Indian TV Serials – The Problem of Too Many Choices

I recently stumbled upon a video of a very old DD serial named Farmaan which had Kanwaljeet Singh, Deepika Deshpande and Raja Bundela. Farmaan is undeniably one of the most romantic TV serials that I have ever seen.  The plot was simple – romance between a plain, poor girl and a rich, arrogant man…you know the kind of romance you get to read in Mills and Boon. Also the twists, confusions, jealousy and misunderstandings in the serial made one think of the serial’s similarity with the plots of Jane Austen’s books.

Now coming back to the video- it was of a very short duration and in spite of trying hard I could not find the other parts of the serial. But the video brought back a lot of memories from my childhood, when things on TV were simple, fun and a lot more entertaining than what we see today.

Here is the Farmaan DD video that I had luckily bumped into

I agree that back in the 80s and early 90s we did not have many options; we had to make ourselves content with DD serials and later on DD2. But I enjoyed watching those serials. I still remember my favorite ones – Ramayan, Mahabharat, Buniyad, Circus, Farmaan, Kashish, Airhostess, Gul Gulshan Gulfaam, Chitrahaar, Rangoli ( I remember getting up early on Sundays to watch Rangoli and jot down the songs they played ) and Byomkesh Bakshi. That was a long list I know!

If you ask me what do I miss the most when I watch TV these days, my answer would be unique content. I think the last show on the TV that I thoroughly enjoyed watching was Sarabhai vs Sarabbhai.

I have tried to jot down 5 points why TV serials nowadays lose their charm a bit too early

1)      Too many options – With over 7 major entertainment TV networks each running at least 6-7 serials a day, one has now lots of options. It’s like going to a mall to buy a toothpaste and seeing 8-9 brands of toothpaste all claiming to offer added components and properties. And the result is – you come back home with lots of confusion and no purchase at all and at the end of the day you decide to stick with the current brand of toothpaste you are using. It’s same with the TV serials, with countless serials on air it becomes difficult to decide what to watch and what and most importantly how to keep a track of what’s happening in which show.

2)      Repetitive content – I don’t know if it’s the ‘good ole’days’ symptom or what! I somehow can’t manage to like what I see these days on the TV. Though every serial begins with a hope- Oh! This one is going to be different from the saas bahu ki nokjhok or the plain girl and the rich boy romance. Lekin nahi…all of them go the same way.

3)      TRP race- Every show wants to win the TRP race as a result they try to come up with new twists and plots completely different to the plot they’d started the show with. When you start watching a show you have some expectations from it, you want it to run in a coherent way. But with TRP deciding the content of the show nowadays it appears that plot and good story have taken a backseat. Look at Balika Vadhu which when started off focused on the hard reality of child marriage and took the TV industry by a storm but is nowadays reduced to mere pati-patni aur woh stuff.

4)      Duration – When Kyunki Saas bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi began it fetched a lot of appreciation from women of all ages. The serial’s lead pair Tulsi and Mihir became a household name and when Ekta Kapoor decided to kill off Mihir she was bombarded with hordes of fan requests to bring back the character of Mihir. But 8 years later no one even bothered that Tulsi died, she underwent a plastic surgery, and then again the original Tulsi came – the serial was completely messed up at the end. When you keep stretching a show with ridiculous twists, does-not-make-any-sense plots, what do you expect to get in return? Let’s face it- almost every month a new serial is launched in some channel with a  fresh plot, so who do you think is going to watch your ghisha pita serial.

5) Watching same faces every day is boring – When you do a thing every day it becomes boring – it’s happening with me these days. I am kinda bored of Facebook because I do it every day. So, watching same faces, same story which in most shows takes 1 month to move ahead, make people tired and bored.



  • Sayeri Bhattacharya

    It’s very true.In my childhood days,there only three TV channels, DD 1,DD 2 & a bengali channel DD 7.Some serials like,Raja aur Rancho,Mahabharat,Tahakikat,Poroshuramer Goppo these were very populer that days.I think two reason have made these populer:
    1)That days we didn’t have many options
    2)Direction,Story,acting all, qualitywise awesome.

  • Thanks girlie! I forgot to mention Byomkesh Bakshi…in 90s i had a major crush on rajat kapoor 😉

  • The video you mentioned in your post is not here… I don’t see that

  • It works at my end. Probably net issues at your end

  • It works fine. Probably net issues at your end

  • An update: Someone with the userid DoingDrama has generously uploaded the videos oof the entire series on youtube.

  • An update: Someone with the userid DoingDrama has generously uploaded the videos of the entire series on youtube.

  • An observer…yup i watched the series on youtube. I think it’s Deepika aka aiman of the serial who has uploaded the videos 🙂

  • I loved reading your blog…I guess we must be the same age because all the serials and programs that you’ve mentioned have been my favourites as well…and yes, I had a crush on Rajat Kapoor as well as Kanwaljeet (after Farmaan) and Sudesh Beri (after Kashish)…such master pieces all these serials. Also, I don’t think that till date there’s been a better epic serial than BR Chopra’s Mahabharat.

  • Forgot to add that I agree cent per cent with why TV content is so boring (and even depressing) today. Now with this new channel Zindagi there seems to be some novelty…let’s see what comes of it.

  • Then there was Sea Hawks………………luvd Mahadevan!!! Also Niki Aneja, so classy.

  • Many thanks for this constructive information. Keep up the fantastic work. I’ll be coming back often.

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