Indian Television Soaps that Created a Landmark

Television in India has certainly become a landmark in shaping and educating the masses. It has not only educated its audiences, but also put in front the condition and scenario of various families, their cultures and values. From 1980 to 2013, Indian Television has come a long way and has produced incredibly awesome soap operas. From Buniyaad to Shanti, Dekh Bhai Dekh to Balika Vadhu, each and every show on Indian television has been inspired by true values, culture, and profound emotions of both men and women across India.

Today, Feminiya is revealing the top 20 serials (soap operas) on Indian television, which proved to be a grand success and also contributed to the growth of Indian television, over the years. After declaring the top 20 in random order, we are going to come up with Top 15, Top 10, and finally the Top 5 soap operas in the history of Indian television.

So, let’s get on the journey of reminiscing good old days and childhood memories, when we used to come home from workplace, tuitions, and schools, and used to switch on the manual black-and-white television set and watch those shows with our families together.

List of Shows in Random Order:

Hum Log (1984)


It was the first ever soap opera on Indian television. The show incepted in July, 1984, and ever since then, the show and its characters became legendary and a hot topic of discussions amongst every Indian family. The show revolved around the middle class families of 1980s, and their daily struggles and aspirations.

Ramayan (1987)


It is yet another one of the highly successful and phenomenally popular epics on Indian television: written, directed and created by Ramanand Sagar. This epic series used to be shown on television on every Sunday at 9:00 A.M. It drew around 100 million viewers in its kitty, and became the most viewed serial of all times in Limca Book of Records, until 2003.

Alif Laila (1993)


This serial was based on stories from The Arabian Nights. It was produced and created by Sagar Films. Alif Laila was made in two seasons- first one aired on DD National, while second season on SAB TV. The show proved to be a great success for its makers and broadcasters, as it received high kudos all over India.

Dekh Bhai Dekh (1993)


Dekh Bhai Dekh was one of the most popular sitcoms of its time. The show was produced by the Actress Jaya Bachchan, on Doordarshan’s metro channel- DD2. The story of the show revolved around a family who lived in suburbs of Mumbai, and portrayed their ‘never give-up’ attitude in every situation, be it in-laws and irksome parents, relationships troubles, siblings rivalry. Even the title track of the show “Iss rang badalti duniya mein kyat tera hai kya mera hai” became quite popular.

R.K. Narayan’s Malgudi Days (1986)


It was 39 episodes long serial, based on R.K. Narayan’s famous book- Malgudi Days. Each story was usually an episode long and an inspiring one. It gained popularity amongst all age groups in India, and proved to be the great and popular landmark in the television industry of India.

Zee Horror Show (1993)


It was one of the very popular shows on Indian television, in 1990s. It was presented by Ramsay brothers during 1993-1998. The very first episode was titled ‘Dastak’ and featured Archana Puran Singh and Pankaj Dheer as lead artists, and gained massive publicity. One can see the popularity of the show by its fan page created on various social networking sites, such as facebook and twitter.

Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi (2000)


This show was produced by the young lady and queen of Indian television- Ekta Kapoor, who gave a new avatar and standard to Indian television, which proved to be quite fruitful for it. It was the longest running show of all time, in the history of Indian television, and was ranked no. 1 in Asia, from 2000-2008 along with Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii. Reportedly, when one of the male protagonists of the show ‘Mihir Virani’ was killed in the show, people protested outside Balaji Production House, and eventually the producers and directors were forced to make Amar Upadhyay (Mihir) to come back to the show.

Shanti (1994)


It showcased the life of a woman, especially an Indian, on how she deals the conspiracies and challenges of her life. Mandira Bedi played the role of female protagonist of the show, and the show achieved a cult status in India and was considered as one of the classics of Indian television. It is also considered as one of the finest work of UTV productions.

Kaun Banega Crorepati (2000)


It was based on UK based show- Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?  It was first aired in 2000 with Amitabh Bachchan, making his first ever appearance on Indian television. It offered its contestants to win up to a crore rupees, but gradually the prize money was raised, and now it has become 5 crore. Its seventh season is going to be aired in September, 2013. Since its inception in 2000, the show has received many awards and credits. It is totally accepted that the biggest reason behind the success of the show is none other than the superstar Amitabh Bachchan.

Shri Krishna (1993)


It was yet another milestone work, which was created, written, and directed by Ramanand Sagar. The show was one of the big grosser for DD, from mid 90s to late 90s. It was based on the Bhagwat Geeta that is a holy book in Hinduism.

Chandrakanta (1994)


It was an Indian fantasy television series that was partly based on Devaki Nandan’s novel of the same name. The series had gained a huge popularity but had to be pulled off air by its makers, and producers had to file a suit in the court for reinstatement. But the show again gained popularity with its reruns on Sony and Star Plus, later on.

Balika Vadhu (2008)


This is yet another show from 2000s that has managed to bag a place amongst top 20 shows of all times.  The show deals with child marriage and its ill effects. Since the very beginning, spectators have been closely attached to the show by Avika Gaur’s notching acting skills. Later, Pratyusha joined the show as matured Anandi and again impressed the viewers, However, TRP’s of the show fell from 3.5 to 2.5, as soon as Pratyusha left the show, but later people started to love the chemistry between Toral (new Anandi) and Siddharth ( Shivraj Shekhar). The show is on its track of breaking the record of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, by reaching maximum number of on-air episodes, though it has not yet broken KSBKBT’s (Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi) record in term of TRPs.

Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi (1984)


This was another popular sitcom on Indian television during 1980s. It was written by comedy writer Sharad Joshi. It was one of the first and biggest hit shows of Doordarshan, since the time DD started sponsoring its program. It used to be aired on Friday at 9:00 P.M., and it even affected the movie openings on Friday, in India.

Flop Show (1989)


Flop Show was yet another landmark sitcom from 1980s, which was written and directed by the late actor Jaspal Bhatti. There were only 10 episodes of the show that could be produced, but the show still has its charm and a powerful legacy amongst the Indian spectators. All the 10 episodes of the show were a satire on the problems and challenges in the life of a common man. It still gets reruns on various channels of DD.

Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii (2000)


Kahani Ghar Ghar Kii is one of those few shows that did incredibly well on Indian television. During 2000-2008, the show remained highest watched show in Asia, after Kyunki Saas bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. Its episode of 15th November 2006 became the world’s most watched episode with TRP around 40. The show was all about Agarwal family and Parvati Agarwal (Sakshi Tanwar) who played the role of an ideal Indian daughter-in-law (bahu). Parvati became a household name, and people all over India started looking for qualities like her in their daughter-in-laws.

Buniyaad (1986)


It was an Indian television drama series that was directed by Ramesh Sippy and Jyoti Sarup. The story of Buniyaad dealt with partition of India and its aftermaths. It became quite popular on Indian television, with people involving themselves with partition of the country. The show is once again re-airing on DD National from 25th July, 2013, on every Thursday at 8:30 P.M. Those, who have missed the opportunity of viewing it, can view this incredible show now.

Ek Mahal Ho Sapno Ka (1999)


It was the Hindi soap opera that was televised on Sony TV from 1999-2002. It was the longest fiction show of its time to reach 1000 years. The story revolved around Purushottam Nanavati who led his joint family with four married sons. It was all about the trials and tribulations, a joint family faces. It showed that how the family members find way to cope these differences amongst each other.

Mahabharat (1988)

Mahabharat (1)

It was a 94 episodes long show that was inspired by Hindu epic – Mahabharat. It was produced by B.R. Chopra and directed by his son Ravi Chopra. It used to be aired on Sunday mornings from 9:00A.M.-10:00 A.M., and approximately 90,000,000 Rs were spent in making this show. The show became a huge success on Indian television and achieved a cult status.

Shrimaan Shrimati (1995)


This show became popular due to amazing work by all the actors and a comic story line. It was built around the concept of – ‘love your neighbor’s wife’. The story revolved around Keshav Kulkarni who used to admire Prema Shalini- a successful actress whom Keshav’s wife Kokila used to hate. Later, the show was re-aired on SAB TV.

So, these were the milestones of Indian television that proved to be a huge success during their time of airing. But, the competition does not stop here as we are going to cut it short to top 15. But, which 15 will it be, you have to wait and see by yourself in our next post.

Is your favorite going to enter the top 15, or will just have a ranking between16-19, stay tuned and watch it out!