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Report on Shemaroo

Idol minders can be so cruel

Killing with cruelty… That‘s what I thought when I saw my three favourite Indian Idol judges - Sonu Nigam, Farah Khan and Anu Malik - return this week with a second innings of Sony‘s watchable music contest.


First the good news: the trio of judges looks better than before. Sonu‘s new haircut suits him far better than the long-haired look during the last run of Indian Idol. And somehow, Farah looks more glamorous than before.


But must they be so unkind to the contestants. Admitted that some of them are downright pathetic. But so what? Lack of caliber isn‘t a crime. I cringed when a contestant‘s mother came before the judges to plead her son‘s case. I cringed when Anu Malik told a wannabe singer, "Who‘s your guru? Tell him to take a long holiday."


And I virtually collapsed in embarrassment when Farah gave a contestant a banana to show how bad he was.


Gosh, can‘t these judges keep their kela instincts in check???


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These reality shows are becoming much too dramatic for comfort. Star One has a winner in Nach Baliye… I agree. But every couple‘s ouster is an occasion for a soap opera. This week Apoorva Agnihotri and his wife had to bow out. All the other dancing couple‘s clutched their hearts, bosoms, bellies and whatever they could get their hands on to show their solidarity and sadness.


Judge Farhan Akhtar even gave the departing couple a standing ovation. He‘s quite an actor. Earlier during the week he was all tied up. And I don‘t mean his workload. We saw one of the couples actually tie up Farhan Akhtar and bribe him with a pizza.


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If all goes as per plan, India‘s favourite game show Kaun Banega Crorepati will become a seasonal regular on your television.


Seeing the stunning popularity of KBC‘s sequel Star is seriously contemplating making KBC an annual event.


Explaining the modus operandi, Star India COO Samir Nair says, "We plan to bring back KBC every year for a specific number of episodes from October to January. KBC Twitiya might be on air next year. And yes , Mr Bachchan will remain the host. What would the show be without him?"


The channel has already sounded out the mega-star. In spite of his choc-a-block schedule, AB is game!


Reasons Samir, "It wouldn‘t take up that much of his time. We‘d require him for only 50-60 episodes. The second innings of KBC might have surprised the doomsdayers… Not me. I always knew KBC had the potential to be a renewable attraction on our channel. Now that it‘s proved to be a hit the second time, it makes sense to make it a regular on Star."


According Nair, there will be no change in the KBC format, "Unless the original producers decide to make alterations. Those we shall of course incorporate. Otherwise why touch the untouchable?"


One of the future plans for KBC is to have series specials. "For example during one season we can have a senior citizens‘ series where money would go to a section of people who really need it," divulges Nair.


In the meanwhile, this season of KBC would end with the beginning of Ravi Chopra‘s mega-serial Viraasat. "It‘s a TV multi-starrer. But contrary to rumours it‘s not based on the Mahabharat. It goes on air after April 2006," says Nair.


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Ekta Kapoor‘s USP on Sony Kkusum went off the air to be replaced by Indian Idol 2 and Sony‘s prized new game show Deal Ya No Deal.


Says Sony Entertainment Television India Business Head Tarun Katial, "I think this is the right time to stop Kkusum. It has had its run." Admits Katial, "Five years is a long time for a soap. No point in letting it drag on. We‘re putting Indian Idol twice a week on Monday and Tuesday from 21 November and Deal Ya No Deal thrice a week from 23 November in place of Kkusum."


So is that the end of Sony‘s long honeymoon with Ekta Kapoor‘s Balajee Telefilms?


"Ha, not quite. Ekta and I have been laughing about our so-called fall-out. In fact Balaji is producing another show for Sony which will go on air at the end of the year."


The new Ekta extravaganza for Sony will be a first for both the parties. "It isn‘t a soap but a magazine on TV on gossip and behind-the-scenes happenings of the television industry, called Candy Floss," divulges Katial. "See, there are so many film magazine shows telling us about Bollywood and who‘s doing what to whom. But nothing on the TV industry. The home medium and its products are no longer a poor cousin of the movies. People genuinely want to know what Iqbal Khan or Jassi is doing when not shooting."


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While Candy Floss will be on at the end of 2005, Sony is currently all geared up for its Big 2. "In Deal Ya No Deal, the stakes are really high. No other game show has taken the player right from 25 paise to 1 crore rupees. We want to take the game show in the country to new heights," says Katial.


The show‘s anchor Madhavan is currently busy shooting. "I feel like I did at the beginning of my career. I am shitting bricks, man!‘ says Maddy.


About Indian Idol 2, Tarun is even more gung-ho. "This time we‘re taking Idol to India‘s heartland. The singers will come from every nook and corner. The response at the rehearsals has been overwhelming.

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