It was all over but for the shouting, which is what we have come to expect from evening news TV anyway. It was also time to ask questions: was it a “collapse” (Headlines Today)? And if it was, did it mean there had been some “reverse swing” (NDTV 24×7)? On a day when the first one-day international cricket match between England and India had rained out, such headlines appeared misleading: clearly, they were not talking cricket. They were talking bypolls and the BJP’s less than spectacular performance.
After a long time, representatives of political parties like the Congress and JD(U) had something to crow about. Pavan Varma of the JD(U), appeared Monday night on most English-language news channels with a smile on his face that stretched from Lalu’s lips to Nitish Kumar’s mouth as he exulted over the victory of the grand alliance (the JD(U), RJD, Congress) in Bihar. Sushil Modi (BJP) spoke through gritted teeth when he gave Rajat Sharma (India TV) a lengthy explanation of why the BJP did not fare better in Bihar: it’s 1-1 now, said he, and the game is far from over.
Also on Monday night, Aaj Tak was on the war path: “Khabardar Pakistan” it warned our neighbour after repeated cross-border firing. Meanwhile, Arnab Goswami came out all guns blazing (what else is new?) on the Indo-Pak border and woe to any intruder he may have encountered. He targeted J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah with more “nationalist” ammunition than did BJP President Amit Shah in Jammu. Increasingly, the Arnab show of aggression is becoming a mockery of itself. In the last few years when he came on at 9 pm firing all cylinders, especially at the UPA and Congress, there was some excuse for it, no matter how lame — why did he need to shout so even then? The situation in the country was grim on many fronts and the Congress-led UPA deserved all they got, even Goswami. But now, with a new government in the hotseat, Goswami needs to find a new act to deal with the changed political reality. Any suggestions, viewers?
Kashmir’s separatist leader, Yasin Malik was the hotseat guest at Aap Ki Adalat (India TV) this Sunday. When he met Pakistan’s high commissioner to India, the NDA government called off foreign secretary talks with Pakistan. Wonder what will happen to news channels who host Malik or his ilk? Why doesn’t the NDA boycott them?
Yo there, Honey Singh. You have watched him rap, now see him zap the audience in a new show to tap India’s Raw Star (Star Plus). Yo Yo is a one-man show on the latest in a string of talent programmes that want to discover new singers in the country. He is the sole judge — that’s different from Indian Idol, etc. Also, he doesn’t give marks — the viewers along with him will decide who goes through to the next round. The first episode on Sunday saw contestants from Ahmedabad (no longer surprising), Jaipur and Jeffrey Iqbal from the US. Your hostess for the evening is Guauhar Khan last seen on television in Bigg Boss. She is alone, unaccompanied or unfettered by those young male hosts who do everything they can to make talent competitions into a joke.
Honey Singh did well. He was relaxed and well-behaved — no risqué remarks or lyrics. He sang and danced along with the contestants and seemed to enjoy himself. Not sure, however, if a two-hour episode every Sunday won’t exhaust the show’s resources and the viewer’s patience.
Tulip Singh draws more attention to her good figure and better looks than her professional talents as a pilot. In the first episode of Airlines (Star Plus), on her maiden (ahem) flight, she lands a plane all by herself because her senior male colleague rather conveniently has a heart attack. She’s the hero of the hour, dealing with supercilious, unhelpful female stewards (a stereotype?) and a brusque male pilot, Akash, travelling on the flight, and no contact with the ATC. Well, it’s all very empowering for women but rather like a Harlequin romance too. Also, the inside of the aircraft, with yellow seats, looked like a bad set piece. Hope Airlines rises to greater heights in the weeks to come.