A crazy fan of books and television, most of my time since early teens has been spent in either reading or watching television. My earliest concrete memory of watching something memorable on TV is “Rangoli”. Hosted by the gorgeous Hema Malini, beautiful Bollywood numbers were played in the show early Sunday mornings. DD national was basically the only channel we could manage to get via our antenna.
In the mid 90’s we got cable network at our place. There was no looking back after that. SONY and ZEE were an instant hit. I used to watch almost all the serials broadcasted in these channels. CID, Just Mohabbat, Hip Hip Hurray, Family No 1, Dekh Bhai Dekh, Hum Sab Ek Hain and on and on and on.
One fine afternoon I came across a show, Hum Paanch. It was superbly hilarious and everything about it clicked so well- the forever confused father, Bina the mother, Sweety, Kajal bhai, everyone. At that time however, I had no idea about production houses, direction or anything related to the making of TV shows. For me, the world I saw on TV seemed to exist there, just like that!
I discovered another good serial, “Kasam”. The story had a matured subject, which was portrayed very well by all the characters! Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu thi and Kahani ghar ghar ki started soon after. I was totally fascinated by these serials and had begun to understand that a lot more than what we see on screen, is involved in making of a tv show. Production, direction, sets, sound, music everything were an integral part of it! It was then that I started appreciating serials more than ever!
The efforts of the actors in portraying varied emotions on-screen, their costumes, venues all stirred different types of excitement in my young mind. More and more serials soon flooded the channels and one day I noticed that serials from Balaji telefilms were the ones I enjoyed watching the most. Kutumb, Kusum, Kya hoga Nimmo ka, Kasauti Zindagi ki and so on went the long list of K-drama sagas.
News channels also started segments on the tele-serial world and it was fun to watch our favorite stars speak candidly on camera. It used to be so joyful. Then, words started doing rounds that Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji telefilms was making baseless saas-bahu stuffs which were illogical and had no semblance to real life. They criticized the costumes of the ladies saying that no one could wear those in real life, the sets were too gorgeous for some people and for others the story was too good to be true!
As an honest spectator, I really enjoyed those serials and I knew most of the people did too. We cannot compare everything with our life and judge them, few things are meant for entertainment and we must leave them there! But the criticism never stopped and the only outcome of this was that the other production houses came up with similar serials as they were totally inspired by Balaji telefilms!
It was Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Telefilms which brought timeless love stories like Kutumb, Kaahin toh hoga and Kaisa yeh Pyaar hai. Honestly, their serials stood out from others in lot many ways, quality of the sets, story strength, dialogues, acting, everything. And now after two decades, she still rules the industry, not only with serials but movies and web series too (at ALTBalaji)😊