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‘I slash points for double meaning statements’

Director Rohit Shetty, co-judge on Comedy Ke Superstars, denies being the reason for Shekhar Suman’s absence on the show
Hindustan Times | By Hiren Kotwani, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAY 23, 2010 02:39 PM IST

Those who tuned in to Comedy Ke Superstars on Sony Entertainment, last night were surprised to find actor Govinda co-judging the laughathon with Archana Puran Singh.

If you are wondering whether actor-politician Shekhar Suman has been replaced by Golmaal director Rohit Shetty, here’s the news: Rohit Shetty is going to be around, but not before episode No 4. And Suman will be sorely missed this season! Ever since his television debut as a judge in the first season of Comedy Circus, Shetty has become a popular and permanent fixture with Singh on the judges’ panel. While Suman, who was on the show during season two, Teen Ka Tadka, won’t be seen on this season for reasons best known to him.

Reportedly, Shetty is the reason for Suman’s exit. “I haven’t replaced Shekhar for sure. I’ve heard that the channel didn’t have the budget to accomodate him this time,” asserts Shetty, pointing out that Suman had dropped out earlier because he had taken on Perfect Bride on Star Plus.

“The format changed in the second season and we had three teams: Sumans, Purans and Shettys. This season, the format has undergone some more changes, considering that there are only two judges in Challengers v/s Superstars. Sometimes, Shekhar’s not there and sometimes I’m not there,” he informs.

No preparation
The director, who’s currently filming the third edition of Golmaal in Goa, says that he’s looking forward to the new season of the stand-up comedy show because he’ll only enter the show after it has started.

“I’m not tuned in to what has been happening in the first three episodes. I’ll land up without knowing anything but now I have plans in place about how I will be judging the show this time. I’ll take it as it comes,” he adds.

Bring up his popularity as a judge on the show, he says that if he knew how popular he was, he’d have charged twice his fee. “Ah! I missed a chance to ask for a bigger pay packet!”

In retrospect, he conceded that he was confused when he signed up for the first season of Comedy Circus. “It took a few episodes to settle. Now, I’m very comfortable as a judge and I know what I have to do when the show begins to roll. Earlier, I was this director of a hit comedy called Golmaal. Today, people recognise me by my face. And that’s something that I will always thank the show for. But sometimes, I also feel that it’s bad because now if I make a flop film, the audience will know whom to catch,” he says.

Shetty maintains that he wouldn’t appreciate double entendres and vulgarity. “It’s the easiest form of comedy. I don’t subscribe to it at all. I have an image. I make clean cinema meant for a family to watch. You can’t vulgar comedy shows when your kids are around. I slash points for double meaning statements,” he states.

No option
So, are there differences of opinion between his co-judges and him? “Not many. We refrain from influencing each other’s decisions. We get along fine.” Since he has worked with a couple of comedians from the show in his movies, he admits that it surprises him when they fail to deliver.

“It’s disappointing when the performance is good and the act isn’t written well. It’s also upsetting if the individual doesn’t give his 100 per cent. But one has to consider that the writers and the artistes have been doing the show for three years. It’s not easy creating something new every time,” he reasons.

Shetty feels that in the first season, he was too harsh and thought the channel wouldn’t approach him again. “But they returned for the second and the third seasons. Maybe they don’t have an option,” he chuckles.

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