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Will clichéd commentary spoil the R-day spectacle again?

I’m going to make a valiant attempt to watch the Republic Day parade on DD this year. Last year I remember watching in a mood of considerable gloom, writes Poonam Saxena.

india Updated: Jan 26, 2008 00:13 IST
Poonam Saxena

Few channels can have been as eagerly awaited as NDTV Imagine because it is expected to combine the professionalism of NDTV with the

pizzaz of Sameer Nair’s programming skills. Sadly, I’m still waiting.

It could be that I live in the wrong part of Delhi or it could just be that NDTV has not got its distribution organised but for whatever reason my cable-wallah does not offer it. So I can’t give you a proper review of the first week’s programming.

All I have seen of the channel is the stuff you catch when you go to other people’s houses. This is not enough to base an assessment on but some early reactions: Ramayana is reverential and not terribly hi-tech but then perhaps Sameer does not want to introduce the Hindi heartland to computer generated imagery. Shaava Shaava, which was supposed to be the crowd-puller, running non-stop for the first 11 days, is a bit of a disappointment largely because the elements never really fuse together. The anchor is a good mimic (the episode I watched had him pretending to be Sanjeev Kumar in Sholay) but he seems to be on another show from the two judges: Simi Garewal and Karan Johar. Karan is a television natural but his milieu is the English-speaking South Bombay living room. Though he gets about one reaction shot every 30 seconds, he seems strangely ill at ease on a masala Hindi show. It is now impossible for anyone to watch Simi Garewal without thinking of Cyrus Sahukar and even Sameer seems to have worked that out: it’s Karan who gets all the close-ups while Simi minces at the edge of the frame.

If NDTV can get its act together and I do receive the channel at home, I promise a further review in a week or so. In any case, I doubt if NDTV is too worried, even with this distribution, the channel is getting impressive ratings.

I saw Sahara Filmy’s new quiz show, Bollywood Ka Boss, which tests contestants’ knowledge about Hindi films. Most of the contestants seemed amazingly well-versed in Bollywood trivia — like the name of the film in which Raj Kapoor recreated his first meeting with Nargis (Bobby, if you must know). Boman Irani is the quizmaster and while he does his bit well enough, wouldn’t it have been better to get an anchor who is a serious Bollywood buff himself — like Sajid Khan? (Both Sajid and sister Farah are apparently fanatic Hindi movie fans). There would be so much more to the show then, with someone like Sajid giving little nuggets of his own, in his trademark funny style.

Unfortunately, the MTV Roadies auditions are back. The promos are bad enough; think of how awful the actual show must be.

The shrieking twosome (Nikhil Chinappa and some fellow with a beard) is back doing the interviews (read abusing and humiliating the poor sods who want to be part of Roadies). “You are a f…..g jerk!” shrieks the man with the beard. “You are such a loser!” shrieks Chinappa. Aren’t the two men in the wrong place? I mean, they’re supposed to be on a music channel, not in a ward for psychopaths. Maybe all the aspiring Roadies should get together, lock the two in a padded cell and away throw the key (into the Arabian Sea, to be on the safe side).

And finally. I’m going to make a valiant attempt to watch the Republic Day parade on DD this year. Last year I remember watching in a mood of considerable gloom (because most of the commentators spoke only in clichés and platitudes). Hopefully I’ll have better luck this year.