Indian Soap Opera Then and Now

One of the most important things that most of the people (the majority of women) do at home is watching the TV soap opera, thanks to the availability of countless shows on many channels that we can select to watch anything of our preference. But things weren’t always like this. Back in the 1980s, we were only restricted to Doordarshan, and whether we liked it or not, we used to watch it still. Today, there are many cable television channels, such as Star, Sony, Zee, Colors, Life OK, & TV, and many others. We can watch the shows directly or else if we miss a show, we can even watch the repeat telecast of the show. Further, it can also be viewed on YouTube. Things have changed dramatically owing to the advancement of technology.

The first Indian TV soap opera was Hum Log. It was aired in 1984 and continued until December 1985. Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi was another soap opera of 1984, and it too was a great hit. In 1986, the television audience were able to witness Malgudi Days. It was based on R. K. Narayan’s works, and it captivated the audience back then. Stories from Malgudi Days are being told even today. Nukkad in 1986 was a craze among TV viewers. The show was about the struggles of people working near the streets. Another popular show during that time was Wagle Ki Duniya. The story was about a clumsy sales clerk. Mr. Yogi from 1989 was narrated by Om Puri. It was the story about a man who comes from America to find himself an Indian bride. Shahrukh Khan is a big name today. However, he entered reel life from his hit series Fauji back in 1989. Oh yes! Byomkesh Bakshi, Mungari Lal Ke Haseen Sapne, Dekh Bhai Dekh, were all magnificent. And how can we forget the epic Ramayana and Mahabharata? People used to approach their television screens and bow before it. For the kids, there were Vikram Betaal, the Jungle Book, Chandrakanta, and others.

People who were born in the 80s were lucky to witness all this. But after the coming of the cable TVs in the 90s, the taste of soap opera changed among the people. People started to watch shows such as Aahat, CID, Dastaan, and Parivartan. Then, this was even followed by huge favorites Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki, Kahin Kisi Roz, Kora Kagaz, Kasauti Zindagi Kay, Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin and many others. After that had come, Balika Vadhu, Na Aana Is Desh Lado, Bade Achche Lagte Hain, Khichdi, and many others.

With over 800 TV channels in India, TV remains the most accessible form of entertainment. Indian soap opera is watched by millions across India, and the numbers are plenty. People can opt to choose anything they want. Savdhaan India and Crime Patrol have become a hit in delivering stories based on real crimes. The longest running Indian TV series with 2360 episodes is Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai. These TV soap operas are based on family relations which include love, a villain (mostly female), hatred, revenge, and greed.

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