5 Indian TV Shows/Series You Definitely Missed

Just when I was about to decide what my next article should be, I came across an idea to write something about Indian Television scene. Well.... if our Bollywood is trying hard to not get drowned in sea of idiocy & predictability than my dear friend Indian Television has hit a rock bottom. I don't watch Indian Television much, but sometimes you have to abandon your headphones & computer chair to have dinner with your family and that's when I came across some really bullshit shows that are currently aired on Indian TV.

Thanks to my mom & grandmother, I've seen (rather experienced) some real disasters on Indian Television in form of Sasural Simar Ka (Instead of Train hikes, Govt. should ban this show. Janhit mein jaari), Pavitra Rishta (Two 18 year leaps & still characters are in present day Mumbai...seriously WTF!!! ) & Bade Ache Lagte Hain (Let Mr. and Mrs. Ram Kapoor stay in peace, ek musibat tali nahi ki dusre khadi kar dete ho. Kabhi toh shaanti se jeene do unko) and that list will go on and on for eternity. Plot & logic in these shows are so wafer thin that it doesn't even take a single moment for my palm to reach my face. If ever you want to torture the people you hate, just make sure they see these shows with hands tied and eyes wide open.

I still feel those good ol' Doordarshan days were much much better than these cables days. Being a quintessential '90s kid, I did miss out on some of the most iconic & amazing TV shows of '80s but thanks to reruns & all time helpful torrents, I did watch some classic shows like Nukkad, Buniyaad, Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi & Mahabharata. I even enjoyed some shows of '90s like Tu Tu Main MainHum PaanchShaktimaan (Haha!! I used to love it as a kid. Andhera Kaayam Rahe Tamraj Kilvish!!! ) & equally serious ones like Sea Hawks featuring great acting talents like Om Puri, R Madhavan (yes!! the same Madhavan who then did films), Milind Soman & Anoop Soni. But post '00 everything changed drastically. Cables penetrated our lives like anything. Those iconic antennas which were found on every terrace started disappearing gradually. Doordarshan started becoming uncool with mediocre shows. The never-ending Saas-Bahu sagas & "K" serials started achieving terrific mass appeal. Such was the craze of those illogical & dragging shows (Some shows ran for 8 consecutive years with characters just coming back to life again and again) that a majority of people protested (thanks to silly SMS crazy spree) when a central character was made to die in one such never-ending-saga. After the cable television revolution, every channel tried to topped the TRP race & subsequently started churning out heavy doses of  migraine inducing regressive shows.

That's probably the reason that now-a-days Indian youths got alienated from these idiotic sagas and got more interested in western sitcoms. Ask any youth today Which is their favorite Television series? The answers would pop-up from Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, True Detective (my personal favourite), Walking Dead to Sherlock for Action/Drama genre to  How I Met Your Mother, Friends, The Big Bang Theory, Family Guy or evergreen & every one's favourite The Simpsons in the comedy genre.

So in the following article I will talk about those Indian TV shows/series which aired in recent 5-6 years that you definitely missed. I can't go watching every good show on every channel, so these are those shows that I've seen & liked a lot. If you have seen some other underrated Indian TV shows/series in recent years than do let us know in comments section.

5 Indian TV Shows/Series You Definitely Missed -

5. Muktibandhan (Colors)

Genre - Family Drama

Total Episodes - 162 (on-air for 9 months)

Written by - Vipul Mehta & Mihir Bhuta (adapted from Harikishan Mehta's Gujarati novel Muktibandhan)

Directed by - Vikram Ghai & Sangeeta Kulkarni

Cast - Shiv Kumar Subramanyam, Esha Kansara, Utkarsh Majumdar, Surbhi Vyas, Siddharth Arora & Deepti Naval

Before any of you jump to any conclusions(No, please don't drag a gun to me, let me explain..!! ), I must say that I never intended to include a family drama in this list but this show was an exception. It was quite different from other shows that are aired on various channels. Muktibandhan finds its place here for 3 reasons -

1. Unlike other shows which are being aired for decades with plot dragging hopelessly & introducing new villain/vamp once every couple of months, Muktibandhan was an exception. Makers faithfully adapted Harikishan Mehta's novel without tampering it & ended the show with finite sets of episodes (though the number is still very high compared to other shows listed below in this list).

2. Show premiered on the prime time slot of 9 PM but failed to attract audience with its unconventional approach and hence resulted into low TRPs & was eventually moved to late-night slot of 11 PM making way for Bigg Boss which turned more eyeballs for the obvious content. As a result it was given a miss.

3. Even though it had a bit of melodrama but it never went OTT with lightning flashing when something goes wrong, jarring background score, screen turning B&W. The USP of this show was terrific performances & apt casting.

Muktibandhan is a story of an arrogant, no nonsense, money minded, business centered & wealthy Industrialist I M Virani (these Viranis are surely better than those. I hope you got that!) played brilliantly by actor/writer Shiv Kumar Subramanyam (most famously known as Alia Bhatt's father in 2 States). How I M Virani's life changes & opens up a long lost chapter from his past when a new Business tycoon Devki Shah (Esha Kansara) enters his life forms the entire story of the show. There were several other sub-plots too including Virani's elder son falling for a Muslim actress, his hatred towards his father's simple ways of living & of course the entry of a Sadhvi Parimeeta (played restrained fully by Deepti Naval) which changes I M Virani's life in many ways.

Shiv Subramanyam as a lead was pitch perfect. Despite of being a South Indian he adopted the characteristics of Gujarati very well. Other notable performances were by Esha Kansara, Utkarsh Majumdar (as I M Virani's simple minded father), Siddharth Arora (as Virani's elder son) & smart special appearances by Hiten Tejwani, Ramesh Talwar & Rajeev Mehta.

In today's fast life when we catch our favourite series on smart phones while travelling to offices/colleges, watching this show may be tiresome but if you ever plan to catch this show then you could watch entire series here (All 162 episodes).

4. Khotey Sikkey (Sony)

Genre - Crime Fiction

Total Episodes - 26

Written & Directed by - Siddharth Anand Kumar & Jijy Philip

Cast - Vikas Kumar, Hasan Zaidi, Puru Chibber, Sukhmani Sadana, Mark Parakh & Dilkhush Reporter

When Yash Raj Films (YRF) entered Television arena, it was speculated as a next big step for TV revolution. This would break the monotony of Saas-Bahu sagas and set a new trend. But sadly from their 7 so-called shows only 2 managed to impress me. And the sadder part is that public doesn't even remember either of two. First one which I've seen in bits (hence didn't include it in this list) is Atul Sabharwal's (he then made his debut with Aurangzeb) action/crime drama Powder revolving around the drug mafias starring exceptional acting talents like Manish Chaudhary & Pankaj Tripathi.

The reason Khottey Sikkey clicked to me was because of its quirky story-line where 5 reckless rich dudes from SoBo (South Bombay) helps Senior Inspector Damodar Deshmukh (Vikas Kumar) in solving various crimes. Though it sounds filmy but Jijy Philip (directed first 6 episodes) very well establishes how & in what scenario Deshmukh met these 5 reckless rich dudes & how their bonding grows with each subsequent case.

Casting again was the strong point of this show which was seen in form of some amazing performances specially Vikas Kumar as Deshmukh. Of all the 5 kids, everyone did their part well but it was Mark Parakh's performance as goofy nerd Ayush Khetrapal that generated maximum laughs on the show.

My favourite cases from all were the one with Joker, Murders through poems, Terrorist attacks in college, Fake painting & the one with twin sadhus.

You don't need to watch entire series to understand the back-story of protagonists. You can check out any episode you want cos every episode is a different case & plus it is slickly shot, cool and more logical than CID.

You can watch all episodes here.

3. Rush (MTV)

Genre - Hyperlink Drama

Total Episodes - 13

Written by - Bejoy Nambiar & Akarsh Khurana

Directed by - Bejoy Nambiar, Jijy Philip, Aman Sachdeva, Gul Dharmani, Lijo Jose Pellisseri & Navzar Eranee

Cast - Akshay Oberoi, Adhir Bhatt, Yazad Anklesaria, Manit Joura, Divyang Thakkar, Aneesha Ani & Faisal Rahid

With Shaitan, Bejoy Nambiar made one of the most stylish, coolest & edgiest film debuts in Bollywood as a director in recent times. Before Shaitan, such kind of technical wizardry was not witnessed on Indian screens. Crazy hand held First Person camera, eclectic music from Indie artists & uber cool slo-mo were some of the things that Nambiar incorporated in Shaitan. He continued all these excellent technical stuff in Rush too.

Rush revolves around 12 characters whose lives takes an unexpected turn in course of 48 hours with a college festival as a backdrop. There were various stories like girl eager on losing her virginity but gets caught in a MMS Scandal, a disfigured girl overcoming her stage fright after an unfortunate accident, a chawl boy aiming to win city's most awesome B-boying competition, a drug peddler who finds himself on the other side of the gun, a gay trying to accept his sexual orientation and a college hottie getting molested by a fading superstar.

But my personal favourite was episode 4 when 2 juniors (Neil & Venky) tries to defame the Head of the Security Chirag (Manit Joura) in 3 phases with hilarious analogies made to iconic Bollywood potboiler Sholay. Another episode where I laughed a lot was in episode 7 when a guy tries to sabotage a stage play he once was a part of. That surreal part when Suresh Menon & Akarsh Khurana pops up as an Al-Qaeda terrorists in same episode is just absurdly hilarious.

On the whole this is a weird show. There are many people out there on Internet who have abused this show saying "Bhai ye kya dikha rahe ho?" and "Paka diya" & there are very few who even liked it. Needless to say, I am among those few who liked this show, well not on the whole but definitely certain episodes were just awesome. There were array of characters but the one that really stood out for me was the character of Head of the Security Chirag played flawlessly by Manit Joura. It was the only character which actually had a proper character graph. Every episode featuring him revealed something about his character. He had a disturbed childhood, a betrayal in a relationship, been defamed by juniors for mercilessly ragging them & finally been violently beaten by a local gang. If this wasn't enough, Bejoy even managed to show us how all these events shaped his future. Another great performance was by Adhir Bhatt who played a hot headed fading superstar Vikram about to judge a play in college festival. The epilogue by him in his episode just shows that how much talented Adhir Bhatt is. Glad he did get a meatier role in a desi version of 24 as Tejpal Singh.

Various Characters of Rush
Just like he managed to get some weird cameos in his David, Bejoy Nambiar manages several cameos here also in form of Prateik Babbar (purely miscast), Milind Soman (he is still charming), Pankaj Tripathi (excellent), Jaaved Jaffrey & Suresh Menon (outrageously hilarious).

Rush even had a hour long finale episode which basically showcased the changes that happened in the lives of all 12 protagonists after college festival ended.

If you have flair for edgy characters, cool FPC (First Person Camera) & Indie music (The Bartender, Shaair+Func, Suraj Jagan, Bramfatura, Siddharth Basrur etc.) then Rush is a must watch.

You can watch entire series here.

2. Rajuben (Sony - Specials @ 10)

 - Underworld Political Drama

Total Episodes - 13

Written & Directed by - Lalit Marathe

Cast - Shilpa Shukla, Rajesh Shringarpure, Harsh Chhaya, K K Raina & Raj Arun

Specials @ 10 was an unique experiment by Sony but sadly went unnoticed. This excellent series reminded me of Star Bestsellers days (1999 - 2000) where young & brooding writer/directors were given chance to make a 45 min episodic tele-series. Anurag Kashyap, Imitiaz Ali, Tigmanshu Dhulia & Saurabh Shukla were some directors who were part of these brilliant tele-series. We at Filmistani have already written about Anurag Kashyap's first directorial venture Last Train to Mahakali (which was one of the episodes of Star Bestsellers) previously here.

In Specials @ 10, we had Anurag Kashyap, Mahesh Manjrekar, Madhur Bhandarkar & Vikram Bhatt presenting the work of upcoming writer/directors. Though I didn't like shows created by Madhur Bhandarkar (Heroine - Zindagi ke Panno se; though his intentions were good) & Vikram Bhatt (Shaurat Nafrat aur Showbiz; very cliche and boring), I did like Mahesh Manjrekar's whodunit Har Kadam Par Shaque. But one show that hooked me was Lalit Marathe's underworld crime drama Rajuben presented by Anurag Kashyap.

Rajuben traces the story of Rajashree (Shilpa Shukla) who is born to a Gandhian father (K K Raina) but decided to marry a goon, Rohit (Rajesh Shringarpure) against her father's approval. Other phase showcased how she overtook the reign of her husband's gang after her short lived marriage and became an undisputed Lady Don of Mumbai Underworld (strikingly similar to real life Lady don Santokhben Jadeja of Porbander) while last phase of her life chronicles with her new life as a politician where she manipulates the system according to her needs, her struggles with her grown-up kids & her secret rivalry with fellow politician Joshi (Harsh Chhaya).

Screenplay was a sheer piece of brilliance. Lalit Marathe who previously directed a super flop Shabri was in a terrific form in this series. Story progresses excellently with all the 3 phases of her life intermingling with each other but it still isn't that confusing to a viewer because of Marathe's unique visual style. Her youth was captured in a sepia tinted frames while other 2 phases had raw & gritty camera work. Plus entire series was shot as a movie with sync sound. Hence sometimes there was an issue of dialogue not been audible enough.

Shilpa Shukla after impressing audience with her terrific performance as Bindya Naik in Chak De India! (2007) yet again proved that she is not here to dance around trees & act in sappy romances. She essays all the three phases of her life flawlessly. Rajesh Shringarpure as Rohit was excellent while veteran K K Raina as Gandhian father who at last does something that entirely contradicts his values. Raj Arun as Tabrez, Rohit's best friend & Rajuben's right hand is natural in all possible ways. Well for an analogy, Piyush Mishra in Gangs of Wasseypur is what Tabrez is in Rajuben. But it is definitely Harsh Chhaya as a greedy & manipulative politician & Rajuben's colleague who steals the show with his distinctive accent.

This was one of the most awesome-st show on Indian TV with gritty camera work, Amit Trivedi's rap-fused title track, flawless performances & brilliant screenplay. I am really sorry that I could not find any of the episodes of this series because it is not available anywhere on the internet for online viewing. Anurag Kashyap also announced that he would come up with DVDs of Rajuben when it was lauded by critics when it aired on TV but sadly things never materialized. May be Torrent can help us as Anurag once said in an interview  - "I am thankful to piracy and torrents for saving my career & making me famous."

Though you could watch Rajuben Teaser below and re-edited opening credits here -

1. Bring On The Night (MTV)

Genre - 
Comedy Drama

Total Episodes - 10

Written by - Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy, Tanmay Bhat, Ashish Shakya, Rohan Joshi, Ram Jaane & Onkar Sane

Directed by - Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy

Cast - Arjun Mathur, Hussain Dalal, Patrick Graham, Sarang Sathye, Dilkhush Reporter, Geetika Tyagi, Dinesh Irani, Arshad Kelawala & Kashyap Kapoor

Possibly the best Indian show I've ever seen. This is the only show in past 10 years that has somehow managed to be on the level of cult classic Sarabhai vs Sarabhai. The show will make you laugh till you fall off from your chair. And the reason for it to be so awesome is multi talented Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy.

Apart from being the lead vocalist of India's most famous Metal band Scribe, Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy is also an actor (The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project & various absurd ads), ad-filmmaker (absurdly whacky ads like Havells Geyser Ad and Fevikwik Ad), director (Dewarists & Bring On The Night), scriptwriter, improv comedian, voice-over artist (all those show introduction on Comedy Central) & beatboxer (Coke Studio). How can a show go wrong when it is been written & directed by a man who has dabbled in all these fields.

Bring On The Night is a story of 4 friends who manage to convert a 200 year old dilapidated Parsi Bungalow into the most happening night club of the city. Kabir Dalal aka KD (Arjun Mathur) is bubbling with crazy ideas and this is one of his ideas. In his dream of converting an old Parsi Bungalow into the most happening night club, he is been assisted by his trustworthy friends - England based artist but staying in Mumbai since past 8 years Patrick Graham (Patrick Graham), gujju "Jugaadu" software engineer Devang Oza (Hussain Dalal) & fixer Maakad (Sarang Sathye). He also gets support from 2 beautiful ladies Sheela (Dilkhush Reporter) & Piyali (Geetika Tyagi) who serves as a chef & bartender. But his real support are 3 bawas (Parsi) - Xerxes, Hoshang & Darius who actually executes some of his crazy ideas & its their property on which they execute their crazy plans.

With just 10 episodes each of around 40 minutes, this series will keep you wanting for more. First 5 episodes are absolutely terrific with episode 5 turning out to be the most hilarious one. Technically it is an outstanding show with crisp editing, perfect color grading, awesome camera work & never-seen-before set designs. Check out some of these excellent set designs below.

KD's personal room

'Thrones of Morpheus' 'Shahenshah ki kursi'
The show had screenplay by Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy, Ram Jaane & Onkar Sane while dialogues of the show were written by Tanmay Bhat, Ashish Shakya & Rohan Joshi who then went on to make India's most popular and brilliant podcast & YouTube channel All India Bakchod (AIB).

Considering such great talents were there behind the writing, we will come across some really hilarious yet absurd situations in the show specially created by the 3 Bawas played by Xerxes (Arshad Kelawala), Hoshang (Kashyap Kapoor) & Darius (Dinesh Irani). Really liked their nonsense on home made radio (Parsi songs and "Rickshawala Nahi Jayega" were downright hilarious), Darius classic double meaning yet subtle speech on boobs which will leave Chatur's iconic 3 Idiots speech miles away (sorry no offence 3 Idiots fans but this was just amazingly scripted) and there wackiest analogies to Parsis. If you still don't believe me watch episode 3 where they will somehow prove that Archimedes & George Washington were indeed parsis with respective name Adi Anklesaria & Jee Jeebhoy Wadia.

That's Xerxes, Hoshang & Darius for you
This Radio act is probably the most hilarious thing on the show
If you find all these absurd and think there isn't any story-line, then wait for that political twist (episode 6) and KD & Maakad's backstory (episode 4) to make you feel sane. Vishwesh manages the balance of storytelling and absurdness in a very well manner. If we are bored by eccentric & weird auditions held by D'mello D'mello (classic reference to Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron) or weird conversations where Devang proves how Shaktimaan is a bigger badass than He-Man and we are also thrown into some serious talks when Corporator Ravi Jhawle enters the series. Vishwesh also manages to capture romance on the show whether it be between Patrick and Sheela or between KD and Piyali.

Maakad and Ravi Jhawle
Performance wise everyone was great. I've already written about 3 unknown actors who played bawas. It's sad that they are not seen much after this show. All other actors mentioned before were fantastic in their parts but it was Arjun Mathur who stole the show as KD.

Arjun Mathur in his career best performance after Luck By Chance 
On the core this show is about Bombay specifically South Bombay (SoBo) with elements like Parsis, Brun Maska, Irani Chai, gujjus, heavy social networking, taxis, clubbing, bassfest etc. Loved the way Vishwesh progresses the story through fb status, tweets, instagrams pics & many more. That is what you call brilliant editing & innovative screenplay. Also loved the rocking soundtrack of the series composed by various Indie bands/artists like Sky Rabbit, Siddharth Basrur, Ankur Tewari, Karsh Kale, Ganesh Talkies and many more. You can download its music for free here. And boy!!! Vishwesh also makes a cameo on the show as a radio listener.

Scribe bassist Srinivas Sunderrajan & vocalist Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy
I can go on writing about this show but I feel you should check out this brilliant series for its extraordinary hilarious scenes. Its sad that MTV which now publicizes overrated nonsense like Roadies and Splitsvilla did minimal publicity for this show even though it had profanity much lesser than that of Roadies. Check out this severely underrated show which I am sure many of you have missed it here that too an uncensored version.

So now when Breaking Bad & How I Met Your Mother are completed and other our favourite series like Sherlock, Game of Thrones & True Detective not returning for atleast one year; so you could utilize this free time in exploring these underrated Indian TV shows.

If there are any other shows which were way too underrated like Bring On The Night or Rajuben then do tell us in comments below. We at Filmistani would be waiting for your recco :)


{ Ruhi } at: February 18, 2015 at 10:27 PM said...

This article was a such a treat to read. I prefer comedy shows to watch over daily soaps most of the time. Though young people don't like such daily serials I think these are the shows which keeps our mummy, nani, dadi entertained.

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