Almost two and a half decades ago, before the remote control of our 12-inch flat screen ruled the living room and also to some extent, our lives, Doordarshan was the king of television. Back then the saas-bahu drama was kept minimal, and DD followed a standard set of productions; there were no actors paid to fight on-screen either (keep Mtv Splitsvilla in mind). Television was basic. Lives were uncomplicated. Kids waited for ‘
Shaktimaan’ every Sunday, and the adults had
Pankaj Kapur as ‘
Karamchand’ to watch or
Mandira Bedi as ‘
Shanti’ to take their pick. While Doordarshan became a must-have in each household, the producers had to venture outside slapstick comedy and everyday drama. Remember ‘
Malgudi Days’? Doordarshan churned out stellar performances with a proper storyline and actors, proving better than ever before.
Humrahi first aired on Doordarshan, back when Doordarshan was all that was. The show first aired in 1994. The show was scripted by
Manohar Shyam Joshi- the famous scriptwriter, who was behind the production of India's first ever television soap opera ‘Hum Log'. Credited by Doordarshan, written by Joshi and was directed by Kunwar Sinha. Humrahi was one of the first tales of a family which had a background of the social problem and issues emerging in India. The story revolves around a family of three brothers and their interconnected families and the general familial issues that often arise when a joint family lives under the same roof. Humrahi mastered a superb cast.
The ensemble cast included
Sadiya Siddiqui as Angoori,
Gopi Desai, Anand Desai, and
Mohan Bhandari. What the show gained was a beautiful performance from
Himani Shivpuri, whose fresh face and excellent acting as Devaki Bhaujai created a benchmark in the race of negative roles. You may find a likeness between the evil ‘bhabhi' with ‘Kasautii Zindagii Kay’'s Komolika- the villain. The audience couldn't help, but like the plots, she lays out for the other members of the family and how she is always full of gossip. Shivpuri made the character very popular.
Humrahi, like its producer, was a medium of social change; something that Doordarshan had hoped to gain through its telecasts. The show focussed on the education of girl- children and the plight of widows after the death of their spouses. In courtesy to ace scriptwriting by
Manohar Joshi, Humrahi was able to get the social message across and became one of the finer things for which it is remembered, even after a decade and a half.