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Home, hearth and horror

So this is the lull before the storm, before it starts raining new shows on our TV screens as soon as the IPL gets over.

tv Updated: May 28, 2011 00:17 IST

So this is the lull before the storm, before it starts raining new shows on our TV screens as soon as the IPL gets over.

Some of the shows seem quite promising, others the exact opposite. For example, I’ve always found Khatron Ke Khiladi (Colors) quite watchable, but I’m not so sure about the latest season with Akshay Kumar, which is apparently all about ‘taarchar.’ Do they mean ‘torture’? (The world’s thinnest book would have to be ‘How To Spell Correctly,’ written by the Indian TV industry). If they do indeed mean ‘torture,’ I’m even more sceptical of the show than I am of Colors’s spelling abilities.

To me, it seems like a sad sellout of the original, simple idea of daring stunts and adventure. Now it sounds as if Akshay Kumar doesn’t want to be Akshay Kumar any longer, instead he has this sad urge to become that bearded man from Roadies or that other fellow from Dadagiri (both of whom are probably authors of world’s other thinnest book, ‘How to Come Across as Likeable, Fun and Intelligent’).

I hope I’m wrong and that Khatron Ke Khiladi retains its original character. But it’s a bit like hoping that Anandi (from Balika Vadhu, silly) slips into shorts and T-shirt, and decides to become a deejay in Ibiza.

Currently, apart from Balika Vadhu, Anandi is also participating in the fourth season of Colors’s afternoon show, Kitchen Champion. Ronit Roy is the anchor, there is a chef called Gauti, someone called Punpunwali (I’m not joking) for comic relief plus several women participants — all actresses from Colors’s serials. They don’t even go by their own names but by the names of the characters they play.

Though there is some cooking (very little, not very exciting), Kitchen Champion appears less like a food show and more like an entertainment show for slightly dim-witted womenfolk who have nothing better to do at one in the afternoon than watch television.

TV channels are also quite keen on dimly-lit horror shows. I saw three of them recently — Anhoniyon Ka Andhera (Colors) and Kala Saya and Raat Hone Ko Hai (Sahara One). If the names of the shows are making you giggle, what will you do when you see entire episodes? Let me explain. For a start, the ‘star’ of each show is a ‘shaitani taaqat’ which does Very Bad Things (mostly Killing People In Cold Blood).

And it is the job of the protagonists to destroy this ‘taaqat,’ which they do by first of all, always dashing off in the middle of the night to haunted havelis, deserted graveyards, abandoned buildings, locked up attics and the like. (Never heard of daylight hours, it appears). Secondly, every place they go to — attic, graveyard, whatever — is invariably shrouded with a sinister blue fog through which they must blunder along (no, they haven’t heard of flashlights or torches either).
I’m not even going into the sound effects or visual effects — the omnipresent leering laughter, the general shrieking and screaming, the fangs (vampires are in vogue right now. In fact Star One even has a vampire-themed love story called Pyar Kii Yeh Ek Kahani; Stephanie Meyer, you have a lot to answer for) and so on and so forth.

Once the ‘shaitani taaqat’ is vanquished, the episode /series ends and a fresh new one begins with a fresh new ‘shaitani taaqat.’ And the protagonists go through the haunted haveli, fog, fangs etc routine all over again.
It’s a good thing lots of new shows are starting soon.