From ‘ हम लोग ‘ to ‘ ना आना इस देस मेरी लाडो ‘

On 15th 0f September, 1959, at 5 pm, Doordarshan started its telecast from New Delhi, with Pratima Puri as the first one to appear on TV.

Of course, I came to know about this ‘wonder box’ (Yes! in those days, it was not an idiot box) much later. If I remember correctly, the programmes were aired for only two hours every day. One Hindi film was shown in a week, in two parts on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Besides this, we had Chitrahaar, Phool khile hain gulshan gulshan, and of course Krishi darshan. And yes, we enjoyed everything that we got a chance to view. Not that every family owned a television. So what! neighbours welcomed anybody and everybody who wanted to view any programme. Subsequently, transmission started in Bombay on 2nd October, 1972 and soon it spread in the whole country, faster than swine flu. Can you believe – NO ADVERTISEMENTS! Viewing was so enjoyable! If I am not wrong, the first ad was a still ad of Topaz Blade. Believe it or not, we anxiously waited for advertisements to start on TV. Little did we know, that in the years to come, we will wish for a ‘break’ from ‘advertisement breaks!

And then arrived the first TV serial – HUM LOG, on 7th July 1984, and got the nation hooked on to it. Its popularity was amazing. I doubt, if any other TV show or TV serial has ever touched its popularity. Its greatest attraction was its simplicity, – its realistic characters. As if, it was happening in every house of the country. There was no ‘saas-bahu tussle, no scheming buaji or chaachiji! All characters were grey in colour. One could bond with the characters, the family and the story line. And of course, after every episode Dada Muni would come and in his own style say bye for the day.The serial had 166 episodes.

Hum Log was followed by quite a few serials which did not leave a mark on viewer’s mind and memory, except for ‘Buniyaad’ based on partition times’ crisis, widow marriage, unwed mothers and so on. Again without any scheming buajis…… And yes, fortunately the women in the serials were not decked up ready to either attend a wedding or get married themselves.

These were followed by ‘Ramayan’ and ‘Mahabharat’. These epics had grand studios built up for them. The story demanded it.

The entry of various channels in the field brought in more competition (read more serials, bigger sets, decked up women – even when they are cooking or sleeping). As of today, TV is flooded with channels and each channel is in turn flooded with serials. It is interesting to see that most of the serials have the same basic theme – suppression of women  by the women. It is equally interesting to see that if a women is pregnant in one serial, all the serials have pregnant women, if one serial has a wedding organised – all serials will get one or the other character married. And the list  goes on and on.

There is no denial that technically, the serials today, are much superior. But, with those umpteen flashbacks, showing each character’s face three times and later freezing it individually at the drop of a hat, takes away all the charm (provided it has). As if this is not enough, each half an hour episode will have at least two commercial breaks. I wonder is it a commercial break or in between advertisements, we watch some story, which does not even seem to progress.

Television is meant to not only entertain, but broaden our outlook and vision. Unfortunately, serials like Balika Vadhu, Phulwa, Na Aana Is Des…., etc are dragging us back. No please! they are not showing reality. Yes, it does exist. But by showing it not only are we popularising it, but accepting it as a fact and part of society – sort of approving and condoning it.


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12 responses to “From ‘ हम लोग ‘ to ‘ ना आना इस देस मेरी लाडो ‘

  1. Finally! And yet you insist on watching those dumb TV soaps that parade a bevy of scheming, conniving characters that realise everything thrice, MUST hatch a devilish plot to backstab somebody every 4th episode and not to forget be lavishly over made up irrespective of social status.
    Isn’t it simpler then to just watch the occasional football match or F1 race and for the rest of the time just turn over to Discovery or Animal Planet or National Geographic? 😛

  2. purva

    not that i watch regularly but phulva sickens me…how can they show that little angel with sindoor married to that ominous man with kajal drowned eyes??!! sickening! Atleast in balika vadhu the opressed character has started opening her mouth to show her stand!! Television is not progressing at all! Where r all the ‘udaan’s, ‘wagle ki duniya’ s n even bikram betaal!????

    • Didi that’s why i’m saying we should watch the football matches and otherwise switch to the “real” reality shows on nat geo, discovery and animal planet. You are talking of Phulwa and Baalika Vadhu but then I guess you have not even seen the rubbish that is dissed out these days in the name of reality shows. Right from people poking things into their eyes for “Entertainment” to outright cheap rubbish daylong on UTV Bindaas… sometimes I wonder how the participants even sleep at night? I for one won’t be able to if I was party to that characterless rubbish…

      • Pratibha Singh

        You have to come home to see what we view. These are just time pass. We religiously watch DD news, comedy shows….The latest one is not a programme, but a channel – Food Food. Tried quite a few things. Come home to check, if you dont believe.
        As for football… I am better off without Chinki and Dinki club.

  3. Haripriya

    Hope they don’t start off any serial centered around food in the FoodFood channel.Yep-any time cricket,Animal Planet or Discovery better!!!Good research-Mrs.Singh!!

  4. That was a nostalgic trip down TV lane, or rather DD lane. I am amazed you got the exact dates of the serials! My father-in-law loved Humlog and even Buniyad. I used to watch it off and on. Never had the patience to sit at one place and watch serials. So I can’t comment about the present crop. but if the story lines are so regressive, then they must stop, shouldn’t they?

  5. Yes, I did write exact figures and dates. Some I remembered and some were provided by my Man Friday (read Siddharth).

  6. Earlier when serials were telecast, it was a family affair, food eaten, jobs finished, all the family gathered around and sat down to watch.
    Todays programs are pathetic, not at all touched to reality.
    We have not subscribed to any channel and just watch the ‘free’ news channel. Better to watch BBC then an overdose of emotions

  7. Pingback: Two voices, one love | Cyber Nag

  8. Miss firstly pls no chinky dinky clubs m sure u will find it very interesting once jus give it a try!
    The soaps saga is present in practically all households including mine,I really fail to comprehend what kind of message these shows give out on one hand they are trying to uphold moral values but a reality check n it shows that these soaps do more to pollute the minds of the avid watchers apart from ruining prime family time! when everyone should be having a good pleasant dinner talking instead ppl sit glued watching this stuff.

  9. Of course I enjoy football matches. I coined that term as my son does not allow us to watch anything else, if a match is going on. And I really dont know which all clubs participate.
    Even I feel that it ruins prime family time. Sadly, i am also hooked to some of them.

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