Sometime in the 90s, a film impacted Indian television almost irrevocably. Sooraj Barjatya’s Hum Aapke Hain Kaun with its success, established a certain formulaic, almost slavish dependence on certain images, ideas and belief systems. Sweeping, glinting staircases in homes that were more Plaster-of-Paris than brick and mortar and characters that were more cliched perfection than human began to dominate Indian television. Before the film reinforced an exaggerated idea of blissful domesticity where women only cooked and smiled and sang and danced and agreed to loveless arranged marriages unless a little doggy or twists of fate intervened and brought two tongueless people in love together, we did not have Ekta Kapoor. But Indian television was a vigorous, full blooded story teller. It freely adapted Sarat Chandra, RK Narayan, literary giants from all over India and the world, channelled progressive Urdu poets like Josh, Firaq, Makhdoom Mohiuddin and Jigar in shows like Ali Sardar Jaafri’s Kahkashan, resurrected Mirza Ghalib, dipped into rich pools of talent where writers like Manohar Shyam Joshi, Rahi Masoom Reza, Gulzar, Bheeshm Sahni and many others contributed to our understanding of India as a country of literature, poetry, untold depths and a myriad layers. That was then.