Whoever said the 90s was the best era on television skipped through a whole lot of brilliant shows that entertained the masses in the 80s. Ask your parents about their favourite shows or anyone who grew up through the 80s and they’ll bombard you will a list of shows that you’ll enjoy even today!
High on quality and bankable content, the Hindi channels in the 80s were thriving with variety. There were mediocre family dramas, yes, but then there were nail-biting thrillers, mysteries, mythological dramas, rib-tickling situational comedies, endearing cartoons and shows on moral stories too.
Some of these tv shows were so good that if they were to make a comeback, they’ll top Twitter trends. Like Ramayana for instance, was re-telecast by Doordarshan once the lockdown was imposed and people were hit by a wave of nostalgia. Taking us down the memory lane, we couldn’t help but reminiscence all the classic tv series from back in the day. Hence, to refresh your memories too, we decided to list 12 all-time favourite shows that had everyone glued to the screen in the 80s.
Let’s see how many do you remember?
12 Popular Series Before the 90s That Deserve A Comeback:
1. Malgudi Days
How can we not start with this cult classic? Based on famed Indian writer, R. K Narayan’s collection of short stories, it was one of the highest-rated shows in the 80s! People enjoyed Swami’s misadventures and other moral stories so much that Malgudi Days has a huge fan following even today. Also, the soothingly melodic OST of the show, still so fresh in our memories, isn’t it?
‘I Say Chaps’ – Remember this youth mantra made famous by Fauji in the 80s? Though today it is labelled as the tv series that gave us Shah Rukh Khan, Fauji back then was a superhit drama that revolved around the day-to-day escapades of a group of rookies, as they train to join the Indian Army Commando Regiment.
Pankaj Kapur as the carrot-munching, chess-obsessed sleuth had our eyes glued to the screen. Solving nail-biting thrilling mysteries with his half-witted funny assistant, Kitty, we still remember how she would almost blow off their cover every time and make the detective go – Shut. Up. Kitty!
4. Hum Log
Did you know Hum Log was the first-ever television series or drama series to air in India? Inspired by a Mexican show, Hum Log was telecast on Doordarshan and was narrated by famed actor, Ashok Kumar. Giving viewers a glimpse into an Indian middle-class family, their struggles and aspirations, it went on to become an instant hit amongst the viewers!
Does Khopdi, Kaderbhai and Ghanshu Bhikari, ring a bell? Nukkad’s story revolved around a group of people from labour class and their hilarious banters! Making all the characters a household name in the 80s, if you haven’t watched Nukkad yet, then you are truly missing out on a rib-tickling masterpiece.
Directed by B. R. Chopra, Mahabharata had the entire nation hooked to the screens while the OST echoed through the chawls and the buildings. The craze for the epic mythological series was such that streets would go empty and people would rush home early from work to watch it. And on public demand, Doordarshan decided to bring back the series recently, to help people breeze through the COVID-19 lockdown.
7. Idhar Udhar
When you have talents like Ratna Pathak Shah and Supriya Pathak in a show, one can only imagine what a mad and hilarious caper it was! A sit-com beyond its time, the story of two working women who end up sharing their accommodation with two young men will have you rolling on the floor laughing. Rib-tickling banters and packed with situational humour, if there was any sit-com that we’d want to bring back from the 80s, it would Idhar Udhar.
8. Flop Show
The irony was in the name. Though known as the Flop Show, it was one of the superhits series of its time starring the king of satirical comedy, Jaspal Bhatti. The man who invoked some genuine laughs in the 80s with his deadpan jokes, his show focused on the socio-cultural problems faced by the common man in the country, but with a satirical twist.
9. He-man And The Master Of The Universe
The list is incomplete without chanting ‘By the power of Grayskull….’! A cult classic cartoon series wherein Prince Adam would transform into the greatest and the most majestic champion in the 80s, He-man and fight Skeletor and the evil forces. No cartoon today can match up to the level of excitement that every episode would instil in the viewers. Kids would cry their eyes out for He-man figurines, the iconic sword and every birthday party would have one theme, guess what?
10. Wagle Ki Duniya
Earning a cult status for its situational humour and drama, Wagle Ki Duniya revolved around ‘the common man of India’, a character created by the esteemed cartoonist R. K Laxman. The series shed light upon a chirpy sales clerk and his everyday struggles with his middle-class life and his nit-picking wife.
11. Vikram Aur Betal
Yet another classic show that had viewers in the clutches of its spellbinding stories. King Vikramaditya was given the task to retrieve and carry the corpse of Betal from a tree to another place in silence. But intrigued by Betal’s questions, he would break his vow of silence every time, and the corpse would end up returning to the tree! Sounds interesting? That’s exactly what urged the viewers to come back for another episode.
12. The Jungle Book
And last but not the least, The Jungle Book based on Rudyard Kipling’s collection of stories. Childhood for every 80s and 90s kids in India would be incomplete without mentioning Mowgli and his forest friends, Baalu and Bagheera. And there are no words to describe how special the Sunday mornings would feel listening to the theme song ‘Jungle jungle baat chali hai, pata chala hai…’. Still so refreshing in our memories and forever it will be, right?
What era 80s was, with no social media platforms, video-streaming sites or OTT platforms. If you miss an episode, it’s gone forever and you could only depend on your peers and relatives to catch up on the stories. No wonder these shows are etched in our memories today. We hope this list of popular Tv series before the 90s brings back some golden memories for you. Happy reminiscing!
Also, can you tell us how many do you remember? Or did we miss out on your favourite shows? Share them in the comments below.