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K-Jo’s magic amid tiring saas-bahu saga

tv Updated: Jan 16, 2009 23:14 IST
Poonam Saxena
Poonam Saxena
Hindustan Times
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He’s the only man I know who has actually managed to make fashion designers appear interesting. Usually my eyes glaze over the moment designers begin holding forth on how their clothes are meant for intelligent, independent, contemporary women (translation: rich socialites/movie stars), or how the inspiration for their latest collection comes from African carvings/Eskimo igloos/Japanese haiku/goodness knows what (next time some designer makes such claims, he should be instantly subjected to sustained interrogation about said inspiration; anyone wants to take a bet that he’ll know nothing about it?).

Anyhow, Karan Johar has accomplished the difficult feat of making interviews with even fashion designers watchable — and that too in a sponsored show where everyone has to dutifully gush about the sponsors.

The show in question is Karan Johar at Chivas in Fashion (I saw it on Star One), shot in a darkened studio with big white blocks masquerading as sofas. When Karan and his guests rest their elbows on the arms of the sofas, their elbows are practically level with their necks, so high are the arms of the sofas. Consequently, they (Karan + guests + sofas) look decidedly uncomfortable.

But Karan spices up the interviews in all sorts of little ways — like asking the designers who they think are the most stylish/least stylish actors and actresses in Bollywood (Vidya Balan is still making it to the least stylish list). And, as seems to happen so magically with Karan, his guests are quite forthcoming and actually name names.

The show just reinforces what I’ve always believed — that Karan is a genuinely talented talk show host (though now he’s got serious competition from Farhan Akhtar who is funnier and whackier).

Reality shows and contests show no signs of quietly fading away from our screens. Star Plus has just started something
called Arre Deewano Mujhe Pehchano where a bunch of minor celebrities do funny impersonations and make idiots out of unsuspecting people and then give each other marks on how good their disguises were. It’s a sort of celebrity Bakra-cum-Chhupa Rustom.

So we have film director Mahesh Manjrekar playing a weird sadhu baba in a restaurant and driving one of the diners crazy;
Mandira Bedi pretending to be a shrill-voiced mehandiwali who does everything but put mehndi on her gullible client’s hand, Shweta Keswani playing a South Indian star who instructs an aspiring actor (the bakra) to mouth dialogues full of words like “rascala” etc.

The show has some funny moments, but this whole business of judges marking the performers (even though the judges are also the performers) has become a bit of a drag now. (“Ten!” says the judge. “Thank you!” squeals the performer).

And if reality shows and competitions are showing no signs of disappearing, neither are saas-bahu serials. Just because
Ekta Kapoor’s three big K soaps (Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki and Kasauti Zindagi Kay) ended, everyone began celebrating the death of saas-bahu soaps. But the truth — alas — is that elements of these soaps keep creeping back into ongoing serials.

Let me give you one example. Mohe Rang De (Colors) was supposed to be a dramatic story set against the backdrop of the freedom struggle (the female lead is called Kranti for god’s sake). But what has it degenerated into? An all too familiar fight between the bad bahu and the good bahu.

Bad bahu: “Main aisi chaal chalungi…
Good bahu: “Main tumhe dekh loongi!”
Bad bahu: “Teri aukaad kya hai?”
Good bahu: “Main tumhe teri aukaad dikha doongi!”
And so on. You get the drift.

It seems as if our television scriptwriters have gone into a sort of creative paralysis where the only plots and characters they can think of are from the Ekta Kapoor saas-bahu school.

And by the way, Ekta is back with not one but two soaps (back to back) on NDTV Imagine starting Monday.

Hopefully I’ll survive till Friday to write the review.