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Small Screen: Cash rains on TV

Just like the spurt of big money game shows, there?s also a sudden deluge of news channels on television

india Updated: Jan 08, 2006 01:39 IST

I finally caught the new Zee show, Kum Ya Zyaada, the channel’s response to KBC. Manoj Bajpai is the anchor. I don’t know what it is – maybe I can’t get over Bhiku Mhatre (the character he played in gangster film Satya) — but Manoj seems curiously sinister, even when he’s trying to be jolly and funny. When the contestant of the day lost, Manoj said, “Yes you’ve lost but we can’t just let you go away.” The words seemed to have an ominous ring, almost as if he had some not-very-pleasant plans in mind for the poor man (perhaps forcing him to see Zee’s Saloni Ka Safar for the next six months?). Turned out he was offering a free holiday package to Thailand.

The lighting and the music are very reminiscent of KBC. In fact, Kum Ya Zyada, seen in tandem with Sony’s Deal Ya No Deal, evokes a strong sense of déjà vu. Both have started post KBC Dviteeya’s success, just like the first round of KBC pushed Sony and Zee into launching money shows of their own (Chhappar Phaad Ke and Sawaal Dus Crore Ka). The former was anchored by Govinda, who thought he was in a David Dhawan film (can’t blame him, the two had worked in so many movies together) and converted the show into a sort of variety entertainment programme, where he mimicked other people, danced, sang and joked. But nothing could save the show. Sawaal Dus Crore Ka was an even bigger flop; both Anupam Kher and Manisha Koirala had as much presence as the chairs in the studio (KBC’s Computerji was more riveting).

In this second round, Deal Ya No Deal’s Madhavan is endearing and engaging, but the show is so convoluted, you may well need Computerji’s help to keep track of the thousands of boxes which are constantly being opened, driving the participants into paroxysms of joy or disappointment.

So just like last time round, KBC rules again? Ah well.

Just like it’s suddenly raining big money game shows, it’s also raining news channels. Barely had CNN-IBN launched that I have started seeing the promos of yet another channel, Times Now. I will reserve comment on the channel till it’s actually on air, but I hope it will truly be different and not evoke a sense of been-there-done-that.

I had just about got over the MTV Immies, when I was informed (“Coming soon! Don’t miss it!!” etc etc) that the Screen films awards are now going to be shown. The actual Immies show was preceded by about a thousand programmes (I call them that for want of a better word) about how the show was being organized, who was doing the sound, who was doing the stage, who was arriving at the airport and so on. They even showed us the auditions of the kids who are supposed to crowd around the stage and scream hysterically throughout. Why did they stop short of showing us visuals of all the above-mentioned people brushing their teeth in the loo?

At the actual show itself, Abhijeet Sawant and Himesh Reshammiya went up on stage so many times to receive so many awards, they may as well have set up makeshift residence on stage. I also kept wondering — was the show being held in India or Pakistan? There were so many Pakistani singers, I thought for a moment it was coming live from Lahore. Also, a word of friendly advice to Bipasha Basu. Please don’t dance. Please. Contrary to what you may think, the stage is not a hot tin roof.

And finally. I saw some episodes of Channel V’s Get Gorgeous (the reality show that hunts for a supermodel) and I’m still trying to retrieve my eyeballs. The participating girls are ticked off for stealing a smoke in their hotel rooms, told to get into bikinis while the judges poke at their thighs and stomachs and say, “Too bulky,” asked to change into their “most stylish clothes” and then told that their outfits look like pieces of cloth with which people cover their television sets…. and so on. And here’s the weirdest part — the girls listen meekly. Wish one of them had thrown in her TV cloth and stalked off.