Saturday, September 13, 2008

Re-living Television of the 80's

Television is a widely used telecommunication medium for sending (broadcasting) and receiving moving images, either monochromatic ("black and white") or color, usually accompanied by sound. "Television" has been widely view and is been considered as one of the many powerful medium of sharing information along with other mediums like the newspaper and the internet.

I still remember the day when I saw the televison for the first time when I had visited a house along with my mom during the early 80's. The first picture that was viewed was that of an aeroplane that was shown in the evening news from which a foreign delegate was waving at the crowd below.

I always feel that the programme content of the 80s though amateurish was far more intelligent than today's. Hardly, we used to get 6 or 7 hours of programming a day. The best thing about the telecast was it used to wind up at 10 pm. The most frequent program was "Sorry for the interruption". Despite, all the technological glitches the content was truly "rainbow stuff".

The standards of comedy achieved by "Yeh Jo Hain Zindagi" are yet to be paralleled on Indian television. An all time great "Malgudi Days" brought to life its characters in the same way as described in the novel.

Even the mythological serials like Ramayan, Mahabharat, and Alif Laila were good in content. Foreign serials like "Old Fox" "Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" and "Oshin" were equally stupendous. The "Tele-match" special from Germany which used to be telecast during rain delays in cricket matches was entertainment in its own right.

Movie telecast thankfully was limited to three a week i.e. one each Hindi, local language and National Award Winner (any language). The content was highly censored and hence fit for family viewing. There used to be an air of expectation for Sunday evening films so was the wait for the twice a week Chitrahaar and Sunday mornings Rangoli. I used to hate missing the Sunday morning Rangoli when I had to attend my MCA weekend contact classes.

Sports telecast were limited to important events like Olympics, Asian Games, Wimbledon and India featuring cricket matches. This is one aspect which today's television scores because the quality of India content those days was very pedestrian. During live telecast, there used to be frequent satellite outages and cricket match coverage in India used to be done with a single camera.

The concept of "Mile Sure Mera Tumhara" was path breaking and still echoes in my ears. The one message I despised the most was promoting the use of "Iodine Salt". It was very badly conceptualized, shot and ran for ages. Advertisement and social messages had a great mix but that was possible because Television was state controlled.

Children programs were not far behind. "Giant Robot" and "Star Trek" were the introduction of sci-fi to me. "Spiderman" on Sundays at 5:30pm meant deserting of playing grounds for us. "Discovery of India" was a great way to understand Indian History apart from the mundane textbooks. Quiz Master by Siddharth Basu on Sunday nights enthralled and educated a whole nation.

Nostalgia apart, television in the 80s was entertaining, educating and enabling. Though it was of limited duration telecast the joy it bought was unlimited. It was not like television of today brash and bent upon higher TRPs. Those days will never be back again but one can recall with pride that Television of the 80s was never an Idiot Box.


Geetha said...

oh ho... ur post makes me more nostalgic!!! so nice to reminiscent about the days gone past... those were the days!

Arun said... did make me too to feel nostalgic as I was composting that post!!...