By now, we’ve watched so many reality dance shows on TV that if someone were to say the words Nach Baliye or Jhalak Dikhla Ja to us in our sleep, we’ll probably start dreaming of Rakhi Sawant and boyfriend dancing together (what a nightmare). Most reality dance shows have gathered respectable TRPs, so TV channels are unwilling to let the genre rest in peace.
Now, Zee TV has a new take on the format: Rock‘n’Roll Family, where three generations of a family dance together (the winning parivaar gets many lakhs in prize money). My jaw dropped as I watched seemingly normal, ordinary families from Indore, Jaipur, Bhavnagar, Pune etc, execute robust thumkas and jhatkas. Corpulent dadijis and papajis and mummyjis along with their precocious offspring danced to Nagara nagara nagara bajaa and other hit numbers. Clearly, small-town India has shed all its inhibitions and is ready to go where no Indian family has gone before — to the studio dance floor, in front of TV cameras, for the viewing pleasure of a nation-wide audience. No one, it seems, is even remotely scared of looking silly.
The hosts of the show are TV actor Sharad Kelkar and a weirdly-attired Mouli Dave (she was one of the participants in the Sa Re Ga Ma Pa contest). Sharad is smooth and fluent, both when he’s bantering and when he’s delivering long, sentimental sermons on the virtues of the Indian family. “Even if you’re busy, ring up the phone and call your parents, tell them how much you care for them, you’ll see how happy they feel,” he says, looking tragically at the camera (poignant music plays in the background). Someone wipes away a tear, someone else stifles a sob, and you actually pray that all the jolly, happy families come back and dance some more.
The judges of Rock‘n’Roll Family are two generations of a celebrity Bollywood family — Tanuja, Kajol and Ajay Devgan. All three are warm and complimentary, regardless of the, er, quality of the dancing. But here’s the thing about Rock‘n’Roll Family: it might make you wince, but it’s different.
Meanwhile, there was a great deal of Holi Hai! revelry on the entertainment channels. All the usual suspects — television actors and actresses (who else?) - pranced around, aesthetically daubed with Holi colours. “We are having such a great time,” they gushed in unison, displaying faces with delicate touches of colour on cheeks and forehead. One itched to plaster them with black and purple colour — the only proper way to be on Holi.
I also caught up with a new show on Star One - Garam Masala, a Bollywood gupshup-type show. In the episode I saw, there was an actor impersonating the child-man that Hrithik Roshan played in Koi Mil Gaya. Clearly there are masses of people out there whose only mission in life is to impersonate Bollywood stars. Even in a music contest like K For Kishore (Sony), whenever a participant sings a song picturised on Rajesh Khanna, a Rajesh Khanna lookalike promptly gets up and begins doing Rajesh Khanna-like dance steps. There’s even a Kishore Kumar-in-Padosan lookalike. (Idle thought: why aren’t there any women who do impersonations of movie actresses?)
And finally. After the success of Saroj Khan’s dance show (where she teaches viewers to dance), NDTV Imagine is starting something called Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain, where viewers can learn how to speak English. At this rate, we might as well start calling it an educational channel.
But while ‘Imagine’ has so far managed to avoid the worst kind of family soaps (serials like Radha Ki Betiyaan Kuch Kar Dikhayengi are much more positive in tone), the one big blot on the channel is the horrendous Main Teri Parchhain Hoon. Watching small children getting constantly ill-treated (which is the only thing the serial seems to be about) can’t be anybody’s idea of entertainment or drama. It’s enough to make one throw up.