I’ve been seeing so much of Shilpa Shetty on TV, I’m beginning to wonder whether she’s permanently migrated to the small screen from the big screen. As far as I know, she doesn’t have a film — or anything else for that matter — in the pipeline; so what exactly is she busy with at the moment? Television appearances and shows, it seems.
We saw her cheering her team during the IPL (only we’re not sure if it was/is her team at all). Then we saw her at the Miss India pageant (telecast on Sony some time back) where she was one of the judges. She had to ask a contestant a question; her query was ‘When have you felt proudest to be an Indian?’ The contestant replied that her proudest moment as an Indian was right now, being on the stage for the Miss India contest. Huh? I’m sure the contestants are not as, er, shall we say, intellectually wanting as they appear. Maybe it’s just that by the time they go through all their ‘training’ and are crowned with titles like Miss Golden Heart and Miss Pure, they retreat into a sorry-system-has-shut-down-only-robotic-type-programmed-responses-possible. (Also, could someone please inform all of us poor viewers who designed the costumes for Lara Datta and Neha Dhupia? At one point Lara looked like she was wearing grey strips made out of industrial scrap instead of a skirt.) Anyhow, Shilpa Shetty was one of the judges, along with a whole lot of other celebrities, the most endearing of whom was undoubtedly boxer Vijender Singh.
Then Shilpa Shetty popped up as a judge — again! This time with actor Arshad Warsi and choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant on Star Plus’s girls versus boys dance contest, Zara Nachke Dikha. Looking slim and svelte in a sari, she towered over poor Arshad (who was not looking either slim or svelte, but then he wasn’t wearing a sari), and beamed cheerily at everyone. The show has some very energetic dancing — and some very energetic squabbling between the girls team and the boys team (“We are better than you guys! Nyaah nyaah nyaah nyaah!” says Rakhi Sawant. “No, we are better than the girls! Nyaah nyaah nyaah!” chorus the boys. And so on and on, a bit tiresomely).
But the moral of the story is that television is a lifeline for out-of-work Bollywood stars such as Shilpa Shetty (it gives them money + work + visibility). It’s also a lifeline for currently employed Bollywood stars — such as Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar (gives them money + money + money). Today, nobody in the Hindi film industry can dare to ignore TV. Dance shows keep cropping up on entertainment channels all the time, but the pioneer was undoubtedly Boogie Woogie. Now this long-running show is back on Sony with a (sigh) children’s championship. The cheerful and bubbly Mona Singh played hostess, even as the familiar trio of Javed, Naved and Ravi Bahl contributed to the fun and games. It’s a nice, buzzy show — if only they’d get over their obsession with dancing children.
And finally. Zee News telecast interviews on Friday morning with the three Delhi CBSE toppers (Arts, Science and Commerce). All one could do was gape at them as they earnestly revealed how all of them studied for six-seven-eight-nine hours every day — to make sure that they did well, though they claimed they never thought they would do so well (they all have 97 per cent plus marks). Each one of them should be given a chance to ask questions to beauty pageant contestants. I’d love to hear the replies!