It's back to the sweet chat for Simi next month

Indian television‘s classiest and most popular talk show is all set to return. Rendezvous With Simi Garewal returns on 29 January with an introductory episode featuring John Abraham.

Simi raves about her first guest. "John was an absolute eye-opener. Such a genuine down-to-earth, honest-to-goodness guy. I‘m yet to meet someone as deserving of his current success as John. I met his parents during the research for the Rendezvous and I know where John got his virtues. On Rendezvous he has spoken both about professional and personal pressures. I can‘t think of a better candidate for my inaugural episode."

But it‘s the post-inaugural segment, to be telecast in the first week of February 2006, which really proves Simi‘s strengths as a mover and shaker.

She laughs. "I don‘t know about that. But I‘ve recorded the most exhausting Rendezvous ever. I‘ve got Zayed Khan to come with his wife for their first together interview. In the first segment you‘ll see Zayed with his parents Sanjay and Zarine Khan. The second segment features just Zayed and his three sisters. In the third segment I bring on the bride and the groom."

The episode was recorded on Tuesday evening and Star intends to project it as the season‘s USP on Star World.

Says Simi, "I‘m really happy that my Rendezvous is on Star World. First of all I can‘t conduct my interviews in Hindi. And then Star World has taken my show to every corner of the world."


The ever-forthright Ekta Kapoor has no qualms about admitting that she had a minor scuffle with Sony Entertainment, its head honcho Tarun Katial to be precise.
"I was rather annoyed with Tarun. They had left out my soap Kkusum from the invitation card of their party celebrating their successful soaps. Though Tarun said it was an oversight I thought it was a deliberate attempt to push our Kkusum hastily out of sight. Come on! Just because the soap was winding up, it didn‘t mean it shouldn‘t have got a decent send-off."

The minor fracas is now forgotten. And the workaholic TV tycoon is now working on her new show - a TV gossip magazine called Kandy Floss for Sony.

Giving the details of the format for the first time Ekta says, "We‘ve never really had a gossip-and-information show about TV on TV before. Also, Balaji Telefilms hasn‘t really done much non-fiction… though we did do the Sunita Menon Show on Zoom which was very successful. But yes Kandy Floss is a first for us. And we‘re excited."
Besides a regular female anchor, Kandy Floss will have an animated character called Kandy who‘ll take viewers through the party-gossip-info circuit on television. "It would be my tribute to Madame M, the fictional gossip writer whom I grew up with reading in the magazine Cine Blitz."

The anchor though is not confirmed. Isn‘t Archana Puransingh talking about anchoring the show? "We‘re in negotiations. But some nitty-gritty needs to be worked out," says Ekta.

Besides Kandy Floss on Sony, Ekta has two new fiction programmes coming up on Star One… Kya Hoga Nimmo Ka and Kasam Se. "We‘ve already started casting for Nimmo. Though it will have a new face in the central role, the supporting cast will comprise some very well- known veterans from stage and movies, never seen in my serials," promises Ekta.

Ekta is also thrilled with the remarkable recovery of ratings for Star‘s Kavyanjali. "From being written off - almost - to now being our fourth most popular soap on Star after Kyunkii Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki and Kasauti Zindagi Kay (just ahead of Kahiin To Hoga) we‘re very proud of Kavyanjali and the support that Star offered. Star‘s COO Samir Nair assured me he wouldn‘t close down the show, come what may. That gave me the courage to go on."

As for the revival of Hum Paanch on Zee, Ekta says it‘s still not certain how successful it would prove to be. "The first few weekends were overshadowed by other events on rival channels. But I had no choice. The channel told me either I bring Hum Paanch back, or they‘d do it themselves. How could I let someone else take over my show? I‘ve revived two of my shows Mano Ya No Mano and Koi Haadsa Koi Haqeeqat successfully. Why not Hum Paanch?"



The channel war is whacked out beyond redemption. On Monday night Star News did something about the two Khans - Salman and Saif - being jointly in trouble with the law. They cooked up a hilarious plot that showed visuals from the two Khans‘ movies.

I wanted to tell them to relax… let the stars be. There‘s more to life than voyeurism into glamorous lives.

Prabhu Chawla tried to get the better of Akshay Kumar on Seedhi Baat. The anchor tried to poke fun at the actor‘s angrezi. To this Akshay retorted, "I think I manage as well as you."

Oops, and ouch to that. Most stars don‘t really hit back when they‘re made into spectacular scapegoats. I enjoyed watching Shahid Kapoor on Nach Baliye and the next day on Zee‘s Sa Re Ga Ma. His comments on the contestants were gracious and apt. He was quite a contrast to Tanisha Mukherjee who ‘graced‘ Sony‘s Indian Idol. Her comments on the contestants careened towards the corny.

On Nach Baliye there‘s many a slip between the cup and the leap. Varun Badola just blanked out while doing his steps. Poor guy! He had worked so hard on coming up right to tip of the top. So what happened? No one knows. What we do know is that life often doles out a raw deal to those who work hard for the big prize.

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