The television industry in India has evolved tremendously. From a handful of channels in the beginning to hundreds of them at present catering to the vast socio-economic as well as the linguistic diversity of our country, it has surely come a long way. From genres like comedies, dramas to biographical documentaries, novel adaptations, historical dramas we have witnessed all. Here we have categorized few of the historical shows which surely left an impact and were quite informative. Interestingly, the majority of them are more than a decade old but you can find and watch them on YouTube too. Here you can read about the History of Indian Currencies and its evolution.
1) Bharat Ek Khoj
The fifty-three episodes long Indian historical drama was first aired on Doordarshan in 1988 and as the title suggests the series is based upon undoubtedly the most popular work of our former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the 1946 book “The Discovery of India”. The series just like the book honors the rich cultural heritage of India. But the strikingly wonderful thing about the series is that various episodes cover incidents spanning over 5000 years, right from the beginning of Indus valley civilization to the Gandhi era and yet each episode offers a setup, characters which are so believable and incredibly informative. With an IMDb rating of 8.9, this series surely tops our recommendation.
Director: Shyam Benegal
Cast: Om Puri, Roshan Seth, Tom Alter, Sadashiv Amrapukar
2) 1857 Kranti
Aired on DD National in 2002 this series tells a tale of courage, bravery, valor, and sacrifice. Moreover, It gave its viewers a closer look at the revolt of 1857 which has been an inseparable part of the Indian freedom struggle. The drama was coveted to be the most expensive series at its time with an estimated budget of over 15 crores. The lavish crew included over 150 technicians, 10 elephants, 50 camels, and over 2000 sword fights.
Director: Sanjay Khan
Cast: S.M. Zaheer, Maya Alagh, Tej Sapry, Siraj Mustafa Khan, Navab Shah, Sunil Singh and Bhupinder Singh
3) The Sword of Tipu Sultan
This series gave the viewers a glimpse of the life and valor of Tipu Sultan, the 18th-century ruler of Mysore. One of the main highlights of this series was its background score and music which was composed by the legendary music director Naushad. The series is loosely based upon a novel by the same name written by Bhagwan Gidwani. The show was well received and praised for its grand scale. It was re-telecatsed in 2001 on Star Plus.
Director: Sanjay Khan and Akbar Khan
Cast: Sanjay Khan, Malvika Tiwari, Maya Alagh, Deepika Chikhalia, Anant Mahadevan, Mukesh Rishi and Shahbaz Khan
4) Param Vir Chakra
As we all know, Param Vir Chakra is India’s highest military honor. But what goes on in the making of these real-life heroes? What drives their stories of extraordinary courage, a never ending love for the country I often wonder. This series portrays the lives of many of these unsung heroes.
Director: Chetan Anans and Ketan Anand
Cast: Puneet Issar, Kanwaljit Singh and Meena
5) Samvidhan: The Making of Constitution of India
The Indian constitution containing 448 articles and 12 schedules, is the longest written constitution of any sovereign country in the world. The ideals of liberty, equality, democracy are deeply rooted in our constitution. However not much is known about the efforts which went on for making this draft. It involved thousands of debates, discussions, committee meetings, and amendments before it was finalized. The ten-part mini television series portrays the story about making this very Indian Constitution. It was aired in 2014 on Rajya Sabha TV. For all the political science enthusiasts out there, the episodes can be watched on Rajya Sabha TV’s official YouTube channel.
Director: Shyam Benegal
Cast: Sachin Khedekar, Dalip Tahilramani, Suzanne Bernert, Divya Dutta, Rajit Kapur, Tom Alter, Neeraj Kabi and Rahul Singh
A political documentary series about Indian Prime Ministers, Pradhanmantri premiered on the popular news channel ABP news. The show was hosted by the renowned filmmaker and actor Shekhar Kapur. It was indeed a well documented and informative series that covered the tenures of 13 prime ministers and give citizens a peek into the working of most coveted office of the world’s largest democracy!
Director: Puneet Sharma
Cast: Saurabh Dubey, Navni Parihar, Surendra Pal, Anang Desai, Prithvi Zutshi, Tej Sapru, Achyut Potdar, Ravi Jhankal and Harsh Chhaya
This 47 episodes historical drama was first aired on DD National in 1991. It traced the life of renowned political strategist and economist Chanakya, the kingmaker of Mauryan empire.
Director: Chandraprakash Dwivedi
Cast: Chandraprakash Dwivedi, Dinesh Shakul, Suraj Chaddha, Surendar Pal, Prakash Dwivedi and JD Majethia
Another documentary series which was broadcasted on ABP news in 2016. It was hosted by Anupam Kher. The show had ten episodes and covered various chapters of the vast Indian history. Right from the reign of great emperors like Prithviraj Chauhan, Maharana Pratap, Shivaji, or the epic tales of Chankaya, BHARATVARSH unraveled various pages of the glorious Indian history and is definitely a short but must watch.
Director: Puneet Sharma
Cast: Anupam Kher
9) The Great Maratha
Mahadji Shinde often called “The Great Maratha” was the fifth and youngest son of Ranoji Rao Scindia, the founder of the Scindia dynasty. He had an impactful role in re-establishing Maratha power in north India under Chattrapati Shivaji. This 47 episodes long drama unraveled this unheard story for its viewers.
Director: Sanjay Khan
Cast: Shahbaz Khan, Parikshit Sahni, Farida Jalal, Tom Alter, Irrfan Khan, Mrinal Kulkarni, Kartika Rane and Mukesh Khanna
10) Maharaja Ranjit Singh
A loyal statesman and a brave warrior, The great Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the founder of ‘Khalsa Raj’. The leader was truly a visionary and expanded his reign all over India in a very short period. This TV series aired on DD National told his tale. It was further adapted into regional languages too.
Director: Prasad Govandi, Arif Ali Ansari, Gautam Nagrath and Arif Shamsi
Cast: Damanpreet Singh, Shaleem Bhanot, Sneha Wagh, Tunisha Sharma and Sania Singh
11) Bharat Ka Veerputra – Maharana Pratap
Pratap Singh I, popularly knows as Maharana Pratap is the 13th King of Mewar. The first season of this historical show covers the early life of Pratap following the second season which ends with Pratap’s death from illness in addition to enthroning his son, Amar Singh as the next Rana of Mewar.
Director: Arif Shamsi
Cast: Faizal Khan, Sharad Malhotra, Roshni Wali and Shakti Anand
12) Chakravartin Ashok Samrat
The show is based on the life of King Ashok, the third emperor of the Mauryan Dynasty. This historical drama has beautifully represented the problems faced by Ashoka both inside and outside Magadh and his struggles to become ruler of Magadh. The show was highly exalted by several critics for its sets, visual effect, and production value. It is also recognized for simulating its style from a famous Hollywood drama series Game of Thrones.
Director: Prasad Gavandi
Cast: Siddharth Nigam, Reem Shaikh, Mohit Raina, Soumya Seth and Manoj Joshi
13) Chandragupta Maurya
This Indian historical fiction was broadcasted on ImagineTv based on the life Chandragupta Maurya, founder of the Mauryan Empire.
Director: Bhushan Patel
Cast: Ashish Sharma, Rushiraj Pawar, Manish Wadhwa and Sooraj Thapar
14) Jhansi ki Rani
The show has portrayed the life of Lakshmi Bai, the Rani of Jhansi who is known for her heroism and patriotism. It was first aired on ZeeTv but is also currently available on Netflix. It has been dubbed in many regional languages like Tamil, Marathi and Telegu.
Director: Jitendra Srivastava and Sharmesh Shah
Cast: Kratika Sengar, Ulka Gupta, Sameer, Dharmadhikari, Shailesh Datar and Vikas Verma
15) Jodha Akbar
Balaji Telefilms production “Jodha Akbar” is a story of marriage for political goodness between a Mughal Emperor Akbar and a Rajput princess Jodha Bai. The show also exhibits the war of that time and relations between the Mughals and the Rajputs. This period drama has also won many Indian Television Academy Awards.
Director: Santram Verma
Cast: Rajat Tokas and Paridhi Sharma