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On the spice route of tabloid TV

india Updated: Oct 07, 2006 04:08 IST
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Say this for the tabloidisation of television news channels — occasionally they can be far more entertaining than the general entertainment channels.

Where else, for instance, could you ever catch an interview with item girl Rakhi Sawant, where she tells us that she is like Durga? “Just as goddess Durga killed a rakshasa… what was the rakshasa’s name? What was it? I can’t remember. Well, whatever it was… just like that, I too want to kill a real-life rakshasa, Mika.”

At the best of times — even when she is saying less bloodthirsty things — Rakhi could strike terror in the most manly breast, so aggressive is her general demeanour. But when she is talking about destroying rakshasas, she can be positively fearsome.

If I was Mika, I would instantly ask Rakhi to become my rakhi sister.

And who else but Rakhi could, in the next instant, tell us — sounding equally belligerent — that she is acting in a film called Kudi Pataka, where she is no doubt playing the role of the, er, pataka. Hand grenade would be more like it, though.

And where else but on a tabloid news channel would you get a report on underworld don Babloo Srivastava telling us about Gandhigiri, post-Munnabhai? “Main Gandhiji se bahut prabhavit hua hoon (I have been very influenced by Gandhiji),” he said piously.

We believe you, bhai. Just like we would believe Rakhi if she told us she was deeply influenced by Satyajit Ray’s cinema. Incidentally, both the Babloo Srivastava and Rakhi Sawant interviews were on Star News, the king of tabloid TV. There are many pretenders to the throne, but then Star News is the real

McCoy.

Meanwhile, the Star network has come out with the second edition of its hit show, Nach Baliye. The celebrity couples are less well-known than in Nach Baliye 1 (who on earth are Gauri and Yash?) Even if you have heard of one half of the couple, you have probably never heard of the second half — can anyone place Rasik, for instance?

There is also a new judge — director Kunal Kohli, who replaces fellow filmmaker Farhan Akhtar.

And there is yet another new element — in a recent episode, the participating couples themselves had to vote out one jodi from the contest. There was much angry murmuring (“How can we do this? We did not know about it. It is very unfair to ask us to vote one of our friends out of the show”). I could not help wondering whether the whole thing was staged or not and also, whether it was inspired by Zee.

It was Zee, after all, which re-wrote the script for the talent-hunt-as-reality-television-show. All the angry walk-outs, bitter fights and tearful apologies in Zee TV’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2005 ensured the super success of the show.

In contrast, the new element in Nach Baliye 2 was tame stuff. One of the participants, Keerti, tried to walk off the set, and was told sternly by judge Saroj Khan to come back, and she meekly obeyed. Now if it had been Zee, she would have wept, her mother would have wept, the judges would have wept (before fighting with each other), the audience would have wept, the producer would have wept and Zee would have gone laughing all the way to the TRP charts.

On the plus side, however, the best thing going for Nach Baliye 2 is still what made the first edition so enjoyable — the energetic dancing. And Saroj Khan, of course — she is a delight.

And finally. Can someone please save us from artless heroines like Kajal (as the promos of the serial by the same name on Sony suggest)? Seeing a grown-up young woman skipping around the house like some imbecilic child while the older members of the household look on indulgently, constantly dreaming about her sapnon ka rajkumar (I thought that phrase went out with the dinosaurs) and having long, confiding conversations with Ganu (Ganesh, the god) is really a bit much.

Maybe things will improve when the love story with her sapnon ka rajkumar — who happens to be a bad-tempered sort of guy — unfolds. She might actually turn into a normal young woman with a normal IQ. As always, I live in hope.

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