Doordarshan – A love and hate relationship then but now turned to just love

It was a tense moment. No one dared to move. There was an absolute silence in the room. One was biting his nails, another was praying real hard, another was shaking his legs rigorously, another just closed his eyes and the last guy just couldn’t take it anymore and left the room. The tension was just unbearable.

The bowler was charging in to bowl the first ball of the last over and India had only 4 runs to defend the game. The bowler released the ball and that turned out to be the last ball we saw.

Not because the required runs were scored, but because there was an Ad – rather an ill-timed Ad. By the time the Ad was over the game was over too.

That was Doordarshan. It was a love and hate relationship but now after all these years it is only love. I also realize how badly i miss Doordarshan for being so simple, not rushing at all (although there were times when i did wish for it), being real, being boring at times so we could do something else. This is not just me or my age talking, even my kids fell in love with Malgudi Days, Vikram Bethal etc.


So what happened in the last over? Well, we had to wait till 8:55pm later that night, for that was the time for the sports update in the daily news.

The News: 

Since it was the pre 24×7 news era, the news was just about news. Not any gossips not any rumors not any sensation, it was just news, all wrapped up nicely in a 20 minute time slot. The news readers were one of the best. Be it in Hindi or in English, their language and diction were incredible. The news readers were extremely professional, elegant and carried the news with a lot of poise. There was never a moment where they faulted or look fluttered.

May be the format doesn’t allow them to flex too much or be their own self but even with 20 minutes a day they had such a lasting impact.

I took a trip down the memory lane. Here are some of the Ads, the TV serials, the sports, the games i’ve been watching and i’m sure if you grew up in the 80’s, you would relate to this as well

Tamas: A dead pork is left outside the mosque, what happens next in the scene, is exactly what is still happening in the country today – A master piece then and a harsh reality even now. Govind Nihalani’s Tamas stood the test of the time

Malgudi days: Ta na na Tana nana naaa… Ta na na Tana nana naaa. It wasn’t a show for just kids, it was a show for everyone who loved simplicity and cared about the simple things in life. It was one of the best then, it still is one of the best.

Surabhi: The ever smiling Renuka Sahane with the very meticulous Siddharth Kak brought in stories of innovation and inspiration from every nook and corner of India. Be it the art or be it music or be it sports, they would do complete justice to these stories and also the people behind those stories.

Buniyaad, Hum Log, Yeh Joh hein Zindagi, Kile Ka Rahasya

Mile Sur Mera Tumhara: Even after all these years, i still remember the song and not just the song, i still remember the lyrics. It was truly “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara”

Ek Chidiya Anek Chidiya: There were no fancy animations and yet this till date is the best song and video highlighting the simple message of unity in diversity.

The documentaries by Films Division of India

The Ads: I don’t remember when was the last time i actually saw an Ad on tv without fast forwarding it. Back then i loved watching them, every bit of it.

  • Hamara Bajaj – It was not just a scooter, it was part of the family and the title song “Hamara Bajaj” perfectly captures this sentiment
  • Kuch Khas Hein Hum Sabhi Mein: The girl in the blue dress evades the security to put on moves like no one else can
  • Got another Pepsi
  • and a long list which can be easily found on YouTube

Songs, Movies:

  • Made in India: Alisha Chenoy’s evergreen song that stood the test of the times – a foot tapping number even today
  • Chitrahaar, Chitramala, Top 10 countdown, Private Albums:
  • Weekend Movies in the evening
  • Art movies on Saturday afternoon

Its a long list and i’m just too short on time to complete this list. Anyways, i wish there was a way to bring all these into the mainstream where TV shows were little closer to reality rather than making reality shows on TV.


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