Yeh jo hai zindagi – First ever Mega Hit Comedy serial

Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi (literal meaning: ‘This Thing Called Life’) was a popular comedy sitcom on Indian television, aired for the first time in 1984. It was written by comedy writer Sharad Joshi and directed by S. S. Oberoi and Raman Kumar.Yeh_Jo_Hai_Zindagi

It was one of the first sitcoms and one of the biggest hit shows on Indian television after the state owned television, Doordarshan, started sponsoring its programs.

Each episode of the serial was 30 minutes long and was aired on Friday nights at 8:30pm. Its popularity can be gauged from the fact that video stores in London would await periodically for the copy of the serial’s tape. Even the box-office openings in cinemas were affected due to the airing of the show. After a couple of successful seasons, the show took a hiatus (due to the departure of Shafi, one of the primary characters, from the show) and returned for a second innings with some additional cast.


The episodes revolved around funny happenings in the lives of Ranjit Verma (played by actor Shafi Inamdar) and Renu Verma (played by actress Swaroop Sampat, a former Miss India 1979), who play a married couple along with Renu’s unmarried and unemployed younger brother Raja (Rakesh Bedi). Other characters were Ranjit’s boss (actor Tikku Talsania), his Bengali neighbours (actors Vijay Kashyap and Sulabha Arya), etc.

A trademark of the show were the characters played by Satish Shah. In each episode, Shah played a different character who somehow played a key role in the plot. These characters would be from various professions and various regions of India, with some being close family friends of the Vermas and others being total strangers. During the mid-1980s Satish Shah was anointed as “King of Comedy” by the entertainment media as a direct consequence of the multitude characters that he played on the show.[citation needed] In later episodes, Anjan Srivastava also joined the show, playing different characters.

The Second Innings

After a couple of seasons, Shafi Inamdar (who played Ranjit) decided not to come back to the show and it was cancelled. However, with the huge popularity of the show, a repackaged second attempt was made with the underlying idea that Ranjit is on an extended business trip to a foreign country and Renu and Raja are at home. Ranjit’s aunt (played by Farida Jalal) and Raja’s love life and affair with Nivedita was the new center of activity. However, the magic of the first few seasons was missing and the show shut down in mid 1980s.

The alumni of this show went on to have checkered careers in Indian movies and other films over the coming years.

~ by Yakuza on July 14, 2009.

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