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Dirtier the linen, more the coverage

Perhaps that’s the nature of the beast: when there is huge outrage over some news event, inevitably there is huge coverage as well. (If you switch on the foreign news channels, you’ll see plenty on Austria’s monster dad). Poonam Saxena examines...

tv Updated: Mar 20, 2009 22:50 IST
Poonam Saxena

Most people who had just about heard of Varun Gandhi will, after his Pilibhit speech, wish they’d never heard of him — or heard him. Unfortunately none of us could avoid hearing him because all the news channels played and re-played his speech constantly. And even though certain words were beeped out, nobody could have had the slightest doubt about what he was saying. Later he appeared on all the channels, claiming that his voice had been doctored. That’s about as plausible as saying that the BJP is a deeply secular, liberal party.

The truly unfortunate part is that — despite the widespread criticism and condemnation of his speech — Varun Gandhi and his third-rate views have got incredible mileage on television.

Perhaps that’s the nature of the beast (I refer to the medium of television): when there is huge outrage over some news event, inevitably there is huge coverage as well. (If you switch on the foreign news channels, for instance, you’ll see plenty on Austria’s monster dad).

Back in the world of entertainment channels, after Colors and Star Plus started their girl child-centric serials, it’s now the turn of Zee TV to jump into the fray. Agle Baar Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo is their new girl-child-type serial.

I saw a couple of episodes — it’s a rural setting once again and two young girls are eagerly waiting for their gauna. There’s just no getting away from shaadi-byaah, is there?

Take Star Plus’s still fairly new serial, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, which is doing very well as far as ratings are concerned.

This serial is about a traditional Rajasthani household where a young girl’s rishta is just getting fixed. All the ladies of the house waft around in colourful bandini saris and there is much talk of sanskars and suchlike.

In this world, talking to a boy on the road is a crime roughly equivalent to getting drunk and dancing naked in the sleaziest bar in town.

Honestly, I sometimes don’t know which world/century our serials live in. I’m sure even in Udaipur today (where the serial is allegedly set), you can speak to a boy in public without your father behaving like you’ve ruined the family name.

As far as non-fiction entertainment is concerned, dancing continues to be the leit motif across channels. Dance India Dance on Zee has yesteryear star Mithun Chakraborty as a sort of mega judge.

Once in a way, he steps down from his judge’s throne and shakes a leg or two while his old hits play in the background (I am a disco dancer). The participants are more like frenzied acrobats than dancers — and apparently they’re creating history by launching all-new styles of dancing, like Bollywood salsa. (Don’t even ask).

I still find Sony’s Jhalak Dikhla Ja the most watchable of the dance shows, even if it means having to see one of the participants (TV actor Karan Grover) tear off his shirt and fling it aside at the end of his performance. Separated at birth from Salman Khan?

And finally. Sony is continuing with its Specials@10, the fiction series anchored by Bollywood heavyweights like Madhur Bhandarkar, Mahesh Manjrekar etc.

Definitely a better watch than the soaps and serials. I still enjoy Ghar Ki Baat on NDTV Imagine (in the last episode, Ali Asghar was an absolute scream).

Sadly, Oye It’s Friday is coming to an end. Not all the acts featured on the show were great, but then, nobody really watched the show for the acts. You watched it because of Farhan Akhtar and his interviews with his celebrity guests. Actually you watched it mostly because of Farhan’s whacky sense of humour. Amazingly enough, even his guests (usually dead bores when they appear on other programmes) managed to sparkle on his show.

But what I want to know is — why did Sonam Kapoor giggle non-stop when she appeared on his show? Any plans to take over the title of Giggling Goddess from Aishwarya Rai?