Nach Baliye was the first dance contest with celebrity couples. It was novel, fun, high energy, and had some great moments. Like watching yesteryear fuzzy-haired star Sachin and his wife Supriya shake and twist to hit songs. Or watching judge Saroj Khan deliver one of her pungent pronouncements.
Buoyed by the success of the show, Star One is now doing Nach Baliye Part II. The celebrity couples in the second season are rather B-list. Not that the first one had A-list couples — I mean, who, apart from the most diehard serial-watchers would have heard of Manish and Poonam — but I am not sure if Star One can pull it off again.
Just like I am not sure if Sony can pull off Jhalak Dikhla Ja. The biggest problem with the show is that it comes after Nach Baliye. Sure, there are some differences — actually just one difference. There are no celebrity couples, instead there are celebrities from different walks of life (cricketer Ajay Jadeja, chef Sanjeev Kapoor, film director Mahesh Manjrekar etc) who are teamed with choreographers. Apart from that, everything is familiar, down to the three judges, the audience voting, the elimination of the contestants, the candid rehearsal shots and so on.
Jhalak Dikhla Ja is glitzy, glamorous and expensively mounted — but will it work? In the second episode (the ‘result’ episode), there was a very, very prolonged lead-up to the final announcement, when hosts Parmeet Sethi and Archana Puran Singh told us that Pooja Bedi and her choreographer had been voted out of the show. This announcement came right at the end of the episode, after a full hour of Parmeet and Archana constantly telling us, after every two minutes: “In just a few moments from now, one of the teams is going to be eliminated from the show.
There’s so much tension…wonder how everyone is feeling.” And then naturally asking the contestants how they were feeling. What about how we (viewers) were feeling?
Incidentally, why do all television channels ask this question to all people all the time? If someone has lost in a contest, he is asked: “So how are you feeling?” How do you think he is feeling? Delirious with joy? Or, if someone has lost his home in a flood or some other calamity, he too will be asked: "So how are you feeling?” It is almost on par with that other news channel staple: Wahan ka mahaul kaisa hai? (What is the mood in that place?)" This question is usually asked after a riot, murder, funeral, bomb blast etc. Need I say more?
Anyway, to revert to dance contests. The whole point of a dance contest is to see lots of great, high-voltage dancing. In the aforementioned second episode of Jhalak Dikhla Ja, there was precious little of that — except for Yana Gupta’s two numbers. The rest of the episode was all about “We are just going to tell you who will be out of the show… the suspense is killing…” In fact, Sony’s other show, Boogie Woogie, which buzzes with infectious energy, focuses only on the dancing — and the show rocks. I do wish they would avoid those children’s specials though.
Zee Music has something called Eye Candy of the Month and this month’s Eye Candy is Malaika Arora Khan. So what does being Eye Candy of the month mean exactly? As far as I can make out, we get to see Malaika in a series of different settings: tucking delicately into a meal at some five-star hotel and telling us what a foodie she is; or, draped fetchingly in a towel, on her way for a spa treatment. Riveting.
And finally. I am not much of a cricket person, but even I can make out that it is becoming more and more of a TV sport. The current series is being played in Kuala Lumpur, hardly a city that is cricket-mad. It is also being played in a small stadium that can barely seat a few thousand people, so there is not much of spectator action. These matches are matches meant only for television. They may as well organise cricket matches in a studio somewhere and play them on our television sets.