Sometimes you can't help but feel sorry for entertainment channels. The KBC juggernaut has enabled Star Plus to gobble up 43 per cent of the weekly channel share (closest competitor Zee is way behind at 20 per cent and Sony is at a sad 10 per cent) — so what can the other general entertainment channels do except try and get back into the game by coming out with more and more new serials and programmes?
Even as viewers remained hooked to Khan ka gyan on KBC, Sony introduced two new serials — Durgesh Nandinii and Jeete Hain Jiske Liye (slotted at 10 pm and 10.30 pm, after KBC is over). The former has a village belle in the lead role, but not the kind of village belle we are familiar with — you know the sort I mean, who will sit on a bullock cart, swing her legs and eat ganna, while giving the gaon ka chhoras flirtatious sidelong looks. This one looks a bit like a comely pehelwan in a ghagra-choli. The plot seems quite predictable: without going into the details, Durgesh Nandinii will leave her village and teach a well-deserved lesson to a bunch of evil city-dwellers.
Does the serial look promising? Well — no escape — there are a couple of bad bahus and there is a sad and suffering saas too, but the Seeta Aur Geeta shades to the story make me optimistic. Incidentally, having exhausted the Bengali-Gujarati-Punjabi settings, Durgesh Nandinii goes into rustic Uttar Pradesh territory (village melas, people playing kabaddi, men in dhoti-kurta-gamchas saying 'sasura' etc).
Renuka Shahane of the 100-watt smile fame, returns in Jeete Hain Jiske Liye, Sony's other new offering. So far, it seems more of the same: weepy protagonist, scheming villainess, wimpish men…
Just like Zee’s still-new serial, Maayka, which began a few weeks ago. Humble fathers and virginal unwed daughters, secret marriages and filial duties, the sanctity of kanyaadan… I'm feeling leaden and exhausted even as I'm writing this.
Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Eklavya releases next week, so one can't escape the promotional barrage on our TV screens. But this time, it's a bit puzzling. The director has done interviews with his star cast (Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Saif Ali Khan) and the same interviews are being telecast all over — on Headlines Today, Channel V, Set Max (maybe I've missed out on some other channels). Also, why — given that the interview was being conducted indoors — were both Vinod Chopra and Amitabh Bachchan wearing dark glasses throughout? Were they in disguise (to avoid hordes of fans who may have invaded the set, menacingly waving autograph books)? Or did they have bloodshot eyes (we certainly did, watching them on channel after channel)? Maybe they thought it looked cool (it doesn't, it just looks very odd, watching someone talking at length and seeing black squares instead of real eyes).
In keeping with their newfound enthusiasm for entertainment, Headlines Today did a show called Star Power based on a survey that tried to gauge the brand value of movie stars. Aishwarya Rai turned out to be the most talented, trustworthy and sexy among all the female stars; whereas among the male stars, it was expectedly a close call between Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan on most counts. Meanwhile, the channel was also running a poll of its own: who is India's sexiest cricketer? All this is deeply fascinating, I'm waiting impatiently for a series of fresh polls on India's most trustworthy and sexiest politicians. Just think of the candidates…
And finally. There are plenty of comebacks in the coming week: Pankaj Kapoor's carrot-chewing detective, Karamchand, returns to TV after 20 years; Annu Kapoor returns with Antakshari on a different channel (Star One now) and of course, the big daddy of all talk shows — Koffee With Karan — returns to Star World and Star One this weekend. As for me, I return to my permanent post — the sofa in front of the TV.
Email Poonam Saxena: poonamsaxena @hindustantimes.com