Face The (Extremely Bewildered) Nation!

Since the motto of Indian TV news media is to cover everything that may or may not be news, I wondered how Sagarika Ghose, the inimitable host of a livewire TV debate show, would cover the recent brouhaha between Raj Thackeray and Asha Bhosale. The wellknown singer is expected to be the judge on a TV reality music competition where Pakistani and Indian singers face off. In a country where even Biharis and North Easterners are considered less-citizens, imagine bringing in Pakistanis to sing with us! The nerve!

So, what happened on the show Face The Nation the other day? Here is the complete transcript.

Hold that thought!

Sagarika Ghose : Good evening! Why should Indian reality competition shows feature Pakistani artists? That is the burning question of the day – especially after MNP chief Raj Thackeray openly threatened noted Bollywood singer Asha Parekh of putting money over patriotism and agreeing to be a judge on one such music competition show. Today, we will beat this issue to death. Joining us from Mumbai is Mr. Raj Thackeray himself, and also joining us is Asha-ji who will defend her position. Welcome to you both!

Asha Bhosale : (slightly bewildered) Mera naam Chin Chin Choo….

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) Ok, I have just been told that Asha Parekh could not make it to the program, so we will have Asha Bhosale representing the position of the music industry, Bollywood, the producers of the reality TV show, UTV, in fact, practically the entire Indian media. Welcome to the show, Asha-ji!

Asha Bhosale : (slightly more bewildered) Naam gum jayega, chehra yeh badal…

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) I know, Asha-ji! Such a remarkable coincidence that both you and Asha Parekh share the same name! In fact, I would go ahead and say that to me, you both even look the same!

Raj Thackeray : (with raised finger, thundering) Jai Mahara…

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) Yes, good of you both to join us! So, like I said, we decided to bring the two warring parties on the same platform so they could thrash out this issue of why it is getting difficult to get Pakistani singers to perform in India. Mr. Thackeray, so what is your point of view?

Raj Thackeray : (with raised finger, thundering) My point of view is very clear. India is for Maharashtrians. Not Pakistanis. Jai Mahara….

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) Yes, yes, yes, you have made a very important point, Mr. Thackeray. Hold that thought, we will come back to you. Clearly, Mr. Thackeray meant that we are all patriots and after Kargil and 26/11, how can we even think of allowing Pakistanis to perform in our country! The Pakistanis respect Indians even less than we Indians respect ourselves, so what is the point of having them perform in our country? Yes, very strong point, Mr. Thackeray! So, Asha-ji, what is your defense on all of this?

Asha Bhosale : (even more bewildered) Parde mein rehne do, parda na uthao, parda jo uth gaya toh….

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) Yes, thank you, Asha-ji, for your perspective. I think you are trying to say that you are being unnecessarily dragged out into the open on this controversy – you would rather hide behind a curtain. Fair point! Mr. Thackeray, I will come back to you now. Why are you dragging this poor woman into this fight between Pakistan and India? In fact, as she is clearly questioning you in her unique style – why mix art and politics?

Raj Thackeray : (with raised finger, thundering) Who is she to defend Pakistanis? Is money bigger to her than Maharashtra? And why are these bloody Pakistanis coming to Mumbai to perform on our TV? Send them to Bihar! That’s where they belong. In fact, send all non-Maharashtrians in Mumbai to Bihar. They are all Biharis anyway, including Pakistanis! Jai Mahara….

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) So, I will take this exact question to Asha-ji! Asha-ji, like Mr. Thackeray is saying, you are the judge of this music competition. Tell us, did you really think that we don’t have enough mediocre talent in India, for example in places like Bihar etc., who could come and perform on your show? Why get people from Pakistan and then rig the show to have a winner from Mumbai when you could more easily get some poor suckers from Bihar?

Asha Bhosale : (more bewildered) Dum maro dum, mit jaye gham, bolo subha sham…

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) Alright, I see your point! You are saying, you pushed very hard to get talentless people from Bihar, in fact searched high and low for such people morning and night, and since that didn’t work out, you had to look towards Pakistan? I think that’s a very important point! In fact, Asha-ji, hold that thought. We are inviting another important person into this discussion. Joining us from Patna, Bihar, is the Chief Minister of that state, Mr. Nitish Kumar. Mr. Kumar, you have heard the entire exchange so far. Why do you think Asha-ji thinks there is no talent in your state? As you heard, she has made some very serious allegations against Bihar. What is your response?

Nitish Kumar : (confused) I…

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) In fact, hold that thought, hold that thought. We will come back to you after just a short break.


Face The Nation music fade out

Sachin Teldulkar sells Boost as the secret to his current cricket form.

Kareena Kapoor sells Boro Plus cream that prevents her feet from looking like that of a peahen.

Amitabh Bachchan sells Binani Cement as the magic glue that holds his broken body in place.

Face The Nation music fade in


Sagarika Ghose : Welcome back! Before we left for the break, we were asking Asha-ji why she and her sister, Lata-ji, decided to live in Mumbai even when they love Pakistan more than that city. In fact, before we even go back to her for a response, let’s bring on a proud Mumbaikar into our panel and get his opinion on this issue. Joining us straight from batting practice is the greatest cricketer of all time, Sachin Tendulkar. Welcome, Sachin! What do you feel about Asha-ji’s decision of loving Pakistan more than Mumbai?

Sachin Tendulkar : Thanks for having me, Sagarika. Like I always say, when the ball comes on to the bat…

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) : I think you have made an incredible point! Let me quickly get Asha-ji’s reaction to your accusation.

Nitish Kumar : (interrupting) Sagarika…

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) Hang on, Mr. Kumar, I will come back to you for your thoughts. Yes, Asha-ji, tell us why do you hate Indians so much, especially Maharashtrians?

Asha Bhosale : (much bewildered) Jaiye aap kahan jayenge, yeh nazar…

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) I see, I see, good point, Asha-ji. So, what do you have to say about that Mr. Kumar?

Nitish Kumar : (extremely confused) What? What do I have to say about what? I am so confused that…

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) You are very right, Mr. Kumar. It is clearly confusing, in fact, shocking to all of us that Biharis are not allowed to come and go to Mumbai as they please. In fact, we have similar questions about people from the North East as well. Where are they to go if they want to see Shah Rukh Khan or Salman Khan? So, let’s give an alternative scenario to Mr. Thackeray. Mr. Thackeray, coming back to you, what if Asha-ji decided to not have Pakistanis on her program? What if the program featured North Easterners in competition with Maharashtrian singers? Wouldn’t that be acceptable to you?

Nitish Kumar : (flustered and angry) Sagarika…

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) Hold on, Mr. Kumar. I promise I will get your point of view in just a minute. Yes, Mr. Thackeray, go on.

Raj Thackeray : (with raised finger, thundering) Let me first say Jai Maharashtra because you have not once allowed me to complete that sentence. Now, coming to your question…

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) Let me stop you right there, Mr. Thackeray. Are you saying that if the other contestants in the show were to state their allegiance to Maharashtra, you will be fine with that? No matter whether they come from Pakistan or Bihar? I think that sounds like a great compromise! Asha-ji, what do you have to say about that?

Asha Bhosale : (incredibly bewildered) Yeh kahan aa gaye hum….

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) Oh I see. Are you saying then that the audience will not recognize the show in the new format? They will wonder where the hell they have landed? Fair point, fair point. Actually, hold that thought and we will come back and close this after another short break. Do stay with us!


Face The Nation music fade out

Priyanka Chopra sells no chip-chip cream amidst plenty of shoulder and head movements

Aishwarya Rai sells 5 (not 4, not 6, but exactly 5) solutions for good hair

Madhuri Dixit guarantees 1.2 billion people spectacular teeth

Face The Nation music fade in


Sagarika Ghose : And, welcome back! So, when we left for the break, we were asking, what is the future of Indian television in Pakistan. Looks like Mr. Nitish Kumar is dying to put his point across on this. Yes, Mr. Kumar?

Nitish Kumar : (angry, slightly frothing) Sagarika, what exactly are you…

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) Sorry for interrupting, Mr. Kumar, but I can see where you are going with this. Clearly, you want to know why we are restricting Biharis to perform only on Indian TV. If they are talented, why can’t they perform in Pakistan? What are all these Aman ki Asha type initiatives good for, if we can’t even achieve this simple thing? After all, Biharis are at least as talented as the people from North East, if not as much as Maharashtrians, even though Bengalis are clearly the most talented people in India! Let’s put that question to our new guest, the President of Pakistan, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari. Welcome to the program, Sir!

Asif Ali Zardari : Thank you, Sagarika. As you may know, my wife Shaheed Benazir Bhutto….

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) Yes, that is very true, Sir. Ever since your wife died, Bihar has shown remarkable progress in India. There is no point in not allowing Biharis to perform on Pakistani TV, especially since Maharashtra only wants Maharashtrians to perform in their own programs. Thank you for suggesting this great compromise! In fact, we were more than certain that you will come up with this option, so we have another guest joining the program! Welcome to the program, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh! It is great that you could join us.

Manmohan Singh :

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) Sir, are you there? Are you able to hear me? Please say something to confirm that you can hear us.

Manmohan Singh :

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) Sir, can you at least nod your head to confirm?

Manmohan Singh :

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) So, there you have it, everyone. The Prime Minister’s silence speaks volumes! Clearly, he is in agreement that the only way Pakistani TV can ever hope to be as good as Indian TV is by having Maharashtrians run the show there. Will Aman ki Asha help us achieve that? If Ajmal Kasab lives for another 5 years, and acquires Maharashtrian citizenship, can he be sent to Karachi to improve Pakistani TV? Those are all very important questions and we will raise in another forum discussion. For now, one quick last word from our panelists. Does anyone want to add anything?

Raj Thackeray, Asha Bhosale, Nitish Kumar, Sachin Tendulkar, Asif Ali Zardari, Manmohan Singh : (all together, undecipherable) @$#%&& &%%$# %^&*$ #$**^(()*^%% $%%#@!%^&&* %$#$^&

Sagarika Ghose : (interrupting) Very good! Thank you, everyone, for a great panel discussion! Moving on, after the break, why is the government not charging Colgate Co. for all the free brand publicity that the Coalgate scam is providing that organization? Why are billions and billions of rupees being thrown down the drain at this missed opportunity? We will have a special report. Do stay with us.


Face The Nation music fade out





44 thoughts on “Face The (Extremely Bewildered) Nation!

  1. passey

    Yes, some portions of the post appear twice… but then Sagarika can confuse anyone. Loved the hilarity so much that the duplicity is also acceptable. 🙂

  2. blogwatig

    I have been trying to hold that thought for so long now……………that I forgot what I was thinking in the first place. Not all songs are by Asha Tai….and Asha Tai don’t sing nobody else’s songs, you managed quite a feat here…….:)

    And Arnab ki judwaa behen……………………….Nahiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      I wish Asha-tai had sung all the songs I used…hehheh…such a pity! Maine socha, thoda creative license le loon 😉
      I think in some ways, SG is more entertaining than AG!
      Thanks for reading 🙂

    2. Rickie Khosla Post author

      Would you believe me if I told you that I don’t watch any TV at all? All my TV knowledge is when I flit in and out of the TV room and there is always some cacophonous wonder on!

  3. Akanksha Dureja

    Haven’t watched this show. Thanks for the warning 😀 😛
    On a serious note, this is exactly where our media is heading 🙁 As if corrupt politicians, daily scams etc were not enough, these people are ready to make a news out of everything and anything. Sigh.

  4. C. Suresh

    Boy o Boy! What a read! What a fun read! Rickie! This was astounding stuff! I am still laughing and probably will be chuckling intermittently all day! Hope no one catches me at it 🙂

  5. Corinne Rodrigues

    In fact when Sagarika is on I hold the thought that screams ‘Murder’ in my head. Arnab has reformed to some extent – but at least we can credit him with brains ….Sagarika has a history of holding her thoughts. And please can I say how I detest the loud colors she wears! Is there no wonder that Rajdeep is literally frothing at the mouth….I’ve heard they use a box of tissues to wipe the teleprompter after he’s done 😛

  6. Tanmay

    I wonder what conversations do Sagarika and Rajdeep have…about groceries, kids, bills…I’d love to be a fly on the wall.

    For a minute – then I’d move on to something more interesting (or less stressful!)

  7. Amit

    I hope Raj does not read our blogs or he will also mark us as enemies of Maharashtra. And yes I have stopped watching most of the discussions on television because by the time they end, all I remember is the anchor interrupting everyone.
    Loved this post.

  8. Rachna

    I haven’t watched much of Sagarika and these days I refrain from watching Arnab. What is wrong with these perpetually on-the-high anchors who never listen to what anyone says and just keep butting in and cutting off? TV debates have totally lost their charm. Everyone yells; no one listens. It feels like mini blogosphere :). You did a commendable job with the post, Rickie :). I could not stop laughing loudly. But, you’d have to translate everything that Raj says into Marathi. He refuses to speak in Hindi these days. I rue at dismay at what Mumbai has become. In my childhood days, it used to be a beautiful, welcoming city. On many levels, your post is brilliant! It captures so many things that have gone wrong with our nation so humorously.

  9. Rickie Khosla Post author

    I wanted this post to be many, many things. That the media has its own agenda, that they don’t seem to be very well versed with facts, that anything can make news these days, that smalltime shady politicians can drown out saner voices because they are shrill and so we listen to them, that there is no respect for people who have been a class-act in their craft for decades, that there is really no dialogue in the country any more, that everyone is confused and no one has a point of view on anything….and that there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
    Did all of that come across? 😉

    1. Rachna

      And, yes it did come through for me, Rickie. I did not want to overload my comment above by mentioning many of these. That is the beauty of your writing! I hope most people catch it. And you know what, your last statement — I believe on the contrary, everyone has a point of view on everything, inane or otherwise. We have become shrill and intolerant and frankly I don’t know what information or news to trust any more.

      1. Rickie Khosla Post author

        But that’s the sad part, isn’t it? IMHO, a point of view that is not supported by facts, that is not open to discussion, and that withers away when questioned intelligently, is not a point of view at all. It is just hearsay that one has believed as truth and has decided to stick to as gospel. Until of course, they hear someone else shout some other nonsense at them more convincingly.

        Unfortunately, this is not just an Indian phenomenon. I follow the news from the US very closely (my country of citizenship), and the similarities between the two countries is uncanny. There is total dysfunction!

        1. Rachna

          I agree! Sometimes, it is just too tedious to make a point or to explain facts especially to someone who knows very little and often an attitude not to listen! think news coverage in the US is pretty depressing. I lived in California for a couple of years and used to long for some decent news to watch except for bay area lost and found and illicit affairs of politicians. Fox was the worst. I enjoy watching BBC, but like I said I’ve become very cynical of news these days. And, I enjoyed the conversation too :).

  10. Ash

    Abs brilliant and apt post! These people are exactly like this, interpreting something out of nothing and creating hype over it!! 😀 can’t stop laughing…. you should write professionally, Rickie!!

  11. Ruchira

    I get very irritated at while watching these shows coz the likes of Arnab and sagarika just love to interrupt .Loved reading this – Very brilliantly put considering that you hardly watch any TV :p

    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      Thanks, Ruchira! Frankly, my TV watching attention span is probably 5 minutes! The last time I watched a full program was an episode of Pavitra Rishta, maybe 2 years ago. That annoying woman kept calling a guy called Manav Manao Manao and I was all ready to fling a flower vase at the TV by the end of it! THEEK SE TOH NAAM BOLO!


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