Life slowly seems to be crawling back to normal on TV. The state elections took over the news channels and I wilted under the onslaught of experts (too numerous to list) analysing and discussing the results in agonising detail. Depending on which channel you tuned into and which expert you heard, you got wildly conflicting theories: It was development and governance. Yes, but individual personalities made a difference too (everyone loves Sheila Aunty, her Lady Shriram degree, her silk sarees, her flyovers; but V.K. Malhotra? Swapan Dasgupta said the BJP leader had been likened to ‘expired medicine’). The terror factor played a role too, didn’t it? No, terror had nothing to do with it. It was only local issues which mattered. And so on.
But (at least in all the programmes that I saw, on channels like Headlines Today, or Karan Thapar’s show on CNBC, for instance) everyone pretended they’d never heard of Mizoram. Did the state even go to the polls? You’d have never known if you watched TV, unless you happened to look at the graphics for the state-wise numbers. All the incessant talk on TV revolved around Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh.
The Hindi news channels hit their stride this week with the most filmi love story of Haryana’s former deputy chief minister Chander Mohan and his second wife Anuradha Bali. Both converted to Islam and became Chand and Fiza respectively; they also became latest in a line of amar premis pitted against a zaalim zamana.
Any moment I expected Fiza to break into “Pyaar kiya to darna kya”. Unfortunately she didn’t oblige but the news channels more than made up for her lack of enthusiasm. They played film song after song (from “Maine ghar chhoda hai, rasmon ko toda hai” to “Maine poochha chand se”) even as the husband and wife cooed “I love you” to each other. But I did think that poor Chand looked a little downcast, unlike Fiza, who was the exact opposite of a shrinking violet.
Shah Rukh Khan was also all over the TV, talking about the terror attacks (CNN-IBN and NDTV 24x7). But the interview that I enjoyed the most was the one he did with Manish Dube on Aaj Tak, where he spoke about all sorts of things, from his new film, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, to how he’d been affected by the Mumbai attacks. (I wish there had been fewer ad breaks and that the interview hadn’t ended as abruptly as it did). I also caught promos of Koel Purie interviewing SRK on her red couch over the weekend, so clearly King Khan is pushing the practical “Life must go on” line.
That was pretty much the theme of many of the post-terror attack shows on news channels. Among the profusion of aftermath stories, I liked Mumbai Meri Hai, hosted by Rajdeep where he visited all the places that had been hit and spoke to some of the people affected at each place.
And yes, since life must go on, the entertainment channels are also ready with their new shows. On Friday night, NDTV Imagine began Oye It’s Friday, hosted by filmmaker-actor Farhan Akhtar while Colors launched Dancing Queen (item girls doing, well, item numbers) — both clashing with each other at 10 pm. Since this column is being written much earlier in the day, reviews of both the shows will appear only next week.
And finally. I do hope the BBC is feeling considerably less smug now (after they announced “casualties” at Delhi airport when there were no such casualties). They apologised for their mistake, but hey, this is the BBC we’re talking about. Aren’t they supposed to do better than that? Be totally responsible, dependable etc etc?
Give me a break.