Independence Day Special: How content has changed over the past 75 years, from DD to Netflix
This year, India will celebrate 75 years of independence. In these 75 years, the world of television content has gone through a massive paradigm shift. And it’s not just the content but also the audiences that have changed. From a single channel available on TV to over 850 channels on TV and over 40 over-the-top streaming platforms available via connected TVs and firesticks, the world of content has seen a generational shift.
From the whole community gathered in one person’s home to watch Doordarshan in the 1970s and 1980s, now each person watches their favorite show on TV, laptop or smartphone in their private space. The audience model has evolved from community viewing to personal viewing over these 75 years. But as the saying goes, “Old is Gold,” here are some of the most popular shows to bring back the nostalgia and see the evolution of content from soap operas to web series.
Intended to deliver agricultural information to rural and agricultural audiences, Krishi Darshan was India’s first television program to air on DD National and is the longest running television series in India. According to the data, the show was aired in almost 80 villages close to Delhi. It was transferred from DD National to DD Kisan in 2015 but continues to air on DD National even now.
First broadcast in 1982, Chitrahar Is the oldest movie songs program on Doordarshan. The show featured excerpts of songs from Bollywood movies. With an audience of 150 million people, Chitrahar was mainly concentrated in rural areas of India. In 2002, the Indian government implemented the addition of SLS (Same Language Subtitling) to Chitrahardue to its immense popularity, improves the reading skills of viewers and promotes literacy, especially in villages.
Buzz Diary (1984)
The iconic Buzz Log is the first Indian Hindi drama series that aired. Starring Ashok Kumar, Vinod Nagpal and Jayshree Arora, the series depicts the story of a middle-class 1980s Indian family and their daily struggles and aspirations. Buzz Log was developed in collaboration with writer Manohar Shyam Joshi, who scripted the series, and filmmaker P Kumar Vasudev as director. Inspired by the Mexican television series Ven Conmigo, the series used the methodology of education and entertainment to tell its story. At the end of each episode, Ashok Kumar discussed the story and ongoing situations with the audience using Hindi verses and limericks.
With a cast of Alok Nath, Sudhir Pandey, Kiran Juneja, among others, Buniyaad was the first show in India to show the score era on television. Directed by Ramesh Sippy and Jyoti Sarup and written by Manohar Shyam Joshi, the soap opera dealt with the partition of India in 1947 and its aftermath. The series covers life in India between 1916 and 1978. Buniyaad is currently rebroadcast on DD Retro.
In 1987, DD aired the iconic mythological series Ramayan and the following year introduced viewers Mahabharat. Both shows became cult hits, with communities coming together and watching the shows with close attention. Interestingly, it was these shows that brought back DD’s popularity and skyrocketed its viewership in 2020 when the first lockdown put a stop to Indian TV shows.
Another iconic 1980s show, Karamchand was one of the first crime series broadcast in India. Karamchand was a detective who helped local police solve murders while munching on carrots with his insane assistant, Kitty. The protagonist was played by Pankaj Kapur while the role of his assistant ‘Kitty’ was played by Sushmita Mukherjee. In 2006, the show was revived by Sony Entertainment Television with Pankaj Kapur reprising his role as the carrot chewer. Karamchand while Kitty was played by Sucheta Khanna.
Wagle Ki Duniya
Broadcast between 1988 and 1990, Wagle Ki Duniya was an Indian sitcom based on the characters created by famous cartoonist RK Laxman. Putting actors in the stories based on “ordinary man” cartoons, the show highlighted the problems of the middle class Indian man in a comedic way.
Malgudi Days first aired in 1986 and was filmed in English (the first 13 episodes) and Hindi (all 54 episodes). It was based on the 1943 short story collection of the same name by RK. Narayan. The series was directed by Kannada actor and director Shankar Nag with Carnatic musician L Vaidyanathan composing the score for the series.
Entering the 1990s, DD faced competition as private broadcasters such as Zee TV, Sony TV, Star TV, came into play. Yet this star superhero show by Mukesh Khanna became the hit television series in Indian history. Broadcast between 1997 and 2005, Shaktiman was an Indian adaptation of Superman. Shaktimaan was depicted as a human who had attained superhuman powers through meditation and the five elements of nature: space, earth, air, fire, and water.
Shaka Laka Boom Boom
With this series, the first generation gap appeared. Aimed at a family audience, the show was mostly watched by children. First aired in 2000 on DD National, the series aired 30 episodes of protagonist Sanju and his adventures with his magic pencil. The show was later picked up by Star TV in 2001 and aired on Star Plus from 2002.
Shhh… Koi Hai
One of the first horror series in India, Shhh… Koi Hai was a thriller television anthology series created by Cinevistaas Limited and Contiloe Entertainment for Star Plus. The series, which premiered in July 2001, ran for three seasons ending in May 2010.
Another popular Pankaj Kapur show was Office Office. The series premiered on SAB TV in 2001 and was a satirical take on widespread corruption in India. Through the protagonist, an ordinary man named Mussadilal, the show aimed to shed light on the struggles the ordinary man faces in a public sector office.
Sarabhai vs. Sarabhai
Premiere in 2006 on STAR One, Sarabhai vs. Sarabhai was a comedy family show which portrayed a quintessential upper class family living in the posh Cuffe Parade area in South Mumbai. The show was considered ahead of its generation in concept, writing, and average viewership at the time of its initial release and has now become a cult classic.
Broadcast in 2008 on TV Couleurs, Balika Vadhou was a drama series that aimed to shine a light on the social cause of child marriage. Set in Rajasthan, the show revolved around Anandi, the protagonist, who marries at a young age and struggles to accept herself into a new family of strangers and her roles as friend, wife and beauty. -daughter. The show started for a good cause, but like all Indian soap operas that have gone on for too long, the show lost its way and focus halfway through.
Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah
One of the oldest shows with a massive cult following that hasn’t waned over the years is Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah. Airing on SAB TV since 2008, this show is based on the people of Gokulodham Society and how they help each other find solutions when they face common and real challenges and get involved in delicate situations.
From television, we are now making a big leap to OTT. Produced by The Viral Fever (TVF), The Kota Factory first aired in 2019 on TVF Play and YouTube simultaneously. In 2021, the show was picked up by Netflix and has already aired its second season with a third season in production. Based in Kota, Rajasthan, the show depicts the lives of students in the city and their efforts to gain admission into an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) by passing the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE).
Crime in Delhi
Delhi Crime is an Indian crime drama web series written and directed by Richie Mehta and available on Netflix. The series is set in the aftermath of the 2012 Delhi gang rape and covers the period from the incident to the final arrest of the suspects. Starring Shefali Shah, Rasika Duggal, Adil Hussain among others, the show is a thriller that artfully depicts the work of the Delhi Police and the tussle they play with politics as well as the media.
The man of the family
The Family Man is an Indian streaming spy television series created by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK for the Amazon Prime Video streaming service. The show features Manoj Bajpayee as Srikant Tiwari, a middle-class man secretly working as an intelligence officer for the Threat Analysis and Surveillance Cell (TASC), a fictional branch of the National Intelligence Agency. investigation. The show first aired in 2019.
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