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 Indian TV has been a huge letdown for many years now. With substandard TV shows, many have moved over to OTT platforms that offer intelligent web series and shows with progressive storylines and characters. But, many of us still miss the old TV shows that showcased progressive, feminist icons – the kind we hope to once again see on Indian TV.

1. Saans

Focusing on the rare topic of infidelity, the show revolves around Priya and her marriage. Priya, who is a happily married woman, finds herself in a soup after her husband (Kanwaljeet) walks out on the family for another woman Manisha (Kavita Kapoor). What left many of us so inspired was the fact that rather than trying to win him back, she tries to take charge of the situation and turn her life around. Unlike many other shows on infidelity, the show doesn’t villainize the other woman, and makes you realize how great it was! The show not only empathizes with Priya but also with Manisha who is as much a victim of patriarchy and misogyny as Priya!

2. Shanti

Starring Mandira Bedi in the protagonist role, Shanti is an aspiring journalist who tries to make it in a world dominated by men. But, what made it extremely engaging was its nuanced portrayal of a woman who faces challenges head-on, both in her personal and professional life. In case you haven’t watched it yet, with a good story and strong characters, this one is a must-watch.

3. Alpviram

This hard-hitting show dealt with multiple topics, including rape, in a sensitive and progressive manner. Starring Pallavi Joshi, the story revolved around a woman who is raped, while she is in a coma, and focused on how she and her family come to terms with it.

4. Tara

Many of us weren’t even aware of feminism when Tara showed progressive women taking life heads on. The show starred Navneet Nishan in the lead role, along with Ratna Pathak Shah, Neha Sharad, and Amita Nangia. Despite running for 5 years, the show never became overly melodramatic or catered to flawed moral ideologies. 

5. Hasratein

The progressive show took a refreshing take on extra-marital affairs. Rather than showing the extra-marital in an evil light, the show made an attempt to understand the reason behind it. The show initially starred Seema Kapoor in the lead role, and later Shefali Shah. 

6. Astitva… Ek Prem Kahani

The show had a refreshing story that dealt with a career-oriented woman marrying a man 10 years younger than her. The show focuses on society’s narrow outlook toward relationships that don’t fit a set pattern. With impressive performances and brilliant writing, this show is a must-watch.

Image: Zee Telefilms

7. Aarohan

Focusing on the inspiring story of three female naval cadets, this show was written and produced by Pallavi Joshi, who also starred as the lead in the show. With only 13 episodes, this show was released in a time when women were not even allowed to join combat roles in the Indian Navy.

8. Udaan

One of the first shows that focused on women empowerment, Udaan was inspired by the story of IPS Kanchan Choudhary Bhattacharya. Written and directed by Kavita Chaudhary, it showcased the inspiring struggle of a woman IPS officer.

9. Rajani

Starring Priya Tendulkar in the lead role, Rajani is the show that showcased how a housewife deals with the everyday problems that most people encounter, such as school admissions, the attitude of taxi drivers, etc. In short, it was the female counterpart to the famous Office Office, especially with its focus on lax government officials. 

Do let us know other shows that inspired you in the comments section below. 

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