it's been an eventful year if you have been faithfully stuck
couch lapping up everything offered on the tube.
much happened on the telly, and yet, so little was achieved.
There was an average of a new soap every fortnight, an average
of a talent hunt every month, and enough of cricket and cinema
buzz to get those sticky eyeballs. But if cinema left a Chak
De India or a Taare Zameen Par for audiences to
ruminate on, TV this year left no equivalent imprint.
many shows experimented, preferring the formula to being the
the fray. So, Star One's Laughter Challenge spawned a sequel
channels floated their me-too shows. Gajendra Singh carried
talent format to Star Plus, and had to compete with his own
Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenges on Zee for the ratings. Indian
Idol had a tired season three,
and Zee's extended family of Betiyaan and Bahuraniyan,
'different' beginning, dissolved into modified versions of
popular soaps elswhere. If anyone, it was Shah Rukh Khan who
emerged as the surprise winner of the lot. No one expected
Khan to be a patch on the Big B when it came to hosting Kaun
Banega Crorepati, but Khan emerged with a style and spontaneity
of his own that became endearing as the show progressed through
the weeks. When the season ended, one was almost sorry to
see him off.
not everyone stuck to the formula. Smriti Iraani, the actor,
producer with Thodi Si Zameen Thoda Sa Aasman and later
Virrudh. Interestingly, although neither show was meant
to be a TRP hogger, both had a hard hitting plot, strong performances
and made a subtle statement on society. Anurag Basu's Love
Story and Four, both on Sab, too were intended
similarly, but somehow missed the mark. Unfortunately, all
the experimentation seemed to miss the comedy genre entirely,
with Star One finally relying on last year's Sarabhai vs
Sarabhai to bring on the smiles at primetime.
the laughter was restricted to stand-up gags offered by Raju
Shrivastav (who must have been TV's top grosser this year)
and others of his ilk who appeared with alarming regularity
on mainstream channels as well as news channels. Sab's desperate
effort to bring on the laughter each night failed for the
umpteenth time, but it keeps trying. News channels, meanwhile,
found this year that the best bet to fill up programming is
to run repeats of talent hunts and behind-the-scenes goings-on
at these shows. Under the garb of 'entertainment news,' hours
of Hindi news channels continued to be chock full of idols,
voices of India and the chhote ustaads all through
as long running soaps continued to run - Saarthi, Kumkum,
Kahaani...are examples - a milestone of sorts was reached
when the 'bahu' of Indian TV (Smriti Iraani for the uninitiated)
crossed over into enemy territory as Vrinda on Zee's Teen
Bahuraniyan. Not just that, she came armed with a tulsi
plant and a similar agenda - of saving the daughters of
the family and salvaging the family's reputation. Ekta's long
shadow on television programming refuses to fade.
the year clearly belonged to the genre of the music talent
hunt. If you
had half a voice and wanted to be discovered, TV was waiting
Whether you knew the lyrics (Bol Baby Bol), were a
kid that could sing (Lil
Champs, Chhote Ustaad) or were an amateur singer
(Indian Idol, Voice of India, Bathroom Singer...)
TV was waiting with auditions in remote towns to find you.
Of course, even if you were a wellknown composer or playback
singer, or even a TV actor with pretensions to singing, but
had never had your share of the limelight, you stood an excellent
chance of turning into a mini celeb yourself. Ask Vishal -
Shekhar, Abhijeet, Ismail Durbar, Alisha, Shiamak Davar and
the rest who never had it so good as this year.
if anything marred the happiness of the couch potato, it was
the unending film promotions that invaded everything on TV
- the talent hunts, the soaps and the news and music channels.
The marketing of Om Shanti Om and Saawariya
on TV reached a screeching crescendo in November, till
viewers' ears ached from listening to 'Dard e Disco' and watching
Ranbir Kapoor drop his towel for the umpteenth time.
irritating was the omnipresence of judge/mentors like Javed
Akhtar and Mahesh Bhatt, who judged shows, voiced their opinions
on every subject and were probably present at every award
show that was aired on TV.
couch potato's vote of the year goes to Rakhi Sawant,
established herself as the queen bee of Indian TV, by hook
or by crook. With her antics, her tears and tantrums and her
comments, the 'item girl' showed us that it was easy to get
into primetime, if you knew how to tease the camera and tempt
the channels. Lage raho, Rakhi!