I’m drowning in reality shows. All of last week, there were grand finales and grand launches of song-and-dance shows on the entertainment channels. I skipped from one to the other, and just about stopped myself from reaching for my dark glasses (since everything was so chakmak: the clothes, makeup, sets, studio lights).
The most jaw-dropping finale was that of Zara Nachke Dikha (Star One). But before anything else, for those of you who haven’t the faintest idea what the show was about — two teams, a girls’ team called Mithi Chhuri and a boys’ team called Tez Talwar Ladke battled it out for the prize. Used to seeing big cash prizes in most such shows (Sony’s Jhalak Dikhla Ja had a cheque of Rs 50 lakh), I was amazed to discover that the prize for Zara Nachke Dikha was a holiday to Egypt. TV stars can probably take 10 holidays to Egypt in a year if they so desire. So why did they bother to toil for months on this show? To win some package trip to Egypt? Or because they love dancing so much?
Clearly not. Because the Zara Nachke Dikha finale was chiefly memorable because the Tez Talwar Ladke staged a walkout and refused to dance (they felt the judges were prejudiced against them). The judges, on their part, were aghast at what they termed ‘unsportsmanlike’ behaviour. Chunky Pandey (who’s trying to make a comeback to showbiz from wherever he’s been in the last many years, and no, we don’t want to know where that is) said he wanted a sex change because he was so ashamed of being a boy.
The ubiquitous Malaika Arora Khan (who has judged so many reality shows that she should be given a Lifetime Achievement Award) said she felt disgusted by the boys’ walkout. The third judge, Saroj Khan, gave the Tez Talwar Ladke such a severe dressing down, they probably felt as if they were back in Class V (they looked it too). But they refused to dance. Now just think what would happen if participants in all the reality shows kept staging walkouts. (It would be just like Parliament).
The other grand finale was on NDTV Imagine — Junoon Kuch Kar Dikhane Ka. The chief guests here were Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan, who strode on to the stage in a rain of confetti. Junior B has been very busy in fact, popping in and out of TV shows. He also paid a visit to the Bigg Boss house and then showed up in Colors’ hit show, Balika Vadhu. Whether this television blitz will help his new film is anybody’s guess. Just so long as it doesn’t turn out to be Drone instead of Drona.
The new shows that launched were Indian Idol (Sony) and Ek Khiladi Ek Hasina (Colors). Indian Idol is in its fourth season and judges Javed Akhtar and Anu Malik are still around. Right now, the auditions are on and we’re seeing what we always see during auditions: the cartoon-type joker contestants who can’t sing a single note and are dressed funnily (one somersaulted into the audition, much to everyone’s alarm); the so-so singers who get rejected (with the camera following them as they walk sadly into the sunset) and the lucky ones who make the grade and rejoice ecstatically. So if you’ve enjoyed the previous Indian Idols, you’ll find the familiarity comfortingly engaging.
Ek Khiladi Ek Hasina is novel because it features cricketers. They’re paired with, er, haseenas, but the show works only because of the cricketers.
There’s Irfan Pathan with his endearing smile trying manfully to match steps with his partner, Harbhajan Singh dancing with unabashed vigour and robust enjoyment, Sreesanth doing his own thing… It makes for fun viewing. And the judges, particularly Wasim Akram, look like they’re truly having a good time.