programming team at Zee is probably congratulating itself for trouncing the rival
Antakshari on Star One in the ratings game thus far, with its own version
made sans the guiding hand of Gajendrra Singh.
the refurbished Zee Antakshari made its entry a few weeks before the one
launched on Star One (produced by Gajendrra Singh, who recently defected from
Zee), the comparisions are becoming apparent now. Zee has gone the celeb way,
getting its soap stars to compete against each other, a sure fire way of ensuring
eyeballs in these times of consuming viewer interest in all kinds of tinsel stars.
One has shrewdly gone in for the classic Antakshari touch, and has four
strong teams from various regions of the country, all well versed in Hindi films
and music. Thus far, the ratings have favoured Zee, which has been synonymous
with the Antakshari brand for a decade. But what Zee does not have this
time round, is ace host Annu Kapoor. Cocky to the point of often being labelled
arrogant, Annu is nevertheless the soul that lifted the show above a mere song
n dance routine.
new host Sunil Pal may be an ace comedian, but as the host of a music show, he
has miles to go. The Sa Re Ga Ma finalist Himani is competent enough to
provide the tunes when the show needs it, but Pal's obvious lack of knowledge
in that direction strikes a discordant note. More
so, when the viewer has been used to years of Annu Kapoor breaking into song at
the least provocation and coming armed to the contest with formidable knowledge
of Hindi films, songs and their components. Although Annu, as always, overshadows
his female co host (this time, actor Juhi Parmar, spritely and willing to march
in step with Annu) he is brilliant when it comes to what he knows best. Both shows
have tried innovations this time, like allowing the competing teams to raise objections
to songs sung, which keeps the proceedings lively.
it is segments like Loose Control in the Star One show, where Annu fires impromptu
rapid fire questions based on the participant's last answer, that make you want
to applaud Annu's capabilities as much as the participant's knowledge of film
music. On the
other hand, Zee has been running an ad this week saying that the Kolkata auditions
for Antakshari have been postponed for unnamed reasons. Not very auspicious,
new soap on the shelf
the replacement to the late night Balaji saga Kahiin To Hoga, started this
week on Star Plus. Ekta Kapoor's new heroine Panchi Bora doesn't have much to
do in this Mills and Boon version, where she plays daddy's little girl and an
overgrown little boy's best friend. The inaugural episode spent the first 15 minutes
on a Ganesh procession, accompanied by raucous aartis in the background, just
to portray the scene of the little girl getting kidnapped. When will the channels'
obsession with deities and idol worship end?
Ek Sapna, on Sahara One, on the other hand, is following a more plausible
track.On the background of a forced marriage in Bihar, the story has now moved
to Mumbai with the boy's family refusing to accept the bride, who has been married
off by her domineering brothers. Harsh Chhaya as the understated brother of the
groom, and Alok Nath as the hapless father bring a note of believability to the
drama. This week, the grandmother of the family threatened to starve to death
unless the young bahu, packed off back to Bihar, is brought back, dividing the
family on the issue. Sadly, while the rest of the cast sparkles, the lead pair
is the one that doesn't pack as much of a punch. With their chocolate looks and
coy attitudes, the two seem to be producer director Ajai Sinha's only concession
to the changing values in TV soaps.
Gupta walked the talk with Shilpa Shetty on NDTV 24X7 this week, and looked distinctly
uncomfortable. Either he was out of depth since (by this own admission) he hadn't
seen any of the Big Brother episodes, or it was the experience of walking
with the lanky Shilpa through a public British garden, but Gupta did not seem
to have too many questions for the lady.
of the hour long dialogue revolved around 'so, when did you first realise that
is was racial harrassment?' and "and when did you realise you are the most
talked about Indian in Britain today?" Shetty, with her new found stature,
was all dignity and perfect humility as she spoke about how sad she felt about
Goody being targeted and effigies being burnt. But in the end, it would have made
more sense if someone more in sync with films and film stars had walked the talk
potato's thumbs down of the week - Star One is going to run a rehash of the
two Nach Baliye seasons, called Nach Baliye Seeti Maar Ke
this weekend, perhaps for those who didn't catch something similar on New Year's
Eve. Ever heard of viewer fatigue, folks?
views expressed here are those of the author and indiantelevision.com need not
necessarily subscribe to the same)