Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen more movie stars on my TV screen than the cinema hall screen. After Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan, it’s now Abhishek Bachchan’s turn to anchor a television show — National Bingo Night, which opened on Colors to very good ratings.
The channel is on such a roll at the moment that anything it touches turns to gold. They might consider re-launching Krishi Darshan: who knows, it could become a national rage (imagine the whole country animatedly discussing the price of urea and the seductive charms of lok sangeet). But unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the other entertainment channels. Salman’s Dus Ka Dum, for instance, was a whacky, fun, totally mad show. But it never got the ratings it should have. Could it be because the show was on Sony, a channel not exactly known for its soaring ratings?
Back to Bingo: Abhishek made for a relaxed, easy host. In the inaugural episode, he played Bingo with his father Amitabh Bachchan, and the senior Bachchan also appeared very relaxed — he was full of stories and anecdotes about his films and his life, and happily recited his father’s poetry (Madhushala, Agneepath) and dialogues from films (yes, the temple dialogue from Deewar and the ‘Vijay Dinanath Chauhan’ dialogue from Agneepath).
But why do neither of them look as relaxed when they’re being interviewed on TV? I can’t remember when I saw an interview where they laughed, joked, told stories, had fun. But when they’re hosting shows? Well, Amitabh as a TV host is a class act. And Abhishek has made a confident debut with Bingo. I’m not sure I’d ever play Bingo the game sitting at home, but I’m perfectly happy to watch Bingo the show sitting at home (though the guests on the show will also have something to do with how the episodes play out; unfortunately you can’t get an Amitabh every time).
More stars on my screen: Some time back, Salman Khan appeared on Zee’s Dance India Dance to promote his new film Veer. Dance India Dance is about, well, dancing, which is truly quite spectacular. The boys lift the girls as if they weighed a few grams (which they probably do, given their slender bodies), twirl them around, flip them backwards, forwards; short of making them dance on the palms of their hands, they do pretty much everything.
Salman joked non-stop with Mithun Chakraborty (who is mysteriously called ‘Grandmaster’ on the show though you never see him playing chess or wearing a Masonic costume), danced with the contestants and generally gave the audience a good time (pity it didn’t help his film).
But like all reality shows, Dance India Dance also periodically feels the need to go into the whole drama and tears scenario — heartbreak and heartache (not to mention backache and leg ache and arm ache, given the strenuous dancing), disappointment and despair etc etc. Speaking for myself, the instant the attention veers from the dancing, my attention veers equally swiftly to the next channel.
If Salman was on Dance India Dance, Shah Rukh popped up on Music Ka Maha Muqqabala, along with Karan Johar, to promote his new film, My Name Is Khan. Music Ka Muqqabala is a first-rate show and the SRK episode was an absolute firecracker. Shah Rukh took off his jacket, rolled up his sleeves and danced and sang with full energy and gusto. Who would have believed that he was dancing after almost a year (for those who came in late, he had an injury). Most enjoyable.