is not able to accept some clean and good talent? Tell us your views if you have answer to these questions. :)

Once upon a time…..Nation's favorite channel "Doordarshan"

Yes, this channel once use to be Nation’s favorite channel….  you’ll be surprised to know that that DD India is broadcast internationally via satellite. It is available in 146 countries worldwide.

Well, Doordarshan has been part of our lives since 15 September 1959, but the regular daily transmission started in 1965 as a part of All India Radio. National telecasts were introduced in 1982. In the same year colour TV was introduced in the Indian market with the live telecast of the1982 Asian Games which were held in Delhi. As on today 90 percent of the Indian population can receive Doordarshan (DD National) programmes through a network of nearly 1,400 terrestrial transmitters.

Let me take this opportunity to ask you a question “When was the last time you switched on Doordarshan” ..Well my answer would have been the same as yours….. ” I don’t remember”. There was an era when Doordarshan had some amazing Serials and some amazing shows. Who can forget  Hum Log (1984) , the voice of Ashok Kumar  and the amazing cast. And and Buniyaad (1986–87), a drama-series that was directed by Ramesh Sippy and Jyoti Sarup. As a kid, i used you always hear people talking about these two serials. Soon it was followed by Nukkad (1986 – 87), staring Dilip Dhawan, Rama Vij, Pavan Malhotra, Sangeeta Naik. Doordarshan not only had a series of some amazing serials, but also had the key India’s favorite show Ramayan (1987–88), written, and directed by Ramanand Sagar. Sunday at 9:30am was prime time.. yes….. It was time for the entire family to switch on their television. The same thing happned with  B. R. Chopra’s Mahabharat (1989–90). You would not believe the streets would be empty once these shows were aired. People used to finish all their work in advance, and be glued to the television. Any my all time favorite serial Surabhi , it was a popular Indian cultural magazine show hosted by Renuka Shahane and Siddharth Kak

Today’s generation might ask, what about musical shows….? Did Doordarshan have such shows in those times….. Well, do you remember  ChitrahaarRangoliEk Se Badkar Ek and Superhit Muqabla. They were a huge hit. Mornings were all about Rangoli and its amazing presentation, simple yet effective. So, we are done with Daily Soups, Mythological shows and Musicals show, so what’s next.  Some of the amazing Crime thrillers like Barrister Vinod (starring Parikshit Sahni), Karamchand (starring Pankaj Kapoor), Aparadhi Kaun, PC 1008 (starring Kanwaljeet), Police File Se, Byomkesh Bakshi (starring Rajit Kapoor), Reporter(Shekhar Suman), Tehkikaat and Janki Jasoos, Suraag (starring Sudesh Berry) we part of Doordarshan’s wide variety of series.

Am i missing something, oh yes, what about kids… did they have a great time watching Doordarshan !!! There were Super Hit Shows that were targeted at children like  Vikram Betaal Malgudi DaysTenali RamaPotli Baba Ki (puppet show), He-Man, Knight Rider, Street Hawk and a horror serial Kile ka Rahasya (1989). Do you recollect the amazing disney cartoons Talespin & Duck Tales. Uncle Scrooge McDuck and his great-nephews and their crazy stories. Did I mention about India’s Original Super Hero - Shaktimaan aka Mukesh Khanna and his enemies Tamraj Kilvish and Dr. Jackal. The dialouge “Andhera Kaayam Rahe” was such a huge hit. No doubt Shaktimaan was one of the most popular and longest-running television series for Indian children on the Doordarshan channel…

I hope that you might be trying to get back to your childhood days and relive those amazing days and the time you’ve spent watching television. Do try to catch some of the shows on YouTube, as they are real classics.

BTW, iDubba is planning to have a VINTAGE section on it’s website. How many of you want it? :-)