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The first ever serials of DOORDARSHAN and I. S. Johar’s rarely mentioned innovative TV series JOHAR KE GOHAR. (BTC Exclusive by Bobby Sing)
19 Jun, 2020 | Articles on Cinema / Did You Know! / Just In

Beginning its operations in the early ‘60s from Delhi, Doordarshan extended its broadcast to other major cities of the country in the mid ‘70s. The National telecast began in the early 80s and the Colour TVs entered affluent Indian homes around the Asian Games in Delhi in 1982, a decade before Cable Television got introduced in the early ‘90s.
 
However when you search the web-pages looking for the first-ever TV drama/series on Doordarshan, then most of the sites come up with the name HUM LOG which surely was the first highly popular soap-opera aired in 1984, but wasn’t the first ever TV series reaching out to the viewers. 
 
Around this time period in the early 80s we also had BIBI NATIYON WALI, which interestingly had a popular character MIRZA, famous for his witty dialogues, who exactly had the same looks as the Mirza played by Amitabh Bachchan in the recently released GULABO SITABO (2020).
 
Another popular serial before the one mentioned above was AUR BHI GHAM HAIN ZAMANE MEIN that aired around 1980. But even before that we had LADDU SINGH TAXIWALA featuring Paintal in the lead role of Laddu Singh on air post the mid-'70s.
 
Honestly, these were the few rare names which I had in my memory as personally seen around late '70s on our Black & White ECTV. But was really surprised to know about a series conceived and enacted by one of the most versatile and rebellious personality of Hindi Cinema I. S. Johar (aired on Bombay TV/Doordarshan), rarely or rather never mentioned in any write-ups on the veteran writer-actor-director’s works in some decent details.  
 
Thankfully, discovered a dedicated article written on the same in 1977, in one of the issues of the reputed magazine The Illustrated Weekly by Iqbal Masud. 
 
As quoted in the article, it was a series of 11 short plays of around 20 minutes’ duration each that was directed, scripted as well as enacted by I. S. Johar with the title JOHAR KE GOHAR. These plays also included two episodes presented by Dr. Shankar Sesh and featured co-actors as Bharat Bhushan, Geeta Khanna, Loveleen, Amar Saneh and more.
 
Interestingly mentioned as ‘relayed last year’ in the early issue of 1977, the series supposedly got aired right amidst the state of Emergency in the country, surprisingly made by the person who was openly vocal against the authorities and was known for his bold political remarks. He later also made a satirical comedy mocking government’s sterilization drive in 1978 titled NASBANDI that featured duplicates of many famous heroes of that time period. Another innovative first, introduced by I. S. Johar in his films, beginning from 5 RIFLES (1974).
 
Johar Ke Gohar - BobbyTalksCinema.comAs expected from the maverick, whom people loved to hate for their own distinctive reasons, Johar’s writing in this series was unapologetically bold, weird, thoughtful and innovative all at the same time. And I am not writing these words because I personally loved I. S. Johar’s on-screen presence and entertaining wit displayed in his various acts, but it is because the ideas incorporated in the episodes rightly deserve the praise remaining incomparable and way ahead of the time aired in the mid ‘70s. Plus, I am writing this without having seen the series, simply impressed by reading about the thoughts presented by the writer without any holding back.
 
To convince you for the same, as described in the article, one of its episodes titled DUS ILZAM had a rebellion-clown summoned by a panel of judges post his death, who boldly answers back their every question asked in a clearly hurting manner.
 
In SANSKAR – eight corpses lying in the morgue are told that they are being given one more hour to live and they can do whatever they wish for, in this one final hour.
In BLACK MONEY – the focus is on the income tax authorities’ survey of Bombay’s luxurious flats.
PRIVATE POLICEMAN is about the experiences of an actor who accidently ventures out of the shoot wearing the police uniform and is mistakenly considered as a real policeman.
In NAUKAR - Johar exposes the middle-class hypocrisy showcasing their heartless attitude towards their own maids or domestic servants by the means of role-reversal.
AAGMAN points towards how many coming from abroad get fooled in the name of spirituality by a few fake gurus or spiritual masters here.
And a few others episodes pointed towards the social evils of dowry and craze of foreign goods in the people.
 
Reading the above brilliant ideas by the one and only I. S. Johar, frankly the first thought I had was about the actual (foreign) inspirational sources of these writings, a fact that was always associated with Johar right from his early days. But even if they were inspired, attempting them for the newly introduced Television and that too in the controversial year of 1976-77, certainly deserves a serious consideration as well as appreciation by all means. 
 
Admitting it personally, knowing about this one TV series nobody talks about, I have become an even bigger fan of Johar and his innovative, witty mind who could think of the beyond, courageously breaking all the prevalent norms, mindsets and typically set formats.
 
Hope, after reading this write-up, someone comes up with more information about the series and its digital restoration, as it would surely be a pleasure to watch I. S. Johar enacting the lead role in all the thought-provoking themes stated above and more.
 
So, please do mention anything you know about this TV series in the comments, as I would love to include it all, in the upcoming volume of my book DID YOU KNOW Vol.2 with specific names and acknowledgment.
 
Lastly, giving the much deserving due, this particular write-up became possible only because of the generous and valuable contribution coming from the ever-supportive Mr.Sudarshan Talwar from Calcutta.
 
Cheers!
Bobby Sing (Harpreet)
19th June 2020 – bobbytalkscinema.com

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Tags : DOORDARSHAN first serials and I. S. Johar’s JOHAR KE GOHAR Exclusive by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Rare and Exclusive articles on Doordarshan, Exclusive articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing,
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