12 Shows That Shaped Our Modern Television

Some Indian TV shows have had a great influence on present day television. They had unique concepts and storylines, some were adapted from our epics and some from ground-breaking novels. In turn, these TV shows proved to be unforgettable and a source of inspiration. They were responsible in shaping the way shows were created afterwards. Some shows are still unbeatable as their dialogues and storylines were written by writers who made big names for themselves.Let’s take a look 12 such shows which set the tone for modern television shows:


People waited with bated breath for this show based on the epic by Valmiki and Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas. It was directed, scripted and created by Ramanand Sagar and quickly captured the attention of the whole nation. The entire country came to a standstill when the serial was aired, as nobody wanted to miss it. It was the first show which was based on the epics and ran from January 1987 to July 1988.


After the successful run of Ramayan, it was the turn of Mahabharata, which was aired on DD National, from 1988 to October 1990. Directed by Ravi Chopra and produced by BR Chopra, it became the favorite show of India. The production quality was better than that of Ramayan’s and it made stars out of the all the actors who acted in it.

Hum Log

Hum Log was a sensation as it was based on the challenges faced by middle class people, which struck a chord with the masses, who underwent the same struggles. A special feature was legendary actor Ashok Kumar, who was the narrator, summarizing the show, and adding his two bits to it.


Directed by Ramesh Sippy, this soap opera became a cult show of the 80s up to 1990. Written by Manohar Shyam Joshi, it had Alok Nath playing Haweli Ram, and launched his career. Dealing with partition and its effects, it became close to the hearts of people who still remembered the painful partition days. 

Yeh Jo Hain Zindagi

Kundan Shah directed this sitcom and it immediately transformed Rakesh Bedi, Satish Shah, Shafi Inamdar and Swaroop Sampat to television stars. The storyline of each episode, written by Sharad Joshi, is unparalleled till today, with its own brand of humor. 

Malgudi Days

Based on the book by R K Narayan, this 39 episode show was one of the first comedy shows on television. The exploits of the little boy Swami in the fictional town of Malgudi, was a big hit with adults and children alike. 

Quiz Time

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Siddhartha Basu was the Quiz master of this first show on Indian which had a game show kind of format. He would ask GK based questions and sparked many quiz competitions in the country. He later went on to produce the immensely successful Kaun Banega Crorepati. 

The World This Week

The first news show on TV before the advent of satellite TV and Prannoy Roy, the co-founder of NDTV, would give a run-down of the news around the world.


Surabhi became a phenomenon which had a documentary style format, hosted by Siddarth Kak and Renuka Shahane, had a successful run from 1993 to 2001. This show had a record breaking response from the masses, with millions writing to the show every week, to answer the quiz at the end of the show.


This was Shah Rukh Khan’s ticket to the big screen, as he became a household name for his portrayal of Abhimanyu Rai.

Flop Show

Though it was only a 10 episode show, it became an instant hit in 1989, and is still watched on YouTube. Written and directed by the Late Jaspal Bhatti, it focused on socio-economic issues. It’s an unforgettable satire which influenced many other shows.

Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi

This was the mother of all saas-bahu serials. The Virani family won the hearts of Indian families and set the stage for Ekta Kapoor’s success, and other channels also started churning out saas-bahu serials by the dozen, successfully dominating television programming to this day.

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