I don't think we stopped seeing Barack Obama for even five minutes all the while he was in India. The relentless, round-the-clock tracking of Mr and Mrs Obama was exhausting. The non-stop, intricate dissection and analysis of what he said, what he didn't say, why he said what he said, what his body language was like — all this was even more exhausting.
But the lines were quite clearly drawn between the three leading English news channels. Times Now began by being so stridently anti-Obama, I feared for Arnab Goswami's blood pressure (and that of any American viewers he may have had). In contrast, NDTV 24x7 was so pro-Obama, it seemed as if everyone on the channel was about to board a special We-Heart-America flight straight to the Senate. CNN-IBN's coverage was probably the most objective and balanced of all the three channels.
There was a flurry of activity on the entertainment channels as well. Karan Johar has returned with Koffee With Karan on Star World. I've always enjoyed Karan's show — it's probably the only public space where you get to see movie stars letting their hair down, laughing and joking and chatting and even (occasionally) being bitchy. Often you feel as if you're eavesdropping on a private get-together. All this has to do with the fact that Karan is a Bollywood insider and an A-list filmmaker. Karan also has an easy, engaging style — he's warm, funny, provocative, entertaining. Sometimes he's let down by his guests (In an episode in a previous season with Kajol and Rani Mukherji, the latter behaved in such a saintly manner, she was in imminent danger of being canonised. Kajol couldn't contain her laughter and nor could we).
Anyhow, the guests on the first episode of the new season were Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan. I thought Abhishek was fun; Aishwarya could have taken a leaf out of his book. But she didn't disappoint us in that the trademark Aishwarya giggle was still intact. I think we'd have been greatly alarmed if she had abandoned it along the way.
The other show where new things were happening was Bigg Boss (Colors). For the first time, there was an actual wedding in the house (TV actress Sara Khan got married someone called Ali Merchant; it's another matter that apparently they married two years ago and this TV wedding was just a 'show').
At the best of times, Bigg Boss is somewhat trying viewing. That's because it mainly consists of random people hanging around the house in pyjamas and making desultory conversation with each other. Sometimes they flirt desultorily. Even the fights and arguments have a dreary air (it's as if they're thinking, 'oh we're supposed to bicker, it's good for the ratings, may as well get on with it').
A wedding should have ignited the Bigg Boss atmosphere and sure enough, everyone did dress up and sing and dance and laugh and joke. But the whole shebang seemed terribly forced and contrived. I almost found myself agreeing with obnoxious Dolly Bindra, who proclaimed loudly and belligerently that the Bigg Boss house was full of fake people. (I do hope she included herself).
And finally. In a special episode of Zee's Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Singing Superstar (dedicated to parents), everybody, and I mean everybody, including the anchor and the judges and probably the light boys as well, cried so much, I thought I was watching a saas-bahu serial. Lighten up, guys.