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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Of Charlie Sheen, evil laughter, and Rahukaal!

Poonam Saxena, Hindustan Times   February 23, 2013
First Published: 00:21 IST(23/2/2013) | Last Updated: 00:23 IST(23/2/2013)

The irony of Charlie Sheen acting in a sitcom called Anger Management can't be lost on anyone who's even vaguely followed the volatile (to put it mildly: it's like calling a teeth-baring cat a cute little kitten) actor's career. Accused of violence against his wife and of indulging in substances of a rather, er, dubious nature, Sheen was also charged with erratic behaviour (yet another euphemism) while shooting for his former show Two And A Half Men, and of relentlessly attacking its producer (Chuck Lorre). Sheen was finally fired from the show. His response? Calling Lorre a string of polite names, ranging from "contaminated little maggot" to "earthworm" and some others we unfortunately can't print in a family newspaper. Oh, he also wished Lorre "only pain." Did anyone mention anger?

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After Sheen was fired from Two And A Half Men, he was replaced by Ashton Kutcher. Unsurprisingly, Sheen's new show Anger Management (which has just premiered on Comedy Central) begins with him telling the audience "You can't fire me. I quit! Think you can replace me with another guy? Go ahead. It won't be the same. You may think I'm losing. I'm not!" He has a point. Not only did Anger Management open to great ratings in the US, Sheen is also raking it in. Reportedly, he earns something like 20.00,000 per episode. And that's dollars, not paise.

Given this highly colourful background, my expectations from the show were sky-high. But Anger Management is your standard, mildly amusing American sitcom with laugh tracks at all the punchlines. Sheen plays an anger management therapist and the humour comes from the disparate characters in his group therapy sessions. A divorced wife, a teenaged daughter with OCD and a fellow therapist for a girlfriend, make up the other pieces of the comedy pie. Yes, there are some laugh-aloud moments and the rest is pleasant enough. But the show has a slightly been-there-done-that air. However, it has to be said - the best thing about Anger Management is Charlie Sheen. Without him, I don't think it would've worked at all.

There's a new supernatural/fantasy show on Life OK, Savitri. In present day Kolkata, Savitri and Satya meet and are all set to fall in love. What they don't know is that they are reincarnations of a princess and a senapati who lived a thousand years ago and that their love story was destroyed by an evil being, Rahukaal and his equally evil sister. Nor do they know that they will once again have to deal with the demonic siblings if their love is to survive. Well, that might be tough. Just hearing Rahukaal's "ha ha hee hoo heow" Ravan-type laughter would be enough to make anyone keel over forever. (Also, how will they get over his sister's eyelashes which are so long and thick and curly, you could swap them with a jhadoo? Or alternately, fan yourself with them?)

I think the show really is trying to make the supernatural/fantasy elements work. If they'd only made Rahukaal and his sister less, well, comically evil, things would have worked even better.

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