When the small screen turned nostalgic

Mumbai | By
Dec 20, 2020 12:36 PM IST

This year, television channels hit the rewind mode and aired a number of classic and popular shows like Ramayan, Mahabharat, Bade Achche Lagte Hain, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata hai, Pavitra Rishta etc, which appealed to the audiences

In times of lockdown, Covid-19 and social distancing, being entertained while stuck at home was a necessity for many. Therefore, the small screen became an even more integral part of daily routines. And, this year, in an unprecedented move, triggered by lack of fresh content as well as to keep viewers hooked, television channels re-aired old classics which were loved by the audiences at home.

Doordarshan took the lead and aired two episodes each of their two popular shows Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan (1987) and B R Chopra’s Mahabharat (1988) every day.
Doordarshan took the lead and aired two episodes each of their two popular shows Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan (1987) and B R Chopra’s Mahabharat (1988) every day.

B R Chopra’s Mahabharat
B R Chopra’s Mahabharat

Doordarshan took the lead and aired two episodes each of their two popular shows Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan (1987) and B R Chopra’s Mahabharat (1988) every day, and the other channels weren’t far behind. They too soon began airing their superhits to the enjoyment of the viewers including Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata hai, Bade Achche Lagte Hain, Pavitra Rishta, Kasamh Se, Shrimaan Shrimati, Jai Shri Krishna, Comedy Nights With Kapil, among others.

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Balika Vadhu
Balika Vadhu

The loved stories and performances gave comfort to people, who also enjoyed revisiting their favourite shows. This is also a necessity as production of all TV shows had halted due to the lockdown and airing reruns was a stellar move to keep people hooked. For three months, every channel saw spike in ratings and the run ended in July when fresh content was being produced and the programming shifted back to the current shows.

Bade Achche Lagte Hain
Bade Achche Lagte Hain

Archana Puran Singh, who starred in Shrimaan Shrimati, says, “During the lockdown and the pandemic, religion or spirituality was a natural recourse for many people. The series that were brought back as re-runs were all super hits of their time for a very good reason: their genuine humour or mass appeal of mythology. These are classics have had a popular vote among the viewer’s even after decades. The vintage shows appealed to either a religious sentiment like Mahabharata does. And depressing circumstances begged to be alleviated through comedy and therefore serials like Shrimaan Shrimati were welcomed with great enthusiasm and appreciation. Also, whatever the genre, these shows were high in content if not in form. They brought back a time of TV where the technique may have been basic but the content was very solid.”

Shrimaan Shrimati
Shrimaan Shrimati

These shows have been an integral part of our culture and even today, people appreciate it, feels Arun Govil, who played Ram in Ramayan. “The show’s appeal is evergreen. Since people had time, they could enjoy the show properly and also could show it to their kids, who would be teenagers now. They could satisfy their curiosity about a show called Ramayan that their elders talk about often. The ratings were high as people wanted to see these shows and maybe, if after a few years the show was aired again, people would like to revisit once more,” he shares.

Puneet Issar, who played Duryodhan in Mahabharat, agrees and adds that the content was so powerful that the repeat value of old shows will never diminish. “These shows were made very well, directed and written well. Today, daily soaps are shot every day as they have to deliver daily while earlier established makers were involved in the production and creation and they would spent time to make quality stuff. I remember while shooting for Mahabharat, we would take six-seven days to shoot one episode.

Calling himself fortunate to be a part of such classic show, Avinash Mukherjee, who starred in Balika Vadhu, says, “There are very few shows captures the heart of the audiences and leaves a mark. So these shows have had an emotional impact on people. What makes a piece of content classic is when you watch it repeatedly, you still feel an emotional attachment, which takes you into a different world. If a show evokes warmth and attachment in people even after years of airing, means the creators, writers and directors did a fantastic job and it was magic.”

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    Mumbai-based Kavita Awaasthi writes on Television, for the daily Entertainment and Lifestyle supplement, HT Cafe

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