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World Radio Day: Radio programs from pre-TV and Internet days that we all were a fan of

Hawa Mahal, Sakhi Saheli, Aapki Farmaish are our childhood favourites


At a time when there was no internet or minimal access to television, Vividh Bharti was the only assistance for retired people, housemakers and other listeners. There were no smartphones or MP3 player then and the radio was the only available device for listening to music and other audio programs. Since its inception in 1957, the Vividh Barti service of All India Radio provided popular and melodious entertainment to the listeners. Entertainment programmes were a mix of film music, short plays, skits and other features, broadcasted 24 hours countrywide

These days, radio stations are limited to metros, but Vividh Bharti brought connectivity and entertainment to India’s masses at a minimal cost.

Entertainment programmes like Jaimala, Inse Miliye, Hawamahal, Chitralok, Bhoole Bisre Geet, Sangeet Sarita, Cahhayageet, Sakhi Saheli, Aapki Farmaish are some of the most memorable programmes, the 80s and 90s generation can relate to.

As the world celebrates World Radio Day on 13th February, relive the golden days of Vividh Bharti which kept us glued to our radio sets before television and internet came into the scene. Here are some of the famous entertainment programmes that will give nostalgic feels.


Aapki Farmaish

Aapki Farmaish, as the name suggests, invited song suggestion from the listeners whose names were patiently read by the anchor. Listening to the names of people from the remotest part of the country who asked for specific songs and the places from where they belonged was even more amusing than the songs. Listeners used to gauge the popularity of the song by the numbers of requests for it.


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Image source – She the people


Sakhi Saheli

Sakhi Saheli, the favourite entertainment programme of women in those days, was aired between 3 pm to 4 pm every weekday. The timing was specifically chosen between 3 and 4 because this window gave them the opportunity to bring in more housewives, who were almost done with their chores. The announcers of the program used to engage in fun conversations. The language was kept simple and the songs range from old melodies to new Hindi tunes. All interspersed with informative and candid discussion.


Hawa Mahal

Hawa Mahal was favourite of many listeners for its skit-format, where stories from various writers were dramatized into plays. Snippets, stories, anecdotes, natak, vyang, jhalki, plays – all of these were a part of Hawa Mahal. The stories were local, close and relatable to the large audience. Many of you who are reading this article, would remember the importance of Hawa Mahal at a time where it was the only program for entertainment.



Jaimala was a one-hour program dedicated to the soldiers of the country. It exclusively played requests from soldiers posted at the borders saving the country from enemies. Once a week, a special celebrity from the cinema world was called on the program, who played their own selection. Over the years, a number of celebrities hosted this show. It was a fascinating archive of our thoughts, music selection and ideas.

Vividh Bharati, with its wide network reached more than 97 per cent of the population of this country. It has 37 Vividh Bharti centres and some local radio stations. The programs of Vividh Bharti were not popular just in India, but also in the neighbouring countries as listeners from those countries used to write appreciation letters to All India Radio regularly.


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