Yet more 'tamaasha' on news channels

Leave Aamir Khan alone. That‘s what I wanted to say after I saw the way they went at him with hammers and tongs on all the Hindi news channels. The man has a professional life, which he spoke so lavishly about during the release of his last film. Then he has a personal life which no one has the right to invade.

Lamentably the Hindi news channels have shown no mercy for the Mangal man. On the contrary Mangal was mangled about his love child. Throughout Tuesday evening Aamir was given the nosy investigative treatment by self-important TV channels pretending to be doing some kind of a national service by picking up a spicy story from a gossip magazine and turning it into a debate on ‘crass‘-fertilisation.

But how was it of any consequence to the common man whether Aamir had a secret child or not? Star News was the worst offender. Their long one-hour story Aamir Ki Jaan stretched into eons of inanity. As the damning footage played on and on Star News even invited viewers to send SMS to vote on the "aarop" (allegation).

But hello? What allegation?? Is siring an illegitimate child an allegation? Until the mom says so, no!

So what are the TV channels acting so cocky about? And why trash a film before it gets a proper airing in the theaters? India TV mangled Mangal Pandey (the film, not the actor) on Friday when audiences trooped out zombie-like giving gaalis to the film. Such anti-publicity for a new release has been banned on many channels in the South. About time stringent steps were taken to prevent an opulent outbreak of petulance on these news channels

****Of late I‘ve been eyeballing a rather charismatic numerologist called Sanjay Jumaani on Sahara One‘s Bolein Ssitare where he makes predications about films. But isn‘t it rather sad and self-defeating when he turns around to say Barsaat doesn‘t add up numerologically to be hit for its makers?

By making such damaging and premature predictions you influence the audience into believing the film DESERVES to be a non-success. Nevertheless Jumaani provides able pastime and seems to know about the stars above as much as the ones below. Does he apply Page 3 wisdom to astrology? How else do we explain a statement like, "Bobby and Priyanka don‘t jell, she jells better with Akshay."

I suspect Bolein Ssitare will have a long innings. It gives the junta a mix of dope and hope.

Sony‘s once-meritorious Rihaee is on the way out. Last week‘s episodes on irregularities in a mahila ashram bordered on the gimmicky. When a talented actor like Nakul Vaid is made to run around in a bearded disguise you know there‘s stubble trouble.

"Men and women don‘t live in the same zip circle," Sarah Jessica Parker was heard saying in HBO‘s Sex & The City last week.




Take a peek at the double meaning inherent in the word ‘zip‘. Look at how clever that line is. Where are the clever writers on the Indian soaps? They‘re either overworked or over, period. Kyunkii Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi has turned into a masquerade of maudlinism.

Tulsi was first detected with a terminal illness. The entire Virani family went into a collective over-drive

False alarm. All‘s well with Tulsi. And she‘s beaming brightly all over the place coaxing her surly husband (who has dyed his hair lately) to have thepla while driving down. Now the problematic zone has shifted to her daughter Shobha who‘s having marital problems.

Ekta Kapoor‘s father Jeetendra has been added to the saas-bahu cast. Hopefully he‘ll make a difference, though it seems unlikely, what with cine stars constantly coming a cropper on the soaps.

Jeetuji‘s contemporaries including Hema Malini (in Kamini Damini) have fallen flat on the belly of the telly.

The music contests are getting unbearably passionate. On Sa Re Ga Ma Challenge we had one female contestant clutching another to sob so hard that you feared for their life and breath. There‘s one particular director in Bollywood who‘s known to scream, "Aur emotion dalo" at all his actors. Maybe he‘s directing Sa Re Ga Ma. I liked judge Alka Yagnik‘s response. "I can understand the tears when a contestant loses. But why do the winners cry?"

Why cry? Because tears are a big turn-on at prime-time, that‘s why!

The judges on this talent-scouting thing sure behave like villains in a typical potboiler. They flare their nostrils and throw taunts at one another. They fling insults at one another, sneer at their contemporaries.

During the festive week that just went by I loved the telecast of J P Dutta‘s film LOC. It‘s very strange. But this mammoth made-for-the-big-screen epic seems to have found its métier on television. Not a single person who saw the film disliked its linear and lengthy interaction between war and love.

Mallika Sherawat featured quite prominently on television this week. On KBC a young contestant was riled playfully by the host-with-the-most for knowing the voluptuous actress‘ real name. In fact on Bolein Ssitare too Mallika‘s name–change played a big part.

Quite easily the best Independence Day gift was a whole well-researched segment of CNBC‘s Showtime on the completion of 30 years of Sholay. Though the central interview with Ramesh Sippy was slightly callow (why did the correspondent insist on asking so many questions on the Holi song in Sholay?) the cross-section of views on this historic film made it a perfect tribute to a film that refuses to die.

Like Tulsi.

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