I know I am very late to the party - Twitter, Facebook, actually everyone everywhere has already had their say (read taken a swipe at it). Even so, here's my two cents: What was that? Was it the IPL opening ceremony or was it your usual film awards function?
We get the fact that the IPL is closely linked to Bollywood - and that's all right because nothing goes better than glamour and cricket. It's that perfect pairing, like strawberries and cream, or cheese and crackers. But the balance has to be just so. In this year's IPL opening ceremony, there was so little cricket, it was practically invisible. At one point in the evening, the captains of all the IPL teams shuffled on to the stage and signed their names (most of them unreadable squiggles). Were we supposed to be beside ourselves with excitement? There were cricketers in the audience but they all looked bored out of their skulls - as if they were being forced to see a documentary on the history of the BCCI (actually, that might have been rather entertaining). Yes, a couple of them got up in the middle and did a half-hearted jig for a few seconds - was it at gunpoint?
Why couldn't the ceremony have been held in the field under an open sky instead of on a stage with those headache-inducing flashing lights in the background? Amitabh Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Katy Perry were all there but it didn't help. (Priyanka's zebra top and Kareena's lehnga/skirt that looked like it had accumulated random beads and bits and pieces as it was being dragged out of the props trunk didn't help either. Neither did the bare-chested men in blue jeans doing the percussion). Hope the closing ceremony (at the moment in a far-off, hazy future) is better.
There's a new music reality show on air - part two of Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar (Star Plus), in which two teams, the Champions and the Challengers, fight it out for the crown. The former consists of past winners of music reality shows like Indian Idol, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa etc and the latter comprises of runners-up of such shows. (Honest confession: I'm a sucker for music shows, so I'm already programmed to like it). The judges are an interesting mix: music composer Shantanu Moitra (Parineeta, 3 Idiots), lyricist Swanand Kirkire (the writer of Bande mein tha dum from Lage Raho Munnabhai) and singer Shaan. One will have to see how the first two - relative newcomers to the judging scene - come across on the show. Shaan is a veteran and is always good to watch. (Incidentally, I loved the opening recital - Albela sajan - by Rashid Khan. It was such a welcome change to see a great classical singer in a TV reality music show).
And finally. In a reprise of Jeena Isi Ka Nam Hai hosted superbly by Farooque Shaikh many years ago, we now have Isi Ka Naam Zindagi hosted by actress Raveena Tandon (again on Star Plus). The format is tried and tested - the anchor invites friends and family of the celebrity guest to the studio - and it works fine this time around too. I caught up on a few episodes (Farhan Akhtar and Arjun Rampal, among others): nice, pleasant, easy viewing.
There's only one moral of the story: you can never, ever get away from Bollywood in India. But why even try? (Especially since we're the only country on the planet with a film industry that's bigger than the world-domination-seeking Hollywood).