The '80s is often considered the darkest period in Bollywood history. This was the time when the '70's big guns, Rajesh and Vinod Khanna, were giving duds after dud and the Khan troika of the '90's was yet to rise. Amitabh Bachchan and Jeetendra looked old and jaded, and Anil Kapoor, Sunny Deol and Jackie Shroff were nothing more occasional flashes in the pan. Sridevi and Jaya Prada weren't doing anything better either, busy churning out re-runs of their Tamil and Telugu hits for a foothold in mainstream pan-India audience.
But this was the time Indian television was warming up to some really good content. Rich in stories, an amazing collection of actors and some truly engaging storytelling meant that the television was the place to be.
We go down memory lane and revisit some shows that ensured every minute we spent in front of the small screen was totally worth it.Mahabharata (1988 – 1990)
Katha Sagar (1986)
Yet another popular TV series directed by veteran director Shyam Benegal and several others and based on short stories by famous writers from world literature -- Guy De Maupassant, Rabindranath Tagore, Leo Tolstoy, O Henry, Anton Chekov among many others. And featuring in them were some of best talents from Bollywood and theatre – Utpal Dutt, Shammi Kapoor, Om Puri, Saeed Jaffrey, Waheeda Rehman, Moushumi Chatterjee, Supriya Pathak, Vijayendra Ghatge, Parikshit Sahni, etc.
The World This Week (1988)
In the good old 1980s, Doordarshan news (read by the likes of Tejeshwar Singh, Nithi Ravindran, Rini Simon, and most famous of them all, Salma Sultan) was a staid if a dignified affair. The news readers almost always wore a sari and read the news without much drama (though in correct English). All that got a shake-up with the arrival of Prannoy Roy’s The World This Week. With better production quality and burrowing heavily from its anchor’s personality, news reading, for the first time, became glamorous.