Perhaps the main thing that distinguishes the latest music talent hunt, Fame X (Sab) from the others is Paaji Daler Mehndi’s blinding wardrobe. The last time I saw the show, he was in a red, zari-covered thingummyjig. The glittering stripe on his turban is of course a permanent fixture. Any moment you expect him to leap up and start going Balle balle or Ta ra ra ra.
Actually, many of the judges’ wardrobes in the talent shows are in a class by themselves. Malaika Arora (Nach Baliye, Star One) is the leader of the pack, distinguished by outfits that usually have no back, no sides and very little front. How on earth do they stay up? Super glue? A magic spell? Will power?
Shilpa Shetty (in Jhalak Dikhla Jaa, Sony) tried to match up, but couldn’t quite pull it off. So she remained content with exuding standard filmstar glamour. On the same programme, Sanjay Leela Bhansali was seen mostly in black kurtas or shirts. (Now if only one could get him and Daler Mehndi to exchange wardrobes, that would be something). The mamma of all choreographers, Saroj Khan, favours large, shapeless, flashy salwar kameezes (Nach Baliye), and looks like she’s about to dash off for a Ladies sangeet. Farah Khan is a kurti fan. I am trying to work out what the following people would wear if they were to appear as judges: Govinda, Bappi Lahiri, Rakhi Sawant and Himesh Reshammiya. Maybe we still have something to be thankful for.
Anyway, to return to Fame X. Palash Sen is the man in charge of the Academy where the singers are being trained and he fills the role of benevolent guru to perfection, often pleading with the judges to give his protégés another chance. The singers themselves fit the template of contestant-in-a-reality-show to the T, weeping copiously when eliminated, and behaving like they’ve won a Rs 20-crore lottery when not eliminated; while their parents, back home in Bihar or UP or wherever, do the same. Even if much of this on-air display of emotion is straight from the heart, you can’t escape the nagging feeling that it’s all a set-up by the producers of the show to con the viewer.
I also watched a couple of recent episodes of Bigg Boss (Sony). Which means I watched people having desultory conversations with each other, often in whispers, which could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the way you look at it (who wants to hear desultory conversations on prime time TV; alternately, if you can’t even hear, what’s the point of watching TV?). With all the half-way interesting housemates out of the picture, we are left with the Raginis and Roopalis who are about as exciting as fellow housemates Rahul and Deepak. John Abraham’s appearance is a great idea, but it ceases to be such a great idea when you realise that it is only part of the promotion of Abraham’s new film, Kabul Express. Perhaps Sony should fly in Jerry Springer to be part of the show.
Breaking News on Hindi channels this week: a 12-year-old boy left behind in a Worli home in Mumbai when the police sealed the flat because the owners had not paid their dues to the building’s society. What can one say? But yes, if you know anyone who has fallen into a pit/manhole/got locked in or out of the house/been stranded in the middle of anywhere/is temporarily missing, please do inform the news channels. Other applicants welcome at all times: stars — small, medium, big — from the glamour and entertainment industries, and criminals. And anyone with a hidden camera.
And finally, I saw Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki (Star Plus) to check out Parvati’s new look courtesy designer Manish Malhotra. Here it is: open hair instead of a bun, louder makeup, and glitzy saris instead of the traditional border variety. So does Parvati look dramatically different? Does she ooze glamour and sex appeal? Alas, no. It’s a bit like suddenly seeing Smriti Irani in an off-shoulder itsy-bitsy number.
Actually, I have been forcing myself to watch some of the soaps and serials on the entertainment channels and have come to the conclusion that they’re all made by the same person. Now if only we could find out who this person is…