By Kanika Rajani
The episodes of talk shows featuring celebrities are often dissected once they have been aired, so it was not surprising when Rhea Kapoor, Cyrus Sahukar and Karan Boolani collectively engineered The Bench which is a spoof on how celebrities conduct themselves during interviews.
The trio have collectively founded Humble Pie, a production house a year and a half ago. One of its ventures is The Bench. “It was primarily about wanting to create a company that makes things which you want to make without the pressures of success. On the sets of the film Aisha, Karan, Rhea and I would just chat and we decided to start making content that we like to see or have fun making,” said Sahukar who, apart from anchoring the show, is also its creative director.
Humble Pie already has 10 concepts in mind and has even begun shooting one of them. The company sees the merit in investing in the digital space which, according to them, is rapidly growing. “India is among the top three internet users in the world and still a very small percentage of the population uses the internet. I just did a show where Google spent lots of money trying to educate ladies in rural areas so that they could access the internet,” added Sahukar who perceives the internet boom as a boon and calls the internet a collective brain. “Today, the world’s largest country is the internet and we’re all a part of it,” he stated.
Conceptualised by Cyrus Sahukar, produced by Rhea Kapoor and directed by Karan Boolani, this one of a kind talk show that encourages celebrities to be themselves; whether its cussing, making honest confessions or not being diplomatic, the makers of this show believe icons today take themselves far too seriously. “I don’t think we take enough risks and have fun you know; real great tragic, amazing dark comedy and this is my humble trial of it,” said Kapoor as she explained what led to the birth of the show. She also feels restricted about what one can depict as content on the small screen and celluloid are largely censored.
Speaking of censorship, one of their initial episodes with Farah Khan as their guest has left no stone unturned and may definitely appall you for its candour. The show features Khan behaving like a vain guest who insists on being shot from the right angle, answering calls and indulging in baby talk as she talks to her children. Sahukar mentions how he was very disillusioned after he did not bag Zayed’s part in Khan’s Main Hoon Na, also hilarious is his dislike for children which he admits to Farah while filming the episode. But alas! A lot of it is fictional in this show which calls itself a mockumentary. “If you look at the way we shot it, it feels like it was actually happening,” points out Sahukar.
An episode from The Bench will be uploaded online every ten days and the makers don’t plan to merely limit themselves to celebrities from tinsel town, but also want to interview Obama among others.
From the way it seems The Bench like All India Bakchod’s spoof on Alia Bhatt will find its fan following. The former was also a rage on social media platforms and was a result of her goof- up on Koffee With Karan when she got the name of the President of India wrong! The video even featured her attending coaching classes to increase her intelligent quotient. Looks like Humble Pie is moving in the right direction by realising the average Indian user’s weakness and in a bid to create content that is less censored, rib-tickling and unique they have adopted this quirky format which is a take on the charade we are witness to in most mainstream talk shows featuring celebrities.