After spending two whole months at home doing nothing apart from a lot of “Doordarshan” (it’s a miserable life!), my T.V gyan has increased. Turns out that Doordarshan is way better than cable (or is it just a bored soul pacifying itself?). Since most of the population has forgotten the humble beginnings of Indian television with Doordarshan, I thought I will list the good shows on Doordarshan (in no particular order) and make them realise that it has come of age too.
Kyunki Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai
This is my most favourite T.V show. Kyunki Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai is produced by UNICEF to promote its “Facts for Life” program. The story revolves around the village of Rajpura, with UN messages very creatively woven into the script. The soap highlights social issues such as education in rural India, child labour, plight of widows in villages, anganwadis, maternity, nutrition and many many more and presents them sugar-coated as sub-plots in a highly gripping and thrilling story that focuses on two warring “big” families (forgive me, they are called “bade ghar”).
The main story is about the feared Bada Saab and his Bade ghar. The Bade Saab sits in his Bada ghar and rules the village. His sidekicks, brother-in-law Mangat and the Munshi ride high under his wing. Rival to Bade Saab is Maya (my favourite character), who is widowed by Bade saab and she is bent on avenging her husband’s death. Then there is the nurse bhen-ji, a city doctor serving the village with a dream to make the world a better place to live in. The Nurse bhen-ji opens up a hospital, gathers the village-women and periodically gives them lessons on women’s issues. To highlight the role of women in the development of society, there is the female sarpanch whose domestic life is in shreds, yet she does a good job of running the village. Assistants to nurse bhen-ji are Shabnam, a victim of domestic violence who chooses to live life on her own terms, and Kamla, a young widow confined to white. Then of course there is the friendly neighbourhood master-ji, with his one-room school (where the story frequently side-steps), full of the most amazingly cute children (I wonder where they got them! They are the best child artistes!).
This is a daily soap with a mission – that of educating rural India, making it second to none. It is a truly novel and creative idea to put social lessons into the glitzy wrapper of an interesting daily soap. Watch a few episodes of Kyun Ki Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai here and here, although these videos don’t really the highlight the points I have mentioned here (or maybe they do!). Read more about this great show here and here.
Watch Kyun Ki Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai on Doordarshan National every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 8:30 PM and be entertained and educated.
Kabhi Saas Kabhi Bahu
Here’s a show that promises to be a laugh riot for a complete half an hour. The show focuses on the story of the three generations of the Awasthi family – the grands Mallu and Shrimati, the son Viru and daughter-in-law Hema, and the grandson Mohit and grand daughter-in-law Payal – and captures the comic situations resulting from living in a three-tier family.
Mallu is a retired old man, passionate about teaching yoga to anyone who would care to listen, and mortally afraid of his wife, Shrimati. He is known to have had quite a few girlfriends in his primes! Viru is a fashion designer whose primary client seems to be next-door neighbour and “flirt-interest”, Shalini. Hema is the vexed housewife of Viru, and the butt of all jokes from her mother-in-law as well as her daughter-in-law Payal, who portrays the modern working wife, who is fitness conscious and interested in dance. Finally Mohit is Payal’s husband, a chef in a five star hotel, who flirts with the receptionists!
The entire half an hour of each episode focuses on one particular comic situation in the family, be it the men arguing about whose wife is the most understanding, or the women suddenly deciding to tour Europe! No character of the show overdoes his/her part, which makes the show all the more enjoyable and realistic. The petty arguments at the dinner table, the good-natured teasing, and finally the love in the family, will make an instant connection with every one of us!
The show is a good opportunity to cast your worries aside and escape into a fun-filled half an hour. Watch Kabhi Saas Kabhi Bahu with your entire family, every Wednesday at 9:00 PM only on Doordarshan’s National channel (Gosh, I sound like one of those advertising guys here!).
Oh, and a word of caution: Do not watch Kabhi Saas Kabhi Bahu while eating dinner. The show is not responsible for any fatalities occuring due to choking on food while laughing excessively!
If you watch either or both of these shows, do remember to tell me how you liked them!
Of course Rangoli is still being aired. Just wanted you to know that Doordarshan is not just Rangoli!
PS: Details about more shows to follow. This article has already become too long, and I have a fear that long articles are left un-read.