So MTV is back with its new Bakra season — Baap Of Bakra. But Cyrus Broacha no longer pulls the gags, he plays a Marlon Brando Godfather-type anchor, talking with wads of cotton wool stuffed in his mouth. I guess he’s too well known now to go roaming the streets, getting people to make idiots of themselves. But is the new series really the Baap of Bakra? Sadly, no. It’s more like the illegitimate Bachcha of Bakra. A gag in a Mumbai nightclub was profoundly un-funny. Only one of the gags worked: an MTV person disguised as a rickshawwala in Jaipur, forcing passengers to wear seat belts and helmets. Is it possible that the always-whacky, always-innovative guys at MTV are actually running out of ideas?
What happens to the long-running Boogie Woogie (Sony), now that there are so many high-profile dance shows (Jhalak Dikhla Ja, Nach Baliye etc) featuring sexy starlets? Well, judging by last week’s special, Boogie Woogie’s answer is “Mere paas maa hai.”
The show dispensed with its usual procession of child dancers and instead did a Mother India special where overweight Mummyjis shook their hips with great enthusiasm — with many of the Daddyjis applauding them equally enthusiastically. As one of the overweight Mummyjis said jocularly: “I am a very besharam person — only besharam people can appear on a platform like this.” New title for the show: Besharam Boogie Woogie?
As far as the every-channel-has-twenty-of-them talent contest is concerned, there’s another newcomer on the block — Zee TV’s Cinestars. The three judges here are Pooja Bhatt, Anupam Kher and Madhur Bhandarkar. “Aapki performance mein mazaa nahin aaya,” says Kher severely. “I didn’t feel the passion at all!” says Pooja Bhatt passionately. Bhandarkar shakes his head sorrowfully. You watch equally sorrowfully as all the participants from God knows which corners of India dance and emote in approximations of reigning Bollywood stars — in the vain hope that they too will get there one day. I say vain because till now, as far as acting talent contests are concerned, I’m not aware of any of the winners having made it anywhere (that includes third from left in a crowd scene), forget leading roles in big films.
On NDTV 24x7, India Questions featured the sexy Imran Khan this week. Host Prannoy Roy seriously raised hopes by telling us at the beginning that the last segment of the show would feature Imran’s love life. No such luck. “What is a party? What is a disco?” asked Imran innocently. Good thing he didn’t declare, in an equally wide-eyed manner: “What is a woman?”
Whenever Imran tries to talk about politics, I am always reminded of General Zia’s compliment: “He is the lion of the Punjab.” To which Benazir Bhutto retorted: “The problem is that in the Punjab they don’t say lion. And he is certainly the loin of the Punjab.” But I have to say this: The best thing about NDTV 24x7 is still Prannoy Roy. He is still the greatest star on Indian television and all the other pretenders are many miles behind.
And finally. Ram Jethmalani was back on our screens, foaming at the mouth — his usual manner these days (Devil’s Advocate on CNBC). It was odd to see Jethmalani back on the channel given that he had been interviewed the previous week and had spent the entire time shouting at Sagarika Ghose. It was almost as though CNN-IBN had decided to send the big boys in to take revenge. And so, Karan Thapar, India’s deadliest interviewer, was sent to do battle. He remained cool and unflappable all through even though Jethmalani kept saying things like:
“I will not answer!”
“You are a nobody!”
“I will throw you out!”
“I will not listen to your repeated bullshit!”
“You are doing this to please certain people!”
For good measure, Jethmalani added (aforementioned foaming at the mouth continuing unabated) that he was doing much better than Mahatma Gandhi (when Thapar mentioned that Gandhiji had said that means were more important than the end). I was terrified that Jethmalani would attack Thapar physically during the interview (in which case he could defend himself in court) or, at the very least, have a seizure (in which case he would be advised rest, which is altogether a good thing for him right now — though retirement would be the perfect option)