As we all know, there was a time when MTV had genuinely funny shows. For example, there was Cyrus Sahukar's Semi Girebaal, a not very thinly-veiled spoof of Rendezvous With Simi Garewal, which used to come on Star World, in which Simi interviewed celebrities in her pristine all-white set (the only splashes of colour were Simi's red nails and black hair). Sahukar was the unlikeliest candidate to mimic the white-clad, sugar-voiced Simi, but his show was a scream. Unfortunately, it went off the air and then sort of just fizzled out. I guess once Rendezvous With Simi Garewal went off the air, Semi Girebaal too lost its punch.
Soon enough Star World had — has — a new show, Koffee With Karan, which is as different from Rendezvous as a mug of strong black coffee from a cup of milky, over-sweetened tea. Karan Johar's show is hugely entertaining, mostly because none of his guests are at their prim, diplomatic best while answering questions or conversing / bantering with each other. (Fortunately, they don't say things like "All my co-stars are wonderful. All my directors are talented. All my films are equally dear to me. I respect all my ex boyfriends / girlfriends. I've never ever had a problem with anyone." And so on and so forth). They are willing to be politically incorrect, have a bit of fun, take a few good-humoured jibes at colleagues (which then get blown up into full-fledged controversies, with various affected parties going into deep sulks, while others indignantly declare that everything said on the show is not meant to be taken in dead seriousness etc).
But anyway, like any host with a style of his/her own, Karan Johar's manner can also be mimicked quite easily. So it's not surprising that MTV decided to do a spoof on Koffee With Karan. The title of the show was promising: Toffee With Charan (Charan as in Chemistry). But as it turned out, the title is about the only funny thing on the show. I watched an entire episode and — though I wanted to very much — didn't laugh even once. Maybe the Karan-spoofer should take some coaching from Sahukar.
After a long while, I also saw an episode of MasterChef India (Star Plus) in which a handful of finalists were taken to the Taj flight kitchens and told to prepare and pack food for 50 people within two hours. Even as they rushed around, trying to get the cooking going, I was distracted by the sight of Akshay Kumar whizzing about on some strange contraption, threateningly yelling out every now and then, "You have 30 minutes left! You have 15 minutes left! You have five minutes left! If you don't arrive with your food on time, we will not taste it! We will not even taste it!"
I suppose Akshay was trying to build up the tension, but all he managed to do was sound unfriendly, even hostile, almost as if he fully expected that none of them would finish on time.
Akshay was great as the host of Khatron Ke Khiladi (Colors) — mainly because everyone knows that he's a martial arts expert and has done many of his film stunts himself. So if he was stern with any of the participants or ticked them off, it was okay. Hey, he's the guy who's hung from helicopters in his films, you thought to yourself. But when he's pronouncing judgments on food, all you want to do is turn around and ask, "You know about food? Really?"