Life is a visual treat but is Desi Girl entertainment? | tv | Hindustan Times
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Life is a visual treat but is Desi Girl entertainment?

‘Stilettos in Cowshit’ is the kind of effect I believe Fox wanted for The Simple Life. The makers of Desi Girl have obviously taken this to heart.

tv Updated: May 28, 2010 23:31 IST
Poonam Saxena

Ask anyone (okay, not anyone, at least someone with more than two grey cells) to name their favourite TV channel and more often than not the answer you’ll get is: ‘Discovery’. For a long time, I used to think that people said ‘Discovery’ only because it was the politically correct thing to say (who could possibly find fault with a choice like that?) even though they may have been secretly and furtively addicted to FTV. But I think people are actually telling the truth.

Just take the latest series to premiere on Discovery — Life. I saw the first episode and it literally blew me away. Narrated by the one and only David Attenborough in his distinctive, raspy voice, Life is about, well, life on the planet — all the strange and incredible creatures that inhabit the earth and all the strange and incredible things they do: killer whales hunting seals in the icy waters of the Antarctic; chameleons catching their prey by extending, whiplash-style, more than ten foot long tongues; a pack of three cheetahs attacking and killing a tall, fluffy ostrich; disconcertingly human-looking monkeys breaking big, hard-shelled nuts by smashing them with stones… it’s completely riveting. What actually gives the series its high drama feel is the photography. There are intense close-ups (you can literally see each scale on the chameleon’s body), action scenes shot in poetic slow motion (such as the entire sequence of three powerful cheetahs chasing the clumsily agitated ostrich), not to mention the rarely seen footage itself (have you ever seen two hippos fighting over mating rights?)

If all this gushing doesn’t make you watch Life, well, you’re really missing something.

There’s another kind of life unfolding on Imagine — a reality show Desi Girl, based on the American show called The Simple Life, where socialites Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie tried to live like ‘ordinary’ people. (The words ‘Paris Hilton’ and ‘ordinary’ go together about as well as the words ‘Paris Hilton’ and ‘cerebral’ or ‘Paris Hilton’ and ‘meaningful.’)
“Stilettos in cow shit” is the kind of effect I believe Fox wanted for The Simple Life. The makers of Desi Girl have obviously taken this to heart. Literally. Eight glamorous showbiz girls are going to live in a village in Punjab and compete in rural tasks such as cooking over a chulha, catching chickens, hanging out with buffaloes etc.

The eight arrived in rural Punjab, dragging trolleys (“I’ve brought all my body washes and face washes in my luggage,” trilled reality TV star-cum-item girl Sambhavana Seth), wearing eight-inch heels, shoulder and cleavage-baring tight dresses and outsize designer sunglasses. They tossed their blow-dried hair, complained about the heat, giggled at their predicament and generally behaved as if they had come to some strange, exotic, unknown planet.

Eventually they were introduced to the village panchayat by Rohit Roy who is the anchor of the show (he introduced them to Jaydev Singh, who he referred to as the ‘chairman’ of the village!). The ‘chairman’ then sternly told the girls that they had to follow the village rules (wake up at 4 am and so on) whereupon they all giggled some more.

The idea of glamorous girls doing amazing stunts in Khatron Ke Khiladi (Colors) was intriguing for lots of viewers. So maybe some viewers will find the idea of glamorous starlets making cowdung cakes / milking cows at the crack of dawn highly entertaining viewing.

Others may not but they should remember one thing — never, never be surprised any longer by what passes off as entertainment on our TV screens.