Three very different shows were launched this week. The first was a reality show on Bindass, called Superstud - The School of Flirt (I'm not joking). Thirteen young men come together to learn the art of catching a woman's attention/wooing women. Their guide and mentor is actor Ashmit Patel who presumably is an expert on the matter. The contestants are given tasks (no, there's no getting away from 'tasks' on reality shows; it's like seeing an Emraan Hashmi film without any kisses) and the one whose performance is the worst gets eliminated in every episode.
In the first episode, we were introduced to the young men, at least one of whom had definitely appeared previously in another dating reality show on Channel V ('reality show contestant' is becoming a proper profession now. Soon some enterprising person will start coaching classes: 'Ensure success!
Make it to the country's enviable list of reality show participants! Special tutorials by experts!')
All the contestants, while introducing themselves, had to tell us how many girlfriends they had had. It was difficult enough to believe them when they said they had dated 20 - 30 girls. Then one guy said he'd dated 99. Not to be outdone, the next guy said he'd dated almost a thousand! Either they had all failed in arithmetic throughout their school years, or they were dating from the time they were in nursery, or - well, who knows? - perhaps it was true. In which case, they shouldn't have been on the show at all; they should have been running coaching classes of their own. Or at least have been in Ashmit Patel's shoes.
Their first task consisted of going into a nightclub, approaching a girl, any girl, and getting the following information from her: name, age, telephone number and weight, all in 15 minutes.
Even if you were to seriously watch what are clearly the world's most awesome 'daters' go through this, er, challenge, could you ever be sure that the whole thing was genuine and not just a set up?
The other two new shows are on Imagine - Dwarkadheesh and Preeto. Dwarkadheesh, as the name suggests, is about Krishna, but not the Krishna of Gokul and Vrindavan and Mathura. This serial is about Krishna the king (of Dwarka), the husband and lover, friend of the Pandavas, master strategist of the Kurukshetra war.
I am an obsessive fan of The Mahabharata so I'm always apprehensive about seeing serials about the epic/characters from the epic. Imagine's Dwarkadheesh is done in typical calendar art style. Nothing wrong with that, I guess. But it's disappointing that even after so many years (B R Chopra's Mahabharata was telecast almost 30 years ago), there has been no version of the epic/part of the epic which has attempted to break new ground in terms of presentation and style. (Ekta Kapoor tried, but the less said about that attempt the better). I'm still waiting for that one great, memorable television version of the Mahabharata or that one great series about the life of any of the heroes from the Mahabharata.
And finally. The third new show, Preeto, is set in Amritsar, and is about a traditional Punjabi family. Preeto is one of several sisters but the only one among them who selflessly and cheerfully supports her family, without a thought for her own dreams and desires. As stories go, Preeto is about as new and unusual as last year's leftovers. We've been watching films and serials about noble, sacrificing daughters for ever and ever. Do we want to watch yet another one?