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Iconic Indian TV Shows: Late 90s to Early 2000s


90s Nostalgia  •  8 May, 2024  •  18,005 Views  •  ⭐ 5.0

Written by Anand Swami


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Step back in time to an unforgettable chapter in Indian television with this nostalgic exploration of iconic shows from the late 90s to the early 2000s. These years were a golden age for Indian TV, marked by groundbreaking content that ranged from family dramas and spirited comedies to thrilling anthologies and revolutionary reality shows.

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This article celebrates the creators and casts who brought to life the memorable characters and stories that defined a generation, offering both entertainment and cultural commentary that resonated across millions of homes.

Dekh Bhai Dekh (1993)

Dekh Bhai Dekh
Image Credits: Amazon

Directed by Anand Mahendroo and produced by Jaya Bachchan's Saraswati Audio Visuals, "Dekh Bhai Dekh" remains a beloved family sitcom. The show chronicles the amusing life of the Diwan family, living in a palatial house in Mumbai. Key characters include Shekhar Suman as Sameer Diwan, Navin Nischol as Balraj Diwan, and Farida Jalal as Suhasini Diwan. Its light-hearted portrayal of family issues, combined with sharp dialogues and vibrant performances, makes it a timeless classic in Indian television history.

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Banegi Apni Baat (1993)

Banegi Apni Baat
Image Credits: India.com

Ajit Pal directed "Banegi Apni Baat," produced by Tony Singh and Deeya Singh. Premiering in 1993, this show was pioneering in its depiction of urban youth, focusing on college life and budding romances. It starred R. Madhavan, Irrfan Khan, and Surekha Sikri in pivotal roles. The series is credited with introducing a new narrative style to Indian television, with its realistic dialogue, relatable characters, and progressive themes.

Hip Hip Hurray (1998)

Hip Hip Hurray
Image Credits: Scroll

Directed by Nupur Asthana, this Zee TV classic was produced by UTV Television. "Hip Hip Hurray" followed the lives of 12th-grade students at the fictional DeNobili High School, dealing with adolescence, school pressure, and personal growth. The cast included Vishal Malhotra, Purab Kohli, and Shweta Salve. The show was praised for its authentic representation of teenage life and remains a favourite among those who grew up in the 90s.

Khana Khazana (1993)

Khana Khazana
Image Credits: Tring

"Khana Khazana" was an innovative cookery show that began in 1993, directed by Hansal Mehta and produced by Zee TV. Hosted by chef Sanjeev Kapoor, the show made exotic cuisine accessible to the Indian audience, teaching cooking techniques and easy recipes. Sanjeev Kapoor's charismatic presentation and practical tips helped make "Khana Khazana" a household name and inspired a generation of cooking enthusiasts.

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Tu Tu Main Main (1994)

Tu Tu Main Main
Image Credits: Bollywood Hungama

This comedy series, directed by Sachin Pilgaonkar and produced by Nirja Guleri, depicted the playful bickering between a mother-in-law (Reema Lagoo) and daughter-in-law (Supriya Pilgaonkar). "Tu Tu Main Main" was celebrated for its humorous exploration of the dynamics within Indian joint families, showcasing the love and light-hearted conflicts between the two main characters.

Shaktimaan (1997)

Shaktimaan
Image Credits: TV Time

"Shaktimaan," directed by Dinker Jani and produced by Mukesh Khanna's Bheeshm International, was India's first superhero television show. Mukesh Khanna played the dual role of Shaktimaan and his alter ego, Pandit Gangadhar Vidhyadhar Mayadhar Omkarnath Shastri, a nerdy photographer. This show was instrumental in teaching kids morals and virtues, using Shaktimaan's powers to fight against evil forces led by characters like Dr. Jackal and Tamraj Kilvish.

Aahat (1995)

Aahat
Image Credits: ScoopWhoop

Directed by B. P. Singh, "Aahat" was produced by Fireworks Productions. This horror anthology series spooked the Indian audience with its unique tales of supernatural activities, ghosts, and unexplained events. Each episode introduced new characters, typically culminating in a chilling twist that both terrified and captivated viewers, making it one of the most memorable horror shows on Indian television.

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Kasautii Zindagii Kay (2001)

Kasautii Zindagii Kay
Image Credits: Hotstar

This iconic drama, directed by Hitesh Tejwani and produced by Balaji Telefilms, narrates the tumultuous love story of Anurag Basu and Prerna Sharma, portrayed by Cezanne Khan and Shweta Tiwari respectively. "Kasautii Zindagii Kay" became famous for its complex characters, emotional depth, and dramatic plot twists, becoming a staple in the lives of Indian TV viewers.

Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin (2003)

Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin
Imaeg Credits: The Indian Express

Directed by Tony Singh and Deeya Singh, "Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin" was produced by DJ's A Creative Unit and quickly became a fan favourite for its inspirational narrative. The show features Mona Singh in the titular role of Jasmeet "Jassi" Walia, an unattractive but talented young woman navigating the cutthroat world of fashion.

This show broke stereotypes and offered a fresh take on personal and professional transformation, highlighting themes of resilience and self-acceptance. Other key characters included Armaan Suri (Apurva Agnihotri) and Mallika Suri (Rakshanda Khan), creating a compelling drama that resonated deeply with viewers.

Karishma Kaa Karishma (2003)

Karishma Kaa Karishma
Image Credits: Times of India

A remake of the American series "Small Wonder," "Karishma Kaa Karishma" was directed by Swapna Waghmare Joshi and produced by Alliance Media & Entertainment. The show follows the adventures of a robot daughter, Karishma, played by Jhanak Shukla, designed to look like a real girl. The series explored themes of family and technology through light-hearted comedy and science fiction. It was particularly appealing to young audiences, with its imaginative premise and the novelty of having a robot as the central character.

Sarabhai vs Sarabhai (2004)

Sarabhai vs Sarabhai
Image Credits: Hotstar

Directed by Deven Bhojani and produced by Hats Off Productions, "Sarabhai vs Sarabhai" is a cult classic sitcom that portrays the life of the affluent Sarabhai family, split into the quintessentially middle-class daughter-in-law Monisha (Rupali Ganguly) and her upper-class in-laws. The show is known for its sharp wit and memorable characters like the snobbish Maya Sarabhai (Ratna Pathak Shah) and the goofy Indravadan Sarabhai (Satish Shah). Its sophisticated humour and satirical take on social classes have earned it a beloved place in Indian television history.

Shaka Laka Boom Boom (2000)

Shaka Laka Boom Boom
Image Credits: YouTube

Produced by UTV Software Communications and directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya, "Shaka Laka Boom Boom" is a children's television series focused on the adventures of Sanju and his magical pencil. This pencil can bring anything he draws to life, leading to various exciting and sometimes troublesome scenarios. The show captured the imaginations of young viewers, combining elements of magic, adventure, and morality. It was not just entertainment but also a source of inspiration for creativity and innovation among children.

Boogie Woogie (1996)

Boogie Woogie
Image Credits: Hindustan Times

"Boogie Woogie" was one of India's first dance reality shows, created, directed, and hosted by Naved Jaffrey, Ravi Behl, and Javed Jaffrey. The show was produced by R&N TV Productions and became immensely popular for showcasing talented dancers across India. With its diverse participants, engaging dance battles, and charismatic hosts, "Boogie Woogie" set a benchmark for dance competitions in India, celebrating the country's rich dance culture in an accessible television format.

Conclusion

As we conclude this nostalgic journey through some of India's most cherished television shows, it's clear that these series were more than just entertainment. They were cultural milestones that offered new perspectives, showcased societal shifts, and provided a voice to diverse narratives during a transformative era in Indian broadcasting.

Each show, whether it delved into the dynamics of family life, the complexities of love, or the adventures of youth, contributed uniquely to the tapestry of Indian television, leaving a legacy that continues to influence the industry and enchant new audiences today.

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