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Tickling our funny bone... or at least trying to

In Sony’s Boogie Woogie, little girls do suggestive jhatkas and you wonder what their parents or the judges were thinking when they allowed the kids to participate. In music contests, the children weep when they are eliminated and idiot anchors ask them, “Kaisa lag raha hai?” Poonam Saxena examines...

tv Updated: Mar 28, 2009 00:28 IST
Poonam Saxena Poonam Saxena

In the midst of all the shaadi-bidaai-parivaar-bitiya serials, entertainment channels have finally come up with a couple of comedies as well. You have to look really hard to find them because most days, if you just switch on the TV at random, all you’re likely to see are sad maidens languishing in some corner of their sasurals, or languishing in their maaykas waiting to go to their sasurals where they can languish some more.

I am not referring to shows like the Laughter Challenge or Comedy Circus which are more in the nature of talent shows, with judges who rate the performers. Colors has just ended its children’s talent hunt where small girls and boys had put up funny acts. (I’m not a big fan of talent shows for children. In dance shows like Sony’s Boogie Woogie, little girls routinely do suggestive jhatkas and you wonder what their parents — or the trio of judges, Javed, Naved and Ravi Bahl — were thinking when they allowed the kids to participate. In music contests, the children weep when they are eliminated and idiot anchors ask them, “Kaisa lag raha hai?”).

It wasn’t always like this. Once upon a time, TV channels actually showed some pretty good comedies. Does anyone remember the hilarious Filmi Chakkar on Zee TV?

With actors of the caliber of Satish Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah playing a film-obsessed husband and wife, I guess there was no way the serial could not have worked.

Both the Shahs got together years later again for Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai, which was also lots of fun.

Then there was the splendid Office Office with Pankaj Kapur playing the harried Musaddi Lal, with an array of good comic actors in the supporting cast (Manoj Pahwa, Asawari Joshi, Deven Bhojani and others).

I’ve probably left out some other deserving shows but these were the top of the mind recall.

Recently, Sab TV has been projecting itself as a comedy channel. The newest serials on the channel are Gunwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Bhootwala Serial (I’m not making it up, that really is the name).

Gunwale… has a fairly funny premise. It’s about a family of gangsters where the maid hides bullets in the atta if there’s a police raid and the boss has a henchman called Reminder (whose only job is to remind him of things since our don is the forgetful sort) and the women of the house go into a decline because their children score 89 per cent in school and hang around in undesirable company (read boys whose parents are engineers and doctors).

The serial could have been an absolute scream, but though there are some funny moments, I was disappointed.

Star Plus has also just started a comedy serial, Burey Bhi Hum Bhale Bhi Hum, about two brothers who live with their families in the same house.

One family is very nice, the other family is not at all nice. They all look like they should be in a saas-bahu soap (in terms of their clothes, etc), and they’re not that funny, but hey, it’s a comedy.

And then, of course, there’s Ghar Ki Baat on NDTV Imagine, which is the one I like.

For some inadvertently funny moments, however, if you’re ever awake after midnight, please do see the Asian Sky Shop, Tele Mall, Tele Shopping ads for a few minutes (many of which have TV stars selling the products).

I watched Kalki (yes, the Dev D girl) and two other people selling something called the, er, Powerful Swing Massager which massages your body and also apparently helps you lose weight.

All the three people in the ad smiled beatifically into the camera as their bodies shuddered and shook violently. Were they being subjected to electric shocks? Was some invisible person tickling them unmercifully? Was it a medical condition?

No, it was the Massager.

You live and learn.