2013′S Best And Worst Of Indian Television

A year wheN forgotten starlets tried their luck with finding new love (“Bachelorette Idia”), stars let us in on their bedside manner (Salman Khan, Kangna Ranaut), news became more voyeuristic (India TV) and comedy became our saving grace (Kapil Sharma)

Jas December 19, 2021


Out of the box, in the box, smart box, idiot box, boom box, news box, views box, ballot box, bloody box, gutsy box – from formulaic jaded “Mills & Boon” inspired, saas-bahu fiction to concocted, nautanki non-fiction (including the non stop tamasha on news), Indian television barely bordered on entertaining in 2013. Nevertheless, somewhere in the middle of this disappointing junkyard that yo-yoed between dramatic and horrific lay an amusement park. PopSplat gives you a walk through.


Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone and Rohit Shetty join Kapil Sharma on the funny couch

Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone and Rohit Shetty join Kapil Sharma on the funny couch

Comedian Kapil Sharma injected slick slapstick humour into our prime time viewing. This seriously funny man from Amritsar, has risen from nothing to everything in the world of entertainment, and given a whole new definition to comic timing and delivery with his show “Comedy Nights With Kapil.” A high on life dadi, a nagging wife, hilarious bua, the side-splitting jodi of Palak and Guthi (no Dulari), the poker faced naukar, and assorted characters all anchored spectacularly by Sharma and Navjot Singh Sidhu catapulted “Comedy Nights With Kapil” on Colors to superstar show status. Here’s a programme, I bet, every celebrity wants to be on, and every member of the audience laugh


24 India

Anil Kapoor giving the chase in “24 India”

All I have to say to this one is jhakaas. It took Anil Kapoor to make way for an international series on Indian television. “24” on Colors with Kapoor as Jai Singh Rathod is a game changer for Indian programming in every sense – be it scripting, conceptualizing, adapting, casting, shooting, packaging – the show is a trendsetter and buzz is that it will return with Season Two next year. We have our fingers crossed. And while you check out the “24″ game on Colors too, here’s a newsflash – the popularity has given wings to other stars and producers.

  • ON SCREEN IN 2014

2014 will see Jaya Bachchan as a single parent managing a family on Sony’s new show “Vasundhara” based on Gujarati novel “Yog Viyog” by Hiralal Upadhyay. It will also see Amitabh Bachchan on a show directed by Anurag Kashyap. Poonam Dhillon is already on air with “Ek Nayee Pehchaan.”


A still from the Google Reunion ad

A still from the Google Reunion ad

Moving, stirring, memorable, impacting – the Indian television commercial strengthened its position as a convincing catalyst of change by smartly packaging social responsibility and activism with infotainment. Topping the charts is Tanishq’s “Second Chances” ad on second marriage that raised quite a few eyeballs with its non conventional dusky bride tying the knot second time and her daughter calling the man papa. The most recent one being celebrated and hailed as a bridge between India and Pakistan is the “Google Reunion Campaign” – the two oldies are adorable on it. The matchmakers are back, but this time with a sensitive and thought provoking commercial – of a girl who wants to work after marriage. Bharat Matrimony’s ad of a husband defending his working wife in front of his parents is worth applauding. If you’ve been a follower, then you can never miss the million bucks “Kaun Banega Crorepati” commercials. This year it was seekhna bandh toh jeetna bandh, and it was winning all the way. I’ve been a huge fan of Coca Cola’s ad campaigns. From the Umeed Wali Khushi to Crazy Hoon, they sure know how to bubble up a heart. If you haven’t caught them yet do check out these two commercials – the revelations in Dove real beauty sketches and the ugly truth of life as brought out by Lifebuoy. It moved me to tears.

Watch the Google Reunion ad:


VithU app

VithU app

Weren’t we ‘appy people this year. Staying in sync with the digital wave, television channels too devised apps for their audiences, and leading the way was Zee. The channel not only became the first to launch a show first on digital platform (“Connected Hum Tum”), but launch an app for its flagship shows which crossed the 1 million download mark amongst Hindi GECs.  From “Dance India Dance,” “DID L’il Masters” and “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa” to “India’s Best Dramebaaz,” Zee was in one appy place. Close on its heels was Colors which saw the “Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa Mobile App” with its interactive Tap Dance Game, dance tutorials and twitter feeds. The year also saw an “Oscar App” (around the Academy Awards). But the most topical and sensible one was from Channel V – the “VithU” that comes with a panic button that can be used in the face of danger.


Still from "Homeland" that's current season is on air on Star World Premiere HD

Still from “Homeland” that’s current season is on air on Star World Premiere HD

It was a historical moment when Star introduced Star World Premiere HD, a custom made channel for the American series/sitcom Indian fan. The English channel that went live on September 2013, rolled in with simultaneous broadcast of what American was watching (well, India censored most of it). So, we’ve been treated to current seasons of some of the current shows out there including new shows like “Homeland,” “Betrayal,” “Dads,” “Blacklist,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Mom,” “The Michael J Fox Show” and “The Goldbergs.” If only the censor board wouldn’t cut out the best parts. Now that we’re on history, a predominantly Hindi speaking nation applauded Star Sports for introducing a dedicated channel: Star Sports 3 Hindi, “kyunki jo baat Hindi main hai woh kisi main nahi.’ And the channel just didn’t settle for anyone talking/commenting in the national language. No sir. We had on board stalwarts like Navjot Singh Sidhu, Kapil Dev and Ravi Shastri sharing and airing their views.  Get sporty.


The desi Nigella Lawson, Ravider Bhogal host of "Ravinder's Kitchen"

The desi Nigella Lawson, Ravider Bhogal host of “Ravinder’s Kitchen”

If anyone’s programming was worth recording and applauding, it was that of these three channels - NDTV Good Times, TLC and Discovery. Not only did they provide wholesome junk free information and knowledge, they panned their cameras on India and showed us a completely appetizing sight. From NDTV Good Times fresh take on “Band Baajaa Bride,” “Will Travel For Food” and “Music Voyager” to TLC’s “Rick Stein’s India,” “Ravinder’s Kitchen,” return of “OMG,” to Discovery’s “Wheeler Dealers” scouting Indian market for second hand cars, “Taste of Mumbai,” “Series on Golden Temple,” Nat Geo’s documentary on “Uttarakhand,” Animal Planet’s “Yeh Mera India” – the country was alive and kicking in these parts.


Still from Bhoot Aaya

Still from Bhoot Aaya

There used to be just one nightmare – “Aahat.” Then came Vikram Bhatt’s “Haunted Nights” last year. But this year, the paranormal activity amped with more tales from the crypt – there was Sony’s supernatural show “Bhoot Aaya” and Life Ok’s own spooky town “Ringa Ringa Roses.” Nope, we’re not scared.


"Chhota Bheem And Kung Fu Dhamaka"

“Chhota Bheem And Kung Fu Dhamaka”

This nine-year-old from Dholakpur who derives all his superpower from  laddoos is the ultimate superhero for little kids across India. “Chhota Bheem” with his buddies Raju, Chutki and Jaggu battles baddies and saves his village from impending doom. This year, he also returned with another film, “Chhota Bheem And The Throne Of Bali,” and soon there is going to be the first 3D animation on him, “Chhota Bheem And Kung Fu Dhamaka.”


"The Buddy Project"

“The Buddy Project”

When it comes to non-fiction song and dance reality shows, seasons are a given. But this year, channels got a little bolder, and returned with season two of their popular shows, some like Channel V, swung back with a Season Three too (“Gumrah”). From Disney’s “The Suite Life Of Karan And Kabir” and “Best Of Luck Nikki,” “The Tara Sharma Show” on NDTV Good Times, Star Plus’s romantic “Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon Ek Baar Phir,” Colors hit “Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha” to Zee’s “Punarvivah” and “The Buddy Project” on Channel V, it was a seasonal fare on Indian television.


Salman Khan on "Koffee With Karan"

Salman Khan on “Koffee With Karan”

Why, with Karan Johar, of course. The “dazzling diva” of Bollywood is back on the couch with with his A-list celebrities, witty questions, couple of introspecting, probing and budging, rapid fire rounds, buzzers and the prized hamper on “Koffee With Karan.” Yes, it’s bigger (thanks to the Salman Khan big bang), and hopefully, better. We are looking forward to some interesting folks on that couch because Anupama Chopra has done a fantabulous job of it on The Front Row on Star World.


Tamasha from "Bigg Boss 7"

Tamasha from “Bigg Boss 7″

If she’s not shouting and acting like the self imposed warden of the house, she is sulking or fainting. Yes, Gauhar Khan on Colors “Bigg Boss Season 7″ is our tamashbeen who is going to remain in memory for long. So will the bigg bully Armaan Kohli whose only mantra is “silent ho ja varna main violent ho jaaonga.” He slaps and then says sorry, and when he is doing neither of those, it’s doormat treatment for the ever-willing Tanisha. Something is seriously wrong with her.


"Zaika India Ka"

“Zaika India Ka”

The one show that left a really bad taste, literally, was “Zaika India Ka” on NDTV. Vinod Dua goes tasting food – also announcing that he pays for it – says a couple of prude lines and walks off. I’s surprised comedy circus guys haven’t targeted his sidesplitting tasteless commentary yet.


Hrithik Roshan

Hrithik Roshan

Move over Arnab Goswami, the special 9pm reports on this news channel with all its toons and graphics and repeat flashes. Our fav: when Hrithik Roshan underwent brain surgery this year. The channel broke it down for us, and boy was that a dissection.


Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar’s moving retirement speech, Salman Khan’s confessions of a virgin (“Koffee with Karan”) and Kangna Ranaut’s candid and courageous conversation (“The Front Row”) – these were segments that are collector’s items on television history.



Mallika Sherawat

Rakhi Sawant shot through the TRPs, even Rattan Rajput walked away with a following. And Veena Malik – well, they just couldn’t handle responses to her. But when it came to sexy siren Mallika Sherawat sadly, “Mere Khayalon Ki Mallika” (“Bachelorette India”) proved to be a dud with a bored Mallika and really bad looking duds, er dudes. Returning show “Mahabharatha” with it’s lack of glam and art direction, gave us a gag reflex.

Compare notes on how 2013 did along side 2012′s #EOTY list. Have more to add? Let us know.