1990s the era of Doordarshan (DD) Channel serials and shows, when we didn’t had cables, set-top box, DTH, or multiplexes, it was the only mode of sheer entertainment. This is the time, when many bollywood greats actors started their career and established their fame on Indian screen. Few of the notable ones are Vidya Balan in Hum Panch, Shekhar Suman in Dekh Bhai Dekh, Rajit kapur in Byomkesh Bakshi, Sourabh Shukla in Tehkikat, Akhilendra Mishra & Irfan Khan in Chandrakanta.
TV viewers of this era, has probably seen the most dramatic change in entertainment and media industry than anyone else, right from watching serials on Doordarshan to sharing this on Youtube, Twitter and Facebook, life-time experience. Thinking about those golden moments of Indian TV evolution still gets us excited and kicking.
Here is the list of the best 15 Doordarshan serials and shows of 1990s, which are unforgettable and still worth a watch! Lets go couple of decades back and relive this wonderful epics of our childhood.
1. Byomkesh Bakshi
One of the best detective serials, not only of 90s, but of all time. Byomkesh Bakshi was based on a fictional detective in Bengali literature created by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay. This serial got all of us excited for 33 episodes between 1993 to 1997.
Rajit Kapur played Byomkesh Bakshi, who was later seen in prominent roles in most of the bollywood movies like Singh Saab the Great, Shaitan, Guzaarish, Welcome to Sajjanpur, Zubeidaa , Agni Sakshi and latest in Salman Khan’s Kick (2014).
It’s impossible to image a detective in a Dhoti-Kurta, other than Byomkesh bakshi, who carried the role to perfection.
Another detective serial of the same era, but with different flair. Sam D’Silva played by Vijay Anand and Gopichand by Saurabh Shukla in Tehkikaat released in 1994. Sam with intelligence and Gopi with his witty attitude made the serial unforgettable.
Saurabh Shukla later went on to become one of the most popular supporting actor in bollywood, acted in numerous bollywood movies like Gang of Ghosts, Main Tera Hero, Gunday, Phata Poster Nikhla Hero, Jolly LLB, Barfi!, Bandit Queen, Satya, Baadshah, Mohabbatein, Nayak: The Real Hero, Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai, Xcuse Me, Yuva, Lage Raho Munna Bhai, Slumdog Millionaire to name a few.
3. Zee Horror Show
Zee Horror Show created by Ramsay Brothers terrified Indian viewers for more than half a decade, on-air from 1993 to 1998 was one of the best horror serials of that time. Episodes like Raat, Raaz, Dastak, Jivan Mrityu, Anhonee, Sayaa gained huge popularity amongst viewers.
Zee horror show casted prominent bollywood stars like Javed Khan, Archana Puran Singh, Pallavi Joshi, Amita Nangia, Vijay Arora,Pankaj Dheer, Gajendra Chauhan and many more. The title track of Zee horror show is still the best of all horror movies, its irreplaceable!
Chandrakant entertained Indian viewers for more than 2 years for 77 episode with its fantasy story partly based on Devaki Nandan Khatri’s novel of the same name.
Shahbaz Khan and Shikha Swaroop appeared in lead roles, while Akhilendra Mishra, Mukesh Khanna, Javed Khan, Parikshit Sahni, Pankaj Dheer, Rajendra Gupta, Irrfan Khan, Krutika Desai, Rupa Ganguly, Mamik, Varsha Usgaonkar were seen in prominent roles. Not surprisingly, Irfan Khan has now become one of the top bollywood lead star with Hits like Lunch-Box, Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster Returns, Paan Singh Tomar, 7 Khoon Maaf, Slumdog Millionaire, Thank You and many more.
Not to forget the most memorable punch line of all time “Yakku” which came from Akhilendra Mishra as Kroor Singh, who later appeared in promising roles in Ready, Drona, Shootout at Lokhandwala, Apaharan, Veer-Zaara, Gangaajal, The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Lagaan, Sarfarosh, Veergati.
Shaktimaan, the first ever fictional Superhero of Indian screen, before Krish, Ra-One and Chitti. Shaktimaan was played by Mukesh Khanna and had success of almost 400 episodes. It was on air for almost 8 years, largely loved by Indian kids, which had an effective social message.
6. Dekh Bhai Dekh
Dekh Bhai Dekh released in 1993 on Indian television, was the best family comedy show of that time. Directed by Anand Mahendroo and produced by Jaya Bachchan (her first film production) Dekh Bhai Dekh was comic story of Diwan family.
The main actors were Sushma Seth, Navin Nischol, Shekhar Suman, Farida Jalal, Bhavana Balsavar, Vishal Singh, Nattasha Singh, Amar Upadhyay and Deven Bhojani. Out of these, Shekhar Suman stood apart as one of the premier attraction of the show and later grown with leaps and bounce in bollywood industry.
7. The Sword of Tipu Sultan
Released in 1990, the sword of Tipu Sultan was historical drama, the story of King Tipu Sultan of Mysore. Sanjay Khan was the directed and lead actor of the show and Seema Kelkar, Shahbaz Khan, Anant Mahadevan, Mukesh Rishi and Deepika Chikhalia were in supporting cast. Shahbaaz Khan became most loved and famous character as Hyder Ali.
8. Zabaan Sambhal Ke
Zabaan Sambhal Ke released in 1993 was a comic drama of Hindi teacher and his multi-language students. Based on the success of 54 episodes,Zabaan Sambhal Ke came with with second season in 1997 with 52 episodes.
Pankaj Kapoor played the role of English teacher (Mohan Bharti), who was an engineer and was forced to teach Hindi in a language school. Few of the notable actors were Shobha Khote, Viju Khote, Tom Alter and Vivek Vaswani.
9. Shriman Shrimati
Shriman Shrimati another popular family comedy drama of 1995 was produced by Adhikari Brothers, Gautam Adhikari and Markand Adhikari.
Jatin Kanakia as Keshav Kulkarni, Rakesh Bedi as Dilruba, Reema Lagoo as Kokila and Archana Puran Singh as Prema Shalini were in the lead roles. Shriman Shrimati gained huge popularity due to its simplicity and comic timing of actors.
10. Alif Laila – Arabian Nights
Alif Laila – Arabian Nights, directed by Ramanand Sagar was based on the story of One Thousand and One Nights. With 260 episodes in 2 seasons, Alif Laila was full of adventure, action and drama in 90s.
The engrossing stories and adventures of Sindbad journey were truly interesting.
11. Hum Paanch
Released in 1995, Hum Paanch was comic drama of a middle-class family. Produced by Ekta Kapoor, Hum Paanch was amongst the new serials under the banner of Balaji Telefilms.
Ashok Sharaf convincingly played the role of Anand Mathur who always found dealing with problems of his 5 daughters. The other lead actors were Priya Tendulkar, Shoma Anand, Vandana Pathak, Neelam Sagar, Vidya Balan, Rakhee Tandon, Bhairavi Raichura, Priyanka Mehra. The cuteness of sweety, the intellect of Radhika, the feminist Meenakshi, and the attitude of Kajal Bhai are memorable.
12. He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe released in 2002 on Doordarshan was earlier an American animated television series produced by Filmation based on Mattel’s successful toy line Masters of the Universe in 1980s. He-man was the most powerful man in the universe, who fights against evils to save the planet. When called upon the power of Grayskull, he gets transformed into He-man and Cringer, his companion into Battlecat.
Interesting animation and graphics considering the low availability of tools in late 90s, He-man deserves to be remembered.
13. The Great Maratha
The Great Maratha, was a historical drama director and acted by Sanjay Khan. Aired on Doordarshan in 1993 with 47 episodes, it was based on the glory of Maratha general, Mahadji Shinde.
Mahadji Shinde, played by Shahbaz Khan, was instrumental in re-instating the Maratha power in north India after Maratha debacle in Third battle of Panipat in 1761. His fight kept challenging the British power for more than two decades.
Other notable stars in The Great Maratha serial were Parikshit Sahni, Farida Jalal, Tom Alter, Irrfan Khan, Mukesh Khanna. The most memorable, was the title track of this serial, still fresh in memory.
Chanakya was a historical drama aired in 1991, written and directed by Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi. The serial was on life of Chanakya (Vishnugupta), an Indian economist, strategist and political theorist during 4th century.
Chandraprakash Dwivedi convincingly played the title role of Chanakya. Chanakya is rightly critically acclaimed as a “milestone on Indian television.”
15. Mowgli (Based on Jungle Book)
Mowgli was an animated adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s original collection of stories, The Jungle Book. It was aired in 1993 on Doordarshan in India with 52 successful episodes. Jungle Book was a story of a boy Mowgli, who gets lost in Jungle and is later brought-up by Alexandar, the wolf and lives in Jungle with Kaa (Python), Baloo (blue Bear) and Bagheera (black Panther).
As an Indian viewer, the foremost thing, which comes to mind, when thought about Mowgli serial, is the voice of Nana Patekar as Sharekhan, truly an amazing experience. We are in 2014, but still haven’t got a catchy title song as “Jungle Jungle pata chala hai, Chaddi pehen ke phool khila hai”.