Spare us the telly drama!

Reality bites. But these days it sells. If your career is stuck, it’s time to choose a buzz worthy TV show and problem solved. Don’t have a career? Still waiting for that big break? Television can help there too. Appear on a TV show, go over the top with whatever it is that you do, watch your face sprawled over the papers and the world will fall at your feet.

You might not want to believe it. So let’s take a look at a few celebs who are back on the map thanks to their stints with Television.

Kashmira shah: probably her hot item numbers in movies like Jungle, Aankhen etc. made her a recognizable face but only for a short while. Her antics on Big Boss got her all that was missing from her life. . A media cat fight with a co-contestant, a loser boy friend who’s also a nephew of a big star and a million other shows to give her the much needed screen time. What more could this girl ask for?

Shakti Kapoor: Everyone had forgotten this golden hair bad boy until India TV exposed him in a shocking expose about the casting couch. One would think he’d be embarrassed, but our man was the topic of all discussions in the country. It didn’t stop there, the dude received quite a few film offers after this.

Rahul Mahajan: His father was murdered, he was caught in a drug scandal, a rushed wedding and a publicised divorce after a difficult marriage. He’s had all the attention for the wrong reasons. And he’s seeking more of it. He signed on to the show with item girl/actress Payal Rohatgi, now is wooing Monica Bedi! Everybody in the house is talking about his late night escapades into the girls’ room. He is making news and how? Frankly, I don’t care and I don’t give a damn. The first season was a good one but the second season of BIG Boss fails to make a big impression despite this notorious boy!

Amitabh Bachchan: Game shows were restricted to Antakshari and Sa Re Ga Ma Pa when Amitabh asked the question that rocked the nation and his failing career. Neck deep in debt, with bummers like Mrityudaata and Lal Badshah, Kaun Banega Crorepati brought a drastic change the Big B’s career. People adored his classy Hindi, they longed for his goodnights and then Mr. Bachchan found his way into every possible advertisement on the television. The second season didn’t make a big splash but Big B got the necessary push from the first season itself.

I can name many a names who piggy backed on television but Mr. Bachchan is the only success story. Everyone else has successfully made a fool out of themselves and have created an icon keeping the small picture in mind. And other wannabes follow suit. They are ready to beg, plead or die to be on these shows because of the hyped figures it’s created in the past. Some even choose to break up in front of the electronic media just to have 2 minutes on prime time. Some will pay the media to include them in an expose… But how long will we find their antics amusing? How long will the media hound them? What when the media and we forget them? Another show? Another scandal? Another spectacle?

Please spare me!

SATC movie- my take

A newly acquired LAN connection which enabled me to be online 24/7, a restless mind that refused to wait until the popular American television shows came to Indian television and the newly acquired DVD writer introduced me to the world of Carrie Bradshaw and her friends. Day after day, I soaked in the hip New York culture, the high end luxury brands, the love affairs and Carrie’s wisdom and insight into the world of relationships. Before I knew it, Carrie had broken up with Big, hooked up with Aidan, broken up with Aidan and hooked back up with Big and broken up yet again and blah blah. And there she was, on a bridge over the Seine kissing Big as he finally confessed his love for her!

I couldn’t get enough of the show, and there it was- the finale! Somehow, I had come to develop a deep connection with Miranda, Charlotte, Samantha and Carrie (yeah! I hear you men chuckling…)

So when the talk about the new SATC movie reached me, I was super excited. And there I was Saturday night, dressed in capris and a sweatshirt but wearing my brown wedges despite the torrential Mumbai monsoon on my way to watch the movie version of one of my favourite TV shows (a close second to Friends)

And yes, I was mesmerised. The movie was much more dramatic and very animated (Try counting Charlotte’s shrieks and you’ll know what I’m talking about) but, it lacked that connection.

Something was missing. And I know for a fact that if I were to buy the DVD, I won’t be watching it over and over again like I do with the series. Another fact is that in these three years I, like the many other SATC fans, have grown up. We’ve changed. We can’t relate to Carrie and her friends the way we did once. Without that connection it’s just another story that ties all the loose ends, and gives each character their happy ending.

I remember how one of my friends had judged me for liking the show (inviting a furious argument and a silent period of 3 days for him!) He was surprised that I like the show and said that he didn’t expect me to be so shallow. I couldn’t believe he was that shallow.

After the movie, I could understand where he came from. He had no emotional connect with the series. Without that emotional connect, the series is just a memoir of a socialite. The success of the series was in its ability to develop a unique relationship with every viewer, beyond the boundaries. Its intelligent humour, realistic romantic situations and many other things made every girl or woman ask herself questions she had never asked. I doubt if the movie can do that. After all, when Carrie apologises to Mr. Big for putting him through the ordeal of a ‘Big’ wedding, you start seeing a sacrificing Indian woman in her. Something she taught me once, I didn’t need to be to be happy…

Idol Worship

Getting to work on a Tuesday is a nightmare. Not because the Monday morning blues hit me a day late, but because it’s the day to pray to Lord Ganesha. I have to usually pass through an area that is home to one of the most revered (also read: glamorous) Ganesha Temple in Mumbai- Siddhivinayak Temple.

The queue to catch a glimpse of Ganesha spills out on the road, causing a terrible traffic jam. Add to that the flower-sellers, policemen, hawkers. But on a day when the superstar family- The Big B (Amitabh Bachchan), Small B (ABhishek) and Bahurani (Aishwarya Rai), decide to drop in on foot- the chaos goes to a super higher level. I do wonder, how many of them come to see Ganesha and how many to see the Bachchans?

Faith drives people to do crazy things. They give up an entire day to wait for hours for darshan, which literally means- a glimpse!

Yesterday, there was another line around the curb. The queue poured onto a playground and was much longer than the usual one. The queue was made up of young boys mostly, dressed trendily as opposed to traditionally. This line looked pretty different. I assumed they were waiting for the superstar. But he had come and gone. A big billboard read- Indian Idol 4, the Mumbai auditions. The audition was happening in a thater complex right next to the temple. These people were waiting for their chance to be an Idol and not just a glimpse of an idol.

I thought faith makes us do crazy things, but fame beats faith hands down. People quit jobs, colleges and even get loans to just get that one chance to be famous… With fame come glitz, glamour and money. And those three have a fan-base that’s stronger than that of faith.

People have a lot of faith in fame. With that faith in fame, a Maria decides to cheat on her boyfriend to hopes to land a dream role. With that faith in fame, the media splashes her face across television. The same faith in fame drives thousands of people to frustration every day, sometimes pushing them to extremes. A producer kills an actor, a young boy robs a shop, girls agree to compromise on their morals and the list goes on.

Trauma continues

 I thought that writing about the two high profile murders in the country might make me feel a bit better about life. The venting helped for sure, but the papers are still talking about these cases and I am feeling worse.

Let’s take the Neeraj Grover case, today. The cops have done a sterling job in figuring out the details and putting together the evidence by figuring out where Neeraj’s remains were disposed off, finding the weapon and making a case against Jerome and Maria. They are worried, though, that by the time the case reaches the courts, the accused might get off because there are little or few witnesses and circumstantial evidence isn’t strong enough. In fact, Maria, the accused might soon get out on bail and producer might line up to sign her on for a plum role in one of the prime-time soaps. The reason? Controversy sells!

So selling your stuff is so important that we will forget the fact that this person was involved in a gruesome murder. Important enough to forget the fact that after cold-bloodedly murdering a person, she went and lied through her teeth to the police. Important enough to forget that this girl romanced Neeraj just to get her big break in tinsel town despite the fact that she was committed to another man.

Today’s newspaper reports that ‘Maria Maria’ were Neeraj’s last words. Some people think that it’s very filmy. I say, isn’t the whole thing straight out of some kind of a freak thriller?

Everybody knows the unknown starlet’s face now and the newspapers even predict her to be the next big thing on Indian telly. She hasn’t lost much. All she did was stand in the shadows as her boyfriend stabbed her lover to death, lie to the police, claim that she was sexually harassed by Grover and sexually abused at Knife point by Jerome.

I would be seriously worried if she bags that plum role. What signal would it send out? Don’t struggle, don’t take the harder way up, instead commit crimes that the media can play up and land that plum assignment?

Seriously, what is happening to all of us? Has success become so important that we forget basic human values? Is success so important that we choose it over and above human life? Apparently it is!

 

Just an observation: The reports of both the cases-Talwar murder and the Grover murder have moved from the front page of the newspaper to some obscure pages. Soon, the reports will get smaller and we will forget all about this. What happened to Adnan’s killers? Why isn’t the media reporting anything about it? Probably the case doesn’t ‘sell’!