Most of us probably thought we could no longer be surprised (flabbergasted?) by what passes off as news on news channels. Remember all those stories on bhoots and shamshaan ghats? The end-of-the-world doomsday scenarios? Those reports about weird tantrik babas practicing their, well, weird practices, in remote villages?
Despite such a flourishing tradition of Manohar Kahaaniyan-type stories on news channels, I was still unprepared for what I saw on News 24 — a report titled Hello, Brother Alien. Normally I would have instantly changed channels, but I was so riveted that I watched the entire programme. It took me a long time to figure out what it was all about — and frankly, I’m still not very sure. But it seemed to be about the Vatican’s opinion about aliens. Why this would be of interest to anyone except perhaps the Vatican and any aliens who happen to be interested in the Vatican is a mystery as deep as the search for extra-terrestrial life.
The show raised several questions, such as: Who made aliens? (Steven Spielberg?). Kahaan hai alien ki duniya? (Where’s is the alien’s world? Let’s hazard a guess — outer space? Or, closer to the truth, Hollywood studios? According to the programme the answer is “in a corner of the universe.” No, we weren’t enlightened as to which corner). What will the Church do if it’s confronted by an alien? Will it say “Hello, brother alien?” (I’m at a total loss to answer that one. Does anyone know the correct etiquette for greeting an alien?). All the while, we were shown images of ET-type aliens and clips of Jadu from the Hrithik Roshan film, Koi Mil Gaya.
You can see why I was riveted. But seriously, the ‘news point’ of the show was that apparently the Vatican is quite gung-ho on the subject of aliens these days and wants universities to offer courses on astro-biology, in order to discover an answer to yet another question: Alien ki haqeeqat kya hai? (what is the reality of the alien?) I do hope the channel shows us some follow-up reports on the subject — I can hardly wait.
I’ve been seeing Bigg Boss (Colors) off and on and I count myself very lucky if I can follow what some of the housemates are saying.
I remember one particular conversation Vindoo had with Raju Srivastava in the loo; all I heard was incoherent mumbling (Vindoo speaking as if his mouth was stuffed with marbles) and grunting (from Raju). Also, do I really want to see Vindoo wearing just a towel and Raju Srivastava screwing up his face and shaving with full concentration? But some of the other housemates are far clearer — Tanaaz Currim, for instance, has made it quite clear she wants to get out of the house (be-cause she can’t take it any more; and who can blame her?). Shamita Shetty also wants to get out (because she wants to attend her sister’s wedding).
Bigg Boss is entertaining in small doses; if you watch too much of it, you start feeling quite disoriented and pointless — just like the lives of the housemates.
And finally. Balika Vadhu (Colors) is acknowledging Children’s Day by bringing back Teacherji in a special episode on the importance of educating little girls. It’s a noble thought, if short-lived. (Remember how Farida Jalal made a fleeting appearance as the sane voice of modernity and reason, only to be banished because the ratings fell?). So let’s get real — what are the chances of 18th century Dadisa reasserting herself in her strange household of silent, weeping women and burning every book she can find?