ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Wonder Years

Soap operas and serials on Indian television during the 1980s and 1990s were often commonsensical, well-written, witty and catered to the whole family.

Many of us express grief that the content dished out on Indian television nowadays is no match for the likes of One Tree Hill or Sex and the City or, better still, Game of Thrones. But not very long ago, IndianTV shows were doing it right too. Yes! Before the sari-clad, bindi-supporting, scheming mothers-in-law, cheating spouses, and a profusion of children from their polygamous exploits became the norm, there was a time when serials with crisp and lucid narration, authentic and believable plots, impeccable and flawless story-writing and some very fine acting ruled the roost. The good news is that a lot of these classics are now freely available on YouTube. 

Those who were born during the 1980s have witnessed fascinating phases of popular Indian culture. They have seen the era when people in distant Indian villages used to worship the characters who appeared in mythological serials. They have also seen the time when social comedies replaced soaps based on religious texts. And then when Manmohan Singh decided to usher in the economic reforms package, everything changed. As the winds of globalisation swiftly swept across the nation, the decade of 1990–2000 underwent a metamorphosis, like never before. We saw the emergence of TV characters who were very populist in their approach and voiced the sentiments of the great Indian middle class. 

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