I grew up in the 8o’s and early 90’s -easily one of the most interesting times in Indian Entertainment space. Mostly, things were the exact opposite of how they are today: some of the worst films imagined came out during this period – for Indian Television, it was the Golden Age: some amazing content saw the light of the day.
Bollywood in the late 80’s was full of graying had-beens who didn’t seem to have the word “quit” in their dictionary. Dharmendra, Shatrughan, Jeetendra, Vinod Khanna, Firoze Khan, Raaj Kumar et al were all “action” heroes, doling out kicks, punches and gunshots with amazing regularity, pointed either at Amrish Puri, Anupam Kher, Kiran Kumar, Gulshan Grover or Sadashiv Amrapurkar. Even Big B was no exception..
Movie titles were usually self-explanatory – sample this: Jalaakar Raakh Kar Doonga, Mar Mitenge, Jeene Do, Main Balwan, Taaqatwar, Ladaai, Paap ki Kamaee, Aag Hi Aag, Meri Zabaan, Jung Baaz, Billoo Badshah…the list goes on and on.
As far as TV was concerned, Doordarshan ruled the roost. Nowadays, all over the net, websites and Blog Posts abound that make nostalgic references to DD and its plethora of serials. Compared to the garbage dished out by zillions of channels on air today, DD programming was truly of impeccable standards, despite being targeted at the masses. Now and then one would come across gems that are inconceivable on TV or films of the present.
A case in point is “In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones” , a coming of age tale of Architecture students from School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi in the early 70s, which was aired on DD in 1989. It was written by Arundhati Roy and starred Shahrukh Khan, Roy herself, Roshan Seth, Arjun Raina and a host of other regulars from the stage and small screen of the time. It’s available on You Tube, and one can easily make out that it’s one of the best student films made in India, ever!
We’d spend our evenings with Chekov and Dostoevsky on Katha Saagar or Ek Kahani, and weekends with Carl Sagan in Cosmos! Not to mention the Sunday afternoon “Regional Films” which introduced cinema from all corners of the country to us.