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Doordarshan: The sweet old TV shows of the 80s and 90s

Doordarshan's first serial drama series, Hum Log takes you straight to the India of 1980s. A middle-class family dealing with social problems like family planning, women's issues, alcoholism and the harsh ground reality connected with the audience instantly.

The unmissable music, the unwavering anticipation for the next episode and the unmatchable connect with the stories and the characters. Doordarshan of the 80s and 90s was certainly the golden era of Indian television.

On April 1 in 1976, that Doordarshan radio and television were separated and Doordarshan Corporation was formed.

As we reminisce, let’s travel back in time to refresh some good old memorie of some of the most popular shows on Doordarshan.

Let’s begin and recap some classic entertainers from the era, not before listening to this epic track.

01. Hum Log

Doordarshan’s first serial drama series, Hum Log takes you straight to the India of 1980s. A middle-class family dealing with social problems like family planning, women’s issues, alcoholism and the harsh ground reality connected with the audience instantly. A huge hit, it was the longest-running serial at that time with a total of 156 episodes.

02. Buniyaad

Haveliram struggles to navigate between his familial duties and the desire to live in an independent India. Buniyaad went on to become a hugely popular serial that showcased the life of a common man after India’s partition and its aftereffects. Amid the nationwide lockdown last year, Buniyaad made its way back on Doordarshan for a rerun.


“Shut up Kitty” said India’s favorite detective. A detective show with a hint of comedy, Karamchand solved a new case every episode. The show was hugely popular amongst audiences from all age groups.

Pankaj Kapoor in Karamchand

04. Malgudi Days

Swami and his friends, the theme song and the touching stories. Goosebumps. Stories by RK Narayan, Malgudi Days makes us miss the days when life was far less complicated and simple. The plot set in a village in South India, brought to us stories of carefree school boys and their escapades.

RK Narayanan’s Malgudi Days

05. Nukkad

Nukkad had 26 characters who led a simpleton life. The show had nothing fancy but the right amount of comedy and drama. From Guru the electrician to Khopri, the show focused on the struggles and experiences of people from the working class.

And it’s time for a short break…

Old ads on DD

06. Ramayan

Reserve your seats as it’s time for the next episode of Ramayan. The iconic serial on the life of Lord Sri Ram got every member of a family glued to their seats. The ones who did not own a TV rushed to the nearest house with a TV set hours before to not miss a minute of the episode. The craze for the show was evident when it crossed all the TV entertainment records in the rerun during the lockdown in 2020. Such is the fan following!

07. Shaktimaan

Our very own superhero, Shaktimaan definitely made our childhood memorable every time he entered and exited a scene twirling. Even though it was a show based on a fictional superhero, it always ended with a takeaway for the kids. Shaktimaan’s title song, dialogues, his suit and the serial’s characters were all immensely popular among kids and even adults.

08. Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi

A slapstick comedy, Ye Jo Hai Zindagi beautifully captured a middle-class family’s life. Every element of the show seems relevant even today, be it budgeting before visiting a restaurant or telling a harmless lie to avoid a relative.

Ye Jo Hai Zindagi

09. Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne

When put down by everyone around him from his wife to his boss, Mungerilal gets back at all of them in his daydreams. The show that connected well with its audience was also hugely popular for its title song.

Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne

10. Chanakya

A historical drama epic, the series is an account of the life and times of 4th century BCE Indian economist, strategist and political theorist Chanakya (Vishnugupta). From Chanakya’s childhood to the coronation of Chandragupta Maurya, the serial covered every major aspect of his life and strategies.

So which of these magical shows was your all-time-favorite?

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