Coffee Shocks

Coffee Shocks

I’ve never been a big fan of Karan Johar,the filmmaker. With the exception of Kal Ho Na Ho,I find all his movies unwatchable.

Do Indian stars take themselves too seriously?

I recently installed Tata Sky Plus on my TV. (For the uninitiated,this miraculous device allows you to record your favourite programmes to view at leisure,and you can forward the ads.

Or the parts you’d rather skip.) It’s the best Rs 5,000 I’ve spent in a long time. The motivation was to not miss a single episode of Koffee with Karan,(the reruns of the third season have already begun).

I’ve never been a big fan of Karan Johar,the filmmaker. With the exception of Kal Ho Na Ho,I find all his movies unwatchable. But as a host,while quizzing people too focussed on themselves and who tend to exhibit an annoying smugness,there’s nobody in the Indian TV entertainment space who does it better. K Jo is articulate and witty,naturally self-deprecating and,by happily admitting that he plugs his best friend Shah Rukh Khan,he takes the sting out of any critic writing about his show.


For anyone who dismisses Johar’s show of giggling airheads as vacuous and brainless (which it undoubtedly can be only because of the guests,not him),should consider the massive impact it has within the film fraternity. Old relationships become fraught with tension if caught out on his infamous lie-o-meter. Not getting invited is the ultimate insult,an indication of your value (or lack of) in the film industry. Currently,younger actresses are apparently fighting to be on his show with Madhuri Dixit. It appears Sonakshi Sinha of Dabangg fame is the lucky one. That Johar is a heavyweight,goes without saying (he’s listed at number 81 in The Indian Express Power list of 2011). I’ve often wondered why his movies don’t turn out as cool as he is.

A news magazine recently carried a piece rueing the lack of tameez and tehzeeb (manners and culture) in the industry,quoting Johar’s show as an example of the lack of etiquette and decorum in Bollywood today. This is entirely a matter of perspective. (Note: I don’t see anything decorous about that piece,written as it is by the consulting film editor/critic of a leading channel,who’s husband also happens to be a top director.) One of the many provocations for the piece was Deepika Padukone’s comment to K Jo that Ranbir Kapoor should endorse condoms. This is evidently reason for umbrage. (I would be surprised if junior Kapoor isn’t actually a wee bit flattered.)

In India,even the most successful among us lack the ability to take a joke on ourselves and trivial,pedestrian comments like this become news. In the US,Jay Leno and David Letterman built successful careers out of peddling Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky jokes on primetime. Padukone’s comment is so lame and utterly unremarkable in comparison. K Jo is deliberately naughty and provocative,and thank god for that. There are enough news channels gushing over and shamelessly promoting actors and their movies to fill air time. In its own way,Koffee… can be insightful as well. Hrithik Roshan may be a brilliant actor but he seems very boring. Lara Dutta talks too much. Ajay Devgn is quietly interesting. Poor Sonam Kapoor must be taking acting lessons since she figures at the bottom of everyone’s list as far as talent goes. May the reality check continue. (