Flop Show is an Indian television sitcom that first aired on Doordarshan in 1989. The show was written and directed by satirical humourist Jaspal Bhatti, who also played himself as the main character. His wife Savita Bhatti produced the show and also acted in all the episodes as his wife. The sitcom was a satire on the socio-cultural problems faced by the common man in India at the time. Although only 10 episodes of the show were ever produced, the show has had a long and powerful legacy.
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Flop Show has a distinctive opening sequence. It starts off with a dedication to those whom the specific episode is poking fun at. This is followed by the title song “Flop Show”, which mocks the show itself as being misdirected. It features most of the main cast collectively playing musical instruments as a band. Jaspal Bhatti appears as an eye-patch wearing, menacing looking director. The other cast members are dressed variously as a police inspector, a doctor, a peon, etc.
All 10 episodes of Flop Show are satires done on socio-cultural problems of the common man. The show was immensely popular and still gets repeated re-runs on various Doordarshan channels. The show was shot completely in Chandigarh with some episodes being shot at Punjab Engineering College ( Jaspal Bhatti is an alumnus of that college ). The cast remained the same in every episode, although they played different characters as each episode essayed a different story.
Another distinctive aspect of the show was a joke in between the casting credits at the beginning and a satirically reworded popular Hindi filmsong played at the end of every episode.This show was a huge impact on the mind and heart of common man of that Era, a generation grown up with ideas and creativity of Jaspal Bhatti.
|Episode||Title||Jaspal Bhatti’s Role||Episode Description|
|1||Chief Guest||Chief Guest||A satirical take on chief guests arriving late at public functions and thus making audiences wait. The episode illustrates the misery of a chief guest (Jaspal Bhatti) who actually arrives at a function on time.|
|2||Medical Bills||Patient’s friend||A satirical take on fake medical reimbursement claims of employees. This episode is about Jaspal Bhatti’s friend, who is very ill, getting hospitalized in his name. When he passes away, people assume Jaspal Bhatti to be dead.|
|3||Property||Tenant||A satirical take on the travails of honest real estate property owners. This episode highlights some of the devious schemes used by tenants for usurping residential property belonging to others.|
|4||Contractor||Tenant||A take on the poor quality construction of Government-built apartments and the shoddy work of contractors. It showcases the troubles of residents of housing complexes.|
|5||Ph.D||Professor and Ph.D student’s guide||A satirical take on the harassment that professors guiding post-graduate research students submit them to. In this episode, Jaspal Bhatti plays the professor guiding a Ph.D student. He gets all his domestic chores done through his protégé. Eventually, he agrees to pass his student’s thesis with the intention of getting him married to his sister-in-law.|
|6||Meeting||Govt. Official||This episode takes on the daily routine of Government bureaucrats who spent most of their day in meaningless meetings and even appoint committees for making trivial decisions.|
|7||Govt. Officer||Govt. Official||A satirical take on the functioning of government offices. It parodies the misuse of government machinery, portrayed through a government official (Jaspal Bhatti) deploying public officials and resources to search for his missing pet dog.|
|8||Doctor||Doctor||A take on the callous working habits of doctors in Government hospitals. Jaspal Bhatti plays a doctor who thinks that he lost his watch in a patient’s stomach during a surgery.|
|9||Line Man||Telephone customer||A parody on the working of the Indian telephone department and its officials. It shows the delays in getting telephone connections, and the poor quality of telephone infrastructure in those days.|
|10||TV Serial||Producer||Based on the lack of creative content in TV productions. It parodied an attempt to produce a television programme by individuals with money but no qualifications. Jaspal Bhatti plays the producer here.|