The screeching heights

Meanwhile,DD National exhumes an old show for prime time.

Written by Shailaja Bajpai | Published: December 5, 2013 1:41 am

Meanwhile,DD National exhumes an old show for prime time.

Watching Koffee with Karan (Star World) on Sunday,brought a line from a Madonna song to mind: “Like a virgin/ Touched for the very first time”. Except that,in this instance,the virgin was still untouched,apparently. To the absolute amazement of host Karan Johar and of those viewers who had tuned into his talk show,actor Salman Khan claimed with a deadpan expression,in a bland voice,that he was still a virgin.

Very early into Season 4’s opening episode,Khan’s first on the show,Johar asked him outright: “You’re a virgin?” “Yes,” replied Salman Khan,without blinking or blushing. Well,well,well. Who would have thought it,nay,who would have imagined it? None of us who have watched him on screen or read about his (in)famous love life. Johar’s incredulity at the admission forced Salman to explain that he had,of course,held hands (even with men) and exchanged other forms and terms of endearment with women,but he had never-ever ever gone all the way. Well,well,well,whaddya know?

Salman went on to regale us with anecdotes of his amorous entanglements and how close he had come to marriage — very,very close — but never close enough to clinch it. And from everything he revealed,it seemed as if the women were the ones to have backed off. No wonder,“I ignore some completely” now. So well he might. Wouldn’t you,if you were a 47-year-old super sex symbol still untouched?

Everything that passed between Karan and Salman thereafter,barely registered. Not that he was a “below average actor”,not the presence of his father,Salim Khan,not even his account of the “war” with Shah Rukh Khan: “One night we didn’t get along.” No,nothing compared with that moment when the Bigg Boss ka boss said “Yes” and no to sex.

The Big B,meanwhile,was in a far more positive mood as he signed off another season of Kaun Banega Crorepati (Sony). So was Fathima Firoze. She won Rs 1 crore in the last episode on Sunday,much to Amitabh Bachchan’s delight. And ours. You can’t help but wonder at the nature of the questions,however: they seem to be tailored to fit the background,interests of the individual contestant — at least the first five-six questions. Hmmmn.

It is a sad admission that news TV is almost virginal after Saturday’s arrest of the former editor-in-chief of Tehelka,Tarun Tejpal,for alleged rape. Maybe that’s why anchors like Rahul Kanwal (Headlines Today) and Arnab Goswami (Times Now) were raising their pitch even higher. On Tuesday night,Kanwal shrieked at his panellists who responded in kind,while discussing a sting on buying ballots with booze by politicians in Delhi.

Then,at 10 pm,discussing the proposed communal violence bill,Goswami scaled new heights,screeching at Congressman Sanjay Jha who screeched right back. “We are not some kind of gladiators,” claimed Goswami. You could have fooled us. Shiv Sena’s Rahul Narvekar joined the hullabaloo in the studio until Goswami ordered (yes,ordered) them to be quiet. Meenakshi Lekhi,BJP,suffering from a sore throat,could not shout. Instead,she delivered a measured “dystopian” argument which was lost on Goswami (perhaps because it was pitched too low?): “What is the relevance to the debate?” he demanded. She then raised her voice and mayhem followed. Isn’t that just typical of TV news?

What do you say about Doordarshan National for telecasting an old show,a good old show,Shrikant at 9pm? And Byomkesh Bakshi before that? At the very least,remake the shows. Repeats are acceptable,all channels repeat themselves. However,no self-respecting channel does it at prime time. This is bankruptcy. Having said that,watch Shrikant to appreciate the superior quality of shows produced in the late 1980s — as compared with today. There’s a sensitivity there which compensates for the poorer production values. And some excellent acting — in fact,one reason to watch the rerun of Shrikant is to see a young Irrfan. So DD,please keep the old shows coming,just

not at prime time.

shailaja.bajpai@expressindia.com

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