Reely large

From Narendra Modi’s elevation to the return of ‘Mahabharat’,it was a maha big week on TV.

Written by Shailaja Bajpai | Published:September 19, 2013 12:27 am

From Narendra Modi’s elevation to the return of ‘Mahabharat’,it was a maha big week on TV.

The last week has been a maha week. And it got even bigger on TV. First,there was the rarest of rare maha-verdicts in last year’s December 16 gangrape case followed by maha-long TV discussions — for three consecutive evenings — on whether the death penalty is a deterrent or not. And surprise,surprise,the criminal justice system got a maha-strong pat on the back by none less a critic than Kiran Bedi — why,even Dilli police were jolly good fellas.

Meanwhile,that mahaan guru,Asaram Bapu,found himself paraded on Hindi news channels like any other ordinary person accused of sexual misdemeanour. Maha sad,for him,of course,and those who believe him to be innocent.

Even as these developments were trending on news channels,they played out in the shadow of a maha-big event. But before we got to it,we had to endure extensive coverage of the BJP’s maha-big headache: L.K. Advani. Now he was in a maha-bad mood,the media said,over projecting Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate and lording it over the party before the forthcoming assembly elections. This gave the BJP said maha-big headache. No such migraine for TV news,which gleefully spent several hours each day speculating on the breach within the BJP.

Well,the party gave Advani a maha-big ignore and went ahead with the coronation. Now that was maha disappointing. After almost nine months of ceaseless speculation on when Gujarat’s chief minister would be elevated to this prime position,the party put up a poor media spectacle. On Friday evening,the tallest men of the BJP,barring Advani,accompanied by the diminutive Sushma Swaraj,gathered around a makeshift table and BJP president Rajnath Singh announced Modi as the party’s mahapurush,the man who would be their prime minister. Modi thanked everyone. And that was that.

The news channels had an equally bad showing. After the announcement of Modi’s elevation,news channels featured familiar BJP and Congress stalwarts on NaMo versus RaGa which was maha irritating because we’ve been listening to the same tired arguments since December last year. Instead,we should have seen in-depth profiles of the man who would be king,to satisfy everyone’s curiosity about him.

The weekend brought us live coverage of Modi’s speech at Rewari,and on Maha Monday (as Colors called it),we watched panelists dissect its meaning. Shiv Visvanathan on CNN-IBN said it had been a maha-impressive performance,and coming from someone who is not his greatest admirer,that is a maha-big compliment.

Kaun Banega Crorepati (Sony) was barely six episodes into a seventh season when its first maha-big winner leapt out of his chair with Rs 1 crore. Three cheers for Taj Mohammed Rangrez. The quiz show has had a maha makeover,with gleaming new sets,more lifelines,more money (a Rs 7 crore jackpot) and a new fastest finger format but one aspect of the quiz contest remains unchanged: the evergreen Amitabh Bachchan is as smooth and suave as ever.

Bigg Boss (Colors) is so humongously large,and the first episode of this season so long in order to accommodate host Salman Khan’s vast repertoire of jokes and fancy footsteps,that we don’t need to waste any more adjectives on it. This time,just to give the reality show some variety,half the contestants are slumming it while the other half sleep in beds fit for a monarch (that’s why they’re called king-size and queen-size,silly). Other than teaching some star contestants how to get a good night’s sleep on a mattress on the floor,not sure what this divide is supposed to achieve. Has it some hidden meaning about the aam aadmi versus the modern day maharajas and maharanis?

Bharat ka Veer Putra Maharana Pratap (Sony) is on the verge of being declared the next maharana,a la Modi. The serial is painfully slow — almost four months after its premiere it has got only this far. It lives off the rivalry between the ruling maharaja’s wives and the consequent palace intrigues: relieve them of period costumes and the burden of history,and you’d have a regular soap on your hands.

And just to round this off perfectly,Mahabharat is back (Star Plus). All new with a great look to it. Told you it was a maha-big week.

shailaja.bajpai@expressindia.com

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