Soap operas are the main feature that attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators. Indian TV is famous for its dramatic stories and even more dramatic screenplay!
Apart from the gossiping nosy neighbour aunties, cranky elder sisters, punctual mothers and young teachers which form the main audience, Indian serial population also includes kids (because they have no say over the remote so they gotta watch what mom is watching), senior citizens (because changing the channel when a mythological show is on, is a serious household offence), brother (because no one is interested in football matches), dad (can’t say no to mom otherwise *tears* and tumse shaadi karke to zindagi barbaad ho gayi meri!), servant (chops vegetables while sitting on the floor and watching the show because mom has said so).
In short, every household is Indian serial audience.
Over the past few decades, Indian TV launched innumerable serials, some of which garnered immense popularity. These shows created themselves a huge fanbase and turned into common household names and discussion topics.
It is difficult to pick & choose so here is a list of the 15 most popular serials that were a huge success and received lots of love from the audience.
Here is the List of 15 Best Indian TV Serials of All Time (According to TRP Ratings):
This mythological series does not even need an introduction. It holds a world record of being the most watched show with a stunning imdb rating of 9.3/10.
The series depict the ancient Hindu epic, Ramayana. The show aired in 1987 and is said to have created such a crazy fanbase that every task was dropped and entire village used to gather, just to watch the one hour episode that was telecasted every sunday on DD National.
The show’s charisma was such that audience believed the actors to be the real characters and worshipped them! It is being re-telecasted amid the lockdown.
Devon Ke Dev Mahadev
Based on the legends of Hindu God Lord Shiva or Mahadev, this spiritual series was a huge hit. This show depicted the story of revenge and hatred that Prajapathi Daksh held against Shiva, holding him responsible for his father Lord Brahma’s insult.
However, when Adi-shakti, Daksh’s daughter falls for Shiva and marries him matters complicate and hatred ensures further.
Adi-shakti’s self immolation and Shiva’s much feared tandaav has been scripted beautifully. Later part of the show depicts rebirth of Adi-shakti as parvati, her marriage to shiva and his family formation essential for the creation of universe.
The show was immensely praised for imparting moral values and knowledge to the audience through excellent screenplay. Cast and crew was huge, soundtracks were enchanting, characters were real looking and the serial was successful in keeping the audience hook throughout. It secured an imdb rating of 9/10!
It was later dubbed into many languages and was even re-aired on Star Bharat. Originally, it aired for 3 years (2011-2014) on Life OK. All episodes are currently available on Hotstar
Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah
This sitcom is a television adaption of column Duniya Ne Undha Chashma written by columnist and journalist/playwright Taarak Mehta for the Gujarati weekly magazine Chitralekha.
The series is located at Gokuldham Society, an apartment complex in Powder Galli, Goregaon East, Mumbai. The central story revolves around a gujarati surnamed, Gada family.
Jethalal Champaklal Gada (a succesful businessman he owns an electronics shop, he loves to sleep,eat fafda jalebi and has a secret liking for Babita, oops sorry! babita ji), he gets into troubles and his best friend Taarak Mehta (called fire brigade by Jethalal) helps him out.
The show was specifically liked for covering socially relevant and current issues. It was also appreciated for the love and harmony with which the residents of Gokuldam live together overlooking their diverse backgrounds.
The show succeeded in making Indian population connect by screening everyday life and dealing with problems of the normal course in a light hearted, comic and entertaining way.
The show went air on July 28, 2008 and remains one of the longest running television shows of Indian television industry. The show airs through Monday to Friday on SAB TV at 8:30 pm.
Sarabhai vs Sarabhai
This show was a refreshing comedy and revolved around a quintessential upper-class family living in South Mumbai. Things turn hilarious when a middle class girl, Monisha, marries into this family and struggles to keep up with the ways of the elite family, especially with her taunting mother-in-law!
If a hearty laugh is what you are looking for, this show is a must watch.
This soap opera was on air for 2 years (2004-2006), but it retains its magic and the production house released a second season on public demand! Amid lockdown, this show has made a comeback and airs from 10 to 11 am on STAR BHARAT. Both seasons are available on Hotstar
Dharti Ka Veer Yodha Prithviraj Chauhan
This historical drama was based on Prithviraj Chauhan, a brave militant who was declared king of Ajmer at a tender age of 13.
The show depicts his courage and bravery that brought him the throne and twists his love life takes when he falls for the daughter of his enemy and hence has to take urgent yet unconventional measures! The drama draws inspiration from Prithviraj Raso, the Apabhramsha poem by Chand Bardai which showcases the life of Prithviraj Chauhan, a 12th-century emperor in India.
The show was a hit and garnered 382 episodes, watch here.
KASAUTI ZINDAGI KI
No list of Indian TV serials can be complete without this Ekta Kapoor’s popular romantic drama. The show is about Anurag and Prerna, two opposite individuals who are star crossed lovers, they are meant to be together but life’s trials keeps them from being together.
Not everyone is happy with their blooming romance and try to separate the couple, Komolika a bold and beautiful stubborn girl wreaks havoc in their life, the story builds up on how their bond and love overcomes to be together, forever.
The show was loved by the youth, it originally aired in 2001. But a second season (more of a re-imagination) was launched in 2018. Witness this soul-stirring romance here
Yet another mythological hit show is BR Chopra’s Mahabharata, based on the ancient Hindu epic by the same name. The show had a charismatic way about it that charmed all its viewers, it imparted the teachings of Bhagvad Gita and informed the viewers of the righteous path.
Every character was well played and transported the viewers to a whole different world when broadcasted.
The show received immense respect and appreciation. It was relaunched in 2013 with much better quality and effects. The relaunch also was applaud a lot and garnered huge fanbases.
The original is being re-telecasted amid the lockdown on DD National and the relaunch episodes are available on Hotstar
An all time favourite, Khichdi, is a sitcom that follows a joint Gujarati family, the Parekhs. The twist is that adults of the family are total crackheads and only the babuji and children are sensible beings in the house.
They do the most basic tasks of life in an unimaginably funny way. The show was loved by all and a movie titled Khichdi: The movie was also launched with the same characters.
The show has made a comeback amid the lockdown and is aired from 11 to 12 on STAR BHARAT. The show is sure to tickle your funny bones! All episodes are available on Hotstar
Bharat Ka Veer Putra Maharana Pratap
Here is a delight for all the history buffs out there! This historical drama follows the story of Maharana Pratap, a 16th century Hindu Rajput Ruler of Mewar, Rajasthan.
Maharana Pratap (one of the most revered rulers of the Sisodia Rajput dynasty) was an extremely patriotic, brave militant who was loved by his kingdom. A man of values and word, he inherited principles from his mother and stood by them even during the toughest of times.
The show depicts his rise as a king and journey to throne. However, his journey was not smooth and was often rugged by his constant battle with the Mughal ruler Akbar who was as adamant about conquering Mewar as Pratap was about not giving in the Rajput Kingdom to the Mughals.
His succession to the throne was constantly manipulated by the prettiest queen and favourite wife of his father, Rani Dheerbai, who misused his love for her as a tool to secure the throne for her own son.
The show gives an excellent screenplay to this internal and external web of conspiracies that Maharana Pratap fought to rise as the bravest of all.
The characters are as beautiful and grand as the sets. The story is beautifully scripted and brigs alive the Rajput culture and ways. The show aired from 2013 to 2015 and all of its episodes are available at Sony Live. Witness the timeless story of this hero here!
Yeh Un Dinon Ki Baat Hai
This show is a coming of age romantic period drama set in the 1990s. It is a youngsters’ love story following Naina and Sameer. Naina, lives in a conservative joint family whereas Sameer is a hosteller in Nainital who shifts to Naina’s school.
Naina falls for Sameer for him instantly but circumstances make her go against him for which Sameer later seeks revenge by insulting her. However, later he softens and their friendship soon blossoms into love.
However, the couple faces a lot of tribulations and trials due to hesitant attitude towards love marriages that prevailed at that time. The show depicts how their separation turns their love stronger than ever and the struggle they face to unite.
What made this show popular was the time period it was set in, every 70s-80s kid can connect to the settings of the show. Bell bottoms, landline connections and phone directories, colas, handwritten love letters, the dread of parents finding out about the affair and obviously the school uniform.
Every detail has been crafted to perfection and justifies the title, ye un dino ki baat hai. This sweet-bitter love story is sure to get you all sentimental. Grab that box of tissues and relive those moments!
The show went off air in 2019 but the channel has announced to launch a second season soon. Meanwhile, enjoy un dino ki baatein at sony live
Mere Dad Ki Dulhan
Another sweet-bitter love story that won hearts is Mere Dad ki Dulhan. However, this time it is the dad who falls in love! This show revolves around Niya, a sweet and independent girl, who lives with her father.
When Niya realises that her father is lonely she sets out to look for an ideal partner for her dad. It is here when a single bubbly woman, Guneet Sikka, enters their life.
How Niya brings her father and Guneet together forms the rest of the story. The show airs on Sony TV from Monday to Friday at 10 pm.
Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi
This show follows business tycoon, Dev who is reserved and Dr. Sonakshi Bose, a bubbly bengali nutritionist.The latter is approached and asked to cater to former’s mother.
This formal interaction soon grows into love, but one sided! When both finally realise and confess love for each other, Dev’s mother becomes hesitant to accept another woman’s presence in her son’s life and this hesitance forms the rest of the story.
The show was appreciated for taking a realistic shot at a very common dilemma that persists in Indian households and for being sensitive in exploring marriage and its impact on family relationships.
The story is sweet, the characters are sweet, this show is sure to make you go aww. So get ready to cherish and celebrate love!
The show aired for a year. Check out this love story at Sony Live
Dastaan-E-Mohabbat Salim Anarkali
Ever heard of the bollywood classic Mughal-e-aazam? We bet you have! Well, this show is a gem for those who loved the movie and needless to mention but yes, surely a treasure for history lovers.
The show re created the magic of the popular tale of Salim and Anarkali’s love. Set in the Mughal era, this show traces their love story right from their childhood and explores the tragic romance that blossomed despite the forbidden boundaries.
The show displays a plethora of emotions, so pure and realistic you actually feel as if you have time travelled. The aesthetics of the show are sure to make you go awestruck. The show however wrapped up quickly, but do visit the timeless legend of Salim Anarkali here
Another popular Ekta Kapoor production has made its way to the top 15! This show is a fantasy drama that follows the story of Shivani, a naagin, who avenges the murder of her parents by acquiring a human form and marrying into the family of the suspected accused.
However, she starts falling for her human husband and is faced with a dilemma between love and revenge. The show was a massive hit. Its story was unique and entertaining that kept the audience’s attention throughout.
Powerful soundtracks and good quality VFX transformations added to the show’s favour. The show garnered so much popularity that it witnessed 3 more seasons. It is still on going. Watch this love-hatred journey from the start here
Balika Vadhu: Kacchi Umar ke Pakke Rishte
Set in rural Rajasthan, the show follows the story of a girl child named Anandi, who is married at a tender age and traces her journey from childhood to womanhood. It examines the hardships of child marriage and other associated issues.
The show gained immense appreciation for its unique portrays of socially relevant issue. It connected with the audience at a personal level and Anandi was soon a household name.
It gained a huge fanbase and is the first Indian tv serial to reach the milestone of 2000 episodes.
The second season titled Balika Vadhu: Lamhe Pyar Ke, focuses on Anandi’s daughter who also faced the wrath of child marriage but succeeds in challenging the stereotypes and earn herself an independent identity and life.
So, what are you waiting for?
It is time to hit the bed with laptop and snacks for the ultimate binge! Get ready to laugh, cry, smile and love with the characters for the Indian TV is here to keep you entertained.