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Of bimbettes, brands and forgotten stars

NDTV Good Times ought to be renamed Bimbette Times, says Poonam Saxena, as she gives the low-down on the idiot box.

tv Updated: Sep 15, 2007 16:51 IST
Poonam Saxena

So Indian Idol 3 is drawing to a close. The fight has narrowed down to the two finalists from the north-east, Amit Paul and Prashant. But regardless of who wins, both are already celebrities in hometowns Darjeeling and Shillong.

What happens to them once the contest is over is of course another matter altogether. Whatever, for instance, became of Qazi Toqeer and Ruprekha Bannerjee, the winners of Fame Gurukul? Or to the winner of Indian Idol 2,whose name most people can’t even remember?

The other two music shows (Sa Re Ga Ma Pa on Zee and Amul Star Voice of India on Star Plus) have many weeks to go before they come to an end. The ratings for Indian Idol 3 will probably start climbing as the series enters its final lap, but as of now, it is still Sa Re Ga Ma Pa that has the numbers.

Maybe it’s to do with Himesh Reshammiya’s cap (the other day, he abandoned his usual baseball cap in favour of a monkey cap; I almost expected him to start speaking in fluent Bengali), maybe it’s Bappi Lahiri’s jewellery, maybe it’s the contestants themselves — whatever the reason, the show is flying on the ratings charts. The Star Plus show — despite the engaging, amiable Shaan — is trailing at No 3 at the moment. It will be interesting to see how the ratings play out over the next few weeks.<b1>

I am finally getting NDTV Good Times on my television set. I watched it randomly over a couple of days, and so here are some random observations. First of all, they might consider renaming it Bimbette Times, because every single show I saw was anchored by females, all of whom seemed to have come off an assembly line. All were very young, all wore trendy clothes, and all had accents (in varying degrees; in some cases, it was just a word here and there; in other cases, it was much more pronounced — maybe they’ve all done stints in call centres).

The cookery show hostess (Manju Malhi) is different, but she appears to be fresh off a flight from the UK, because every second sentence began with: “In the UK, garlic bread isn’t like this,” or “In the UK we don’t do it this way.” While browsing in a shop looking for ingredients, she squealed delightedly, “Oh wow! This reminds me of the UK, they’ve got Cheddar cheese here!”

Wait till she discovers extra-virgin olive oil and sun dried tomatoes, which even your local neighbourhood shops stock these days.

Since the entire channel is branded, all the commercial breaks at the moment are Kingfisher breaks. If I hear “O la la la le you” one more time, I’m going to stop drinking Kingfisher (packaged water of course, that’s what the ads are about). A lot of the individual shows appear to be branded too — the gadget show has a tie-up with T3, the food show with Upper Crust, and I’m sure there are others I haven’t seen as yet. So is this India’s first branded/ bimbette channel?

<b2>(I’ve heard rumours that there are a few male presenters too — actor Rajat Kapoor, for example — but I haven’t yet encountered any).

The channel has the usual mix of fitness, travel, wellness etc, and it’s all packaged in a determinedly hip way. Will it work? Who knows? Maybe there are millions of Kingfisher (packaged water) fans out there. Mostly however, the TV set at home has been tuned to the sports channel where the Twenty20 cricket matches are being telecast.

What caught my attention was not the cricket but the cheerleaders, who dance everytime a batsman hits a four or six. They’re not cheerleaders really, in the sense that no team has their own cheerleaders who, well, cheer them on. Maybe that’s a good thing. The mind boggles at the thought of saree/salwaar-kameez-clad cheerleaders for the Indian team.

And finally. In a behind-the-scenes episode of Koffee With Karan, Karan Johar revealed to us what his hamper actually contains: coffee, chocolates, cookies, a couple of gizmos etc. What a let down.