The litterateur, aged 73, breathed his last at around 5 am at the National Heart Institute. He was admitted there a few days ago after he complained of chest pain and uneasiness, his family said.
He is survived by wife and three sons.
Born on August 9, 1933, in Uttaranchal's Almora district, Joshi redefined the world of television in 1982 with Hum Log, India's first television soap opera. The serial, which dealt the everyday lives of people, also marked thespian Ashok Kumar's television debut.
The family drama soon became a rage among the masses.
His next soap opera, Buniyaad, highlighted the trauma of Partition though the life of a family who were forced to cross over from Pakistan to India in 1947. The mega-serial, directed by Ramesh Sippy (the man behind blockbusters like Sholay and Shaan), was re-launched on Sahara One on January 26 this year, 18 years after it was first telecast.
'Writers like Manohar Shyam Joshi and Salim-Javed are not born often,' said Sippy, on the occasion.
Describing the impact of these serials, P N Vasanti, senior executive, Centre for Media Studies, said, 'These two soaps revived the value of the joint family system and impacted viewers immensely. People identified themselves very closely with the characters. It was like your own family on the small screen.'
Joshi, who has also penned scripts of several other hugely popular serials like Kakaji Kahin (starring Om Puri), Mungeri Lal Ke Haseen Sapne (starring Raghuveer Yadav), Zameen Aasmaan and Gatha, became a household name in the country at a time when television entertainment was in its nascent stage.
The winner of the Sahitya Akademi award for his novel Kasap once said he wanted to be a world famous scientist or a cricketer. 'Never did I dream or yearn to be a writer,' he said at the Sahitya Akademi's annual Festival of Letters in New Delhi last month.
Joshi, a master in subtle comedy, also wrote Hindi movies like Hey! Ram, Papa Kahte Hain, Appu Raja and Bhrashtachar.
Some of Joshi's prominent literary works include Netaji Kahin, Kuru Kuru Swaahaa, Hariya Hercules Ki Hairaani, Baaton Baaton Mein, Mandir Ghaat ki Pauriyaan, Kaise Kissago, Ek Durlabh Vyaktitva, Ta Ta Professor and Hamzaad.
Joshi has won several awards including MP Sahitya Parishad Samman, Sharad Joshi Samman, Shikhar Samman, Delhi Hindi Akademi Award and Onida and Uptron Award for Television writing. He was the editor of Sapthahik Hindustan, a Hindi weekly brought out by the Hindustan Times Group, and was a regular coloumnist with Outlook Hindi.
Inputs: Seema Pant