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Sometimes, it gets difficult to digest that we’re in the year 2021, almost 30 years from the 90s, which the internet has collectively declared as the most nostalgic and memorable time in our collective history.
For obvious reasons that we were all conveniently born then, most of us have the tendency to view our past through rose tinted glasses.
There was a time back then, where TV shows could make you laugh without resorting to cheap tricks and dirty tropes. Comedy was simple, but smart too. Managing to keep an entire generation laughing, every day, without fail.
It was a fine line that the Indian TV industry kowtowed well for almost a decade before it eventually became formulaic and regressed.
However, let’s take a look at 5 TV shows from our golden childhood that had no business being as funny as they were:
1. Zabaan Sambhalke
An Indian remake of the popular show Mind Your Language, Zabaan Sambhalke had Pankaj Kapoor going about his duties as a Hindi language instructor, teaching students hailing from different nationalities.
The comical gaffes and lost-in-translation scenes gave an entire generation of Indian audiences endless laughs.
2. Sarabhai vs Sarabhai
An undeniable cult classic, the original run of Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai is often considered one of the finest comedy shows made for the Indian TV screens.
Each character had their unique idiosyncrasies that didn’t feel forced or gimmicky, instead, they found a way to seamlessly trade setups and punchlines among them.
From Rosesh’s neverending poems to Maya and Monisha’s constant bickering, this show had it all without making it feel out of place.
Unfortunately, the second run of the series didn’t enjoy much applause.
3. Tu Tu Main Main
First aired in 1994, Tu Tu Main Main packaged the desi saas-bahu relationship with a generous serving of smart and cutting humour.
The fervent to-and-fro between Radha and Devkiben was something that a majority of the Indian TV viewing audience related to. It managed to keep things funny, without seeming forced.
Khichdi brought about, what I believe, was the golden age for Indian TV.
The show had seemingly cracked the perfect formula to make us laugh, with Praful’s ever so optimistic and self-assured way of responding to every “Prafooool… matlab…” sent his way by Hansa.
The show was aptly named after the classic Indian dish. Simple, clean humour that was easily digested by the masses.
5. Mr. Bean
At a point in time, Mr. Bean was one of the most frequently viewed TV shows in India.
Rowan Atkinson’s peculiar mannerisms as the titular character won him widespread fanfare across the globe, including India.
The beauty of Mr. Bean lay in the fact that language wasn’t required to understand the humour in the scenes. Our protagonist’s expressions were enough to transcend any form of linguistic boundaries. A classic.
These are some of the shows I grew up with, shows that never failed to get a laugh out of me. And even in 2021, these shows make me laugh harder than anything on my TV screen, presently.