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Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan: India’s First Celebrity Talk Show by Tabassum

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While Koffee with Karan has made its place in the Indian audience as a famous chat show featuring star-studded celebrities, the history of Indian chat shows can be traced to almost 4 decades before the present time. Let’s talk about India’s first celebrity talk show by Tabassum, ‘Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan’.

The first Indian television chat show was named “Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan.” The show began on 8th October 1972 and was launched on Doordarshan channel. Over the years, it hosted several prominent celebrities of those times. The show lasted till 1993 and garnered a massive following at that time. The show began in an era when commercially produced shows did not exist, making it the first of its kind in the annals of the Indian television industry.

 India’s First Celebrity Talk Show by Tabassum

The script was followed in Hindustani language, which is a mix of Hindi and Urdu. The first person interviewed on the show was the singer Naushad, whose famous song “Nanna Munna Rahi Hoon” won hearts back then. Celebrities like Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, etc., were interviewed on the show in a set-up that replicated a living room.

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It was hosted by Tabassum, a versatile personality who not only worked as a host but also did background research, guest coordination, and scriptwriting for the show. Let us find out more about this multi-talented person.

Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan, About Tabassum:

The host of the show, Tabassum, passed away in 2022 due to cardiac arrest. She started her career in the film and television industry very early and was named “Baby Nargis” and “Baby Meena Kumari” for her childhood roles in “Mera Suhaag”, “Bari Behen”, and “Manjhdhar” The talented person that she was, Tabassum also made her directorial debut with Tum Par Hum Qurban which was released in 1985.

 India’s First Celebrity Talk Show by TabassumAyodhyanath Sachdev, Tabassum, Asghari Begum

Although her birth name was Kiran Bala Sachdev, Tabassum was the name that her father gave her just as she was taking her initial step into the world of cinema in 1947. She was born in the home of freedom fighter Ayodhyanath Sachdev and a journalist mother, Asghari Begum.

In Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan, Tabassum won the audience’s hearts with her chatty disposition, humour, and dialogues interwoven with chuttkule (jokes) and shayaris– making her a wonderful host. For the show that gained massive popularity, Tabassum earned only ₹75 per episode in those days, and almost 2 decades later, when the show was about to end, Doordarshan paid her ₹750 per episode.

 India’s First Celebrity Talk Show by Tabassum

Tabassum had the unique skill that celebrities usually opened up to her about things related to their personal lives, a thing that has become the main selling point and the central format of talk shows today. Once, when she invited Kamal Amrohi, a famous filmmaker and the husband of famous actress Meena Kumari, she asked him how Kumari was. Amrohi said she was a “good actress”; however, when Tabassum continued to dig more and asked how she was as a wife, Amrohi responded that she was not a good wife and “thought she was an actress at home as well.” So, even when other celebrities tried not to answer certain questions, Tabassum had her way of making them answer.

Keeping up with the changes around her environment, she also launched her own YouTube channel, “Tabassum Talkies”, where she would take the audience down memory lane by revisiting celebrity figures and movies of the old times. It has gathered around 8 million subscribers and is now managed by Tabassum’s son. The videos on the channel replicate Tabassum’s theatrical style and demeanour, making her popular in the television industry.

 India’s First Celebrity Talk Show by Tabassum

The image of Tabassum with a rose elegantly tied to her hair and her immaculate outfit of a beautiful sari became the gateway to the world of celebrity talk shows for Indians. Unlike many other talk shows, the great thing about this show is that Tabassum interviewed not just famous, celebrated actors, but also those early in their careers who left a mark on the history of Indian cinema. Without her featuring these actors on the show, an important part of Indian cinema would have remained undocumented.

She has left behind a legacy of talk shows with a format that is followed even today. The show lasted for 21 years, leaving behind a well-documented history of the life and relationships of celebrities of the past. You can still find some of the old videos from Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan. Do watch them take a glimpse into the infant era of the industry that would soon become popular with many celebrated names and figures.

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