So we’re not going to see Fawad Khan or moon-swoon over him. Not on television leastways; if the MNS in Mumbai has its way, perhaps not even on the big screen either. A shame, really: He’s good on the eye and the TV serials we’ve have seen him in were even better. However, after the Uri attack, anyone or anything Pakistani, it seems, is to be avoided.
Zindagi, the Subhash Chandra Goel channel which hosted Fawad and highly watchable Pakistani TV serials, has shown our neighbours the door: It will no longer — for now — telecast anything from across the LoC, as a patriotic protest over Uri. This decision will disappoint Indian viewers, many of whom cannot eat dinner if it’s not accompanied by a few morsels of Zindagi Gulzar Hai and its ilk.
And the reason why they sup with Pakistani serials is that the shows strike a chord: They are urban, contemporary, emotional family and marital dramas told realistically with good acting and, perhaps more pertinently, without the band-baaja-baraat treatment of Hindi serials where every tear flows like the Brahmaputra in spate.
Instead of Fawad & Co, Zindagi has a new line-up of Hindi shows from next Monday and if they are anything like the excellent Aadhe Adhure telecast previously on the channel, we may miss the Pakistani serials but we may not mourn their absence. Let’s see.
Meanwhile, Priyanka Chopra is creating waves across the oceans as the lead character in the American series Quantico (Star Premiere HD).
Season 2 of the American thriller has begun and as Alexandra Parrish (don’t you just love the name they’ve given her — couldn’t be less Indian than that?), an on-and-off rogue FBI recruit, Chopra now finds herself in the CIA along with her paramour Ryan. As we time-travel between “one year ago” and “one year later”, we catch Alex undergo fantastical training challenges (which she obviously meets after a few beads of perspiration) and try to save good men and women from the bad and the baddest — in this case, the US President, his wife and other world leaders, from terrorists.
With the support of a fine ensemble cast, Chopra acquits herself adequately, although her running and fighting skills don’t become a trained FBI and CIA operative. But let’s not cavil: She has gone where no other Indian actor has, literally, and dared to be seen in her underwear. Salute her.
Chopra is not the only Indian actress going places. Kalki Koechlin and her father Joel climbed onto Royal Enfield motorcycles (yes, we’re shown the brand several times in the first episode) and vroomed across the north-east in the new travel series, Kalki’s Great Escape (Fox Life). More than the drive, the first episode was interesting for the fluctuating dynamics between the two — Joel’s impatient, wanting to be on the move, she’s more watchful, laidback. It’s not riveting stuff but there’s something here that might develop nicely into a study of the “like father (un)like daughter” relationship.
The Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump relationship during the first US presidential debate was good television — at least when they were not debating (CNN). Trump would slide in his one line interjections, turn down his mouth, screw up his face; she’d just stare at him, at the camera, impassive, till there was a smile of all her teeth and that “Woo! Ok” shimmy when he spoke of his “winning temperament”. CNN’s favourite word for the evening? “Zinger”.
Lastly, Times Now and CNN News are squabbling in a most childish manner over which channel has the highest viewership: According to both of them, they both do and are running graphic campaigns to prove it for the last fortnight. Grow up, guys.