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India hunts for talent, judges have a ball

Got talent, will participate in TV reality shows. Not got talent, will still participate in TV reality shows. India's Got Talent, the desi version of the international Got Talent format (originally conceived by Simon Cowell, the American Idol judge whose idea of encouraging participants was to hurl insults at them), has just started its second season on Colors.

tv Updated: Aug 07, 2010 00:21 IST

Got talent, will participate in TV reality shows. Not got talent, will still participate in TV reality shows. India's Got Talent, the desi version of the international Got Talent format (originally conceived by Simon Cowell, the American Idol judge whose idea of encouraging participants was to hurl insults at them), has just started its second season on Colors.

For those who never switch on their TV sets or read any of the entertainment sections in newspapers and magazines (I'm not sure such a person exists; however), the show invites 'talented' people from all over the country to come and perform in front of a judges panel.

As the show progresses, participants keep getting weeded out, till finally only a couple of acts are left.

Last year, in the first season, the judges were Sonali Bendre, Kiron Kher and Shekhar Kapur. Getting former actresses as judges on reality shows is not a particularly novel idea, but Shekhar Kapur was an inspired choice, I thought.

He wasn't an over-exposed face, and piquantly, he played against type. You'd have expected the internationally known director to have a cool, slightly aloof, man-of-the-world kind of persona.

But Shekhar came across as endearingly emotional, breaking down and crying (as in sobbing, I'm not talking about discreet sniffing or flicking away an errant teardrop) whenever he was especially moved or touched by an act (which was admittedly very often). But he added quite a bit to the show's watchability factor.

Which is why I was surprised not to find him on the judges panel this year. He's been replaced by film director Sajid Khan.

Now Sajid Khan — before his hit filmmaker days — used to host some of TV's funniest shows. He was rude, he was irreverent, he was mad — but he was funny. I don't know what kind of Sajid Khan we're going to see on the show, but if the first episode was anything to go by, I think it's going to be his funny TV guy avatar.

About the other two judges — Kirron Kher is earthy and vivacious, though the big laugh, big hair and big jewellery are a bit distracting. Sonali Bendre is, well, pretty and sweet.

The thing about the Got Talent format is that it begins with swarms of people who have only a very, very distant relationship with the word 'talent'.

In the episode I watched, some of the participants did the strangest of dances (if you can even call it that) and you couldn't really blame the judges for collapsing into fits of giggles (but most of the dancers looked quite bewildered at this hilarity-filled response).

Good acts do crop up in between but the consistency only comes in the later episodes.