Tag Archives: TV

The Bollywood Mutiny!

Vote for us! We are not just a pretty face.

Vote for us! We are not just a pretty face.

Bollywood was in an unforgiving mood. It had had enough of these godforsaken politicians. After all, how much more nonsense could anyone sane endure? The government, the opposition, in fact all these damned politicians needed to go! Scoot! Vamoose! And Pronto!

As a replacement, the members of the Bollywood fraternity had decided that it was time for India to be run by them instead. This answer had been staring at them in the mirror for a while. Quite literally, actually, because they did like to stare at their mirror often and for extended periods. 

To take this discussion further, an emergency closed-door meeting was taking place at Jalsa, Aaraadhya Bachchan’s swanky crib in Mumbai. The entire film fraternity was in attendance. This was too important a meeting to let egos, personal bickering, camps, height, box-office results, clubs, accent, fisticuffs etc. come in the way. Moreover, the return-gift goody bags that had been promised to all attendees after the meeting, prepared by master artisan Karan Johar himself, were already the talk of the glitterati circuit. Obviously, no one was even remotely interested in staying away from this shindig!

 

Manoj Kumar, Chief Guest : (finally winding up his hour-long speech, in which he had recited poetry and dialogues from deshbhakti films such as Upkaar, Kranti and Clerk) And therefore I say, enough is enough! What have these politicians given us anyway? Same old boring ghisa pita story lines of corruption and violence! No more! It is our turn now! Jai Bollywood! Jai Hind!

The audience starts applauding slowly, after having been woken up in haste by determined elbow kicks from the stray folks who managed to stay awake through the Chief Guest’s discourse, possibly due to pill addiction induced insomnia.

Aamir Khan, Convenor : (stifling a yawn and rubbing his swollen red eyes) So, Friends, fellow Mumbaites, Countrymen, it is, therefore, time for us to wrest control of our nation from these bloody politicians. Guttersnipes, all of them!

Shah Rukh Khan : (excitedly) Hear, hear!

Katrina Kaif : (looking confounded) Eh, but what about Countrywomen? What do you want us to do?

Vidya Balan : (shaking her head) Oh you poor Firangi Phool, by ‘Countrymen’ he meant everyone in the country. Men and Women. But mainly strong, intelligent women like me.

Priyanka Chopra : (looks around pointing to Katrina) How did this foreigner even get into this meeting anyway? Isn’t she from Southall, London or someplace? What is she doing here (breaking into a song) In My Citaaaay! Go back to where you came from, you British Bitch!

Begum Kareena Kapoor : (turning sharply toward Priyanka and tossing her dandruff free hair almost toppling her tiara) Shut up! You mind your own accent, I mean, business!

Shah Rukh Khan : (raising both hands) Ladies, ladies, be quiet. Important matters are being discussed here. Let’s take these petty squabbles outside later so even I can join you!

Aamir Khan : So, as I was saying, Bollywood films have consistently breached the 100 crore mark. That’s more than the GDP of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh put together! Obviously, we are doing something right!

Akshay Kumar : (butting in) Excuse me, but some of us have even breached the 2000 crore mark. Oh wait, not some…only one person has! Me!

Dimple Kapadia whistles from the audience followed by a loud “Woo Hoo!”

Salman Khan : (hisses) Yeah, yeah, we know. We are no bloody Jokers, are we? Some of us are Tigers.

Akshay Kumar : Or Wanted? By the law?

Aamir Khan : (ignores the two and labours on) So, all that is left to be done now is the appointment of the leader of our party – the Bollywood Overseers Of Bharatiya Society. As you know, the leader of the political party that wins the election becomes the Prime Minister.

Sunny Leone : (interrupting) Are you certain that’s the party name we are keeping? “Bollywood Overseers Of Bharatiya Society” or BOOBS for short? And if so, have you chosen a mascot yet? A party symbol?

Aamir Khan : (annoyed) That name has been chosen after careful market research conducted by Mahesh Bhatt Sahab. And please don’t interrupt. Once our leader has been chosen, we will get to the business of selecting the right face to go with BOOBS. Now, talking about the party leader being Prime Minister…

Sonakshi Sinha : (interrupting) Really? Is that how it works? Then how come my father never became PM? He is the most important leader of his party!

Amitabh Bachchan : (turns curiously at her) Hah! Says who?

Sonakshi Sinha : Says he. In our house! All the time!

Reena Roy : (looking at Amitabh) Typical. (Both shake their heads incredulously)

Before Aamir is able to resume, a voice from the back calls out authoritatively.

Ekta Kapoor : (speaking boldly as she walks up front) I should be the Prime Minister. I run the country from 7 pm to 11 pm every day, anyway!

Sajid Khan : (angrily) Ekta Kapoor, you bloody insect from the TV world! What are you doing gatecrashing a Film People Only event?

Shilpa Shetty : (joining in) Yes, we can’t have you small time TV people come here and tell us what to do. Next thing we know, Alok Nath will want to be PM!

Ekta Kapoor : Arrey, I am the lifeblood of this nation!

The whole room erupts into loud guffaws. People have tears of laughter brimming in their eyes. Tiku Talsania is seen rolling on the floor, quite literally.

Ekta Kapoor : Khamosh, Fools! Half of the population of this country – that is, ALL the women – are in my Louis Vuitton handbag! I rule that vote bank! Don’t you forget!

Prem Chopra, Rajneet and Shakti Kapoor, the statisticians in the BOOBS team, are seen to quickly huddle into a whispering tete-a-tete with Mahesh Bhatt. After discussing for a few minutes, Mahesh Bhatt looks up and addresses Ekta Kapoor directly.

Mahesh Bhatt : (firmly) Well, we have confirmed that it isn’t half, as you are falsely claiming, you liar! The sex ratio of our country is already down to 800 and falling fast. Pretty soon, much of your audience will either die out or settle abroad. So shut up. And Get Out of this room!

Ekta Kapoor recoils at the backfire. An old man with jet black hair and pure white shiny shoes gets up agitated and rushes to her side.

Jeetendra : (yelling) Stop shouting at my daughter! (With that, he takes off one of his white shoes and flings it towards Mahesh Bhatt)

Suddenly, there is pandemonium in the room. Unable to bear Jeetendra’s outburst towards his uncle Mahesh, Emraan Hashmi springs out of his chair, picks it up and flings it towards the aging Himmatwala in true Gangster style. This causes everyone to rise to their feet and start tossing whatever objects they can get their hands on. It’s a free-for-all. Microphones, Blackberrys, iPhones, mirrors, hair brushes, compacts, sandals, wigs and toupees, Bentley and Land Rover car keys, nothing is spared. When Salman Khan can’t find anything to lunge and toss, he tears off his ‘Being Human’ t-shirt and flings it across the room barely missing Shah Rukh Khan by an inch.

With great difficulty, order is eventually restored. It is only possible because Karan Johar offers to distribute two return-gift goody bags to each person instead of just the one as earlier promised. That calms people down.

The meeting resumes and Madhuri Dixit gets up to make her case.

Madhuri Dixit : For PM, I have a laat of wourrld experience naao. Efter awl, I have bin living in Amairrica, but have nao returrned to Baambae to rool everything and everybaady. I am in everry rreality TV show. I haiv evolved as somewaan rreelly sooperiur. I am a Regenerist and my pimples are gaan! And my husband is a daacterr! Plus, look at mai teeth! (She pauses to flash her smile exposing ridiculously perfect white teeth)

The audience is unmoved. Possibly because they haven’t understood a word of what Madhuri has just spoken. Some ask for a translator but that request is quickly turned down in the interest of time.

Shah Rukh Khan : But why should we (tosses his index finger at himself, Aamir, Akshay and Salman) look for an old retired actress like you? We already have Hemaji, Rekhaji, Jayaji…wouldn’t we just choose one of them as our PM then? (Looks around searchingly) By the way, where are they? I can’t see those original Lux Beauties anywhere.

The audience repeats his gesture. Everyone looks around searching for the older actresses mentioned.

Salman Khan : (pointing at a dimwitted-looking man with floppy hair sitting by the door) Hey, Darbaan, where are they? Jayaji, Rekhaji, Hemaji? Didn’t they come for this meeting?

Vivek Oberoi : (extremely pissed) I am not the doorman! I am Vivek Oberoi!

All attendees look around quizzically, not knowing who that is. Some wonder if there has been a security breach. ‘Have they just allowed anybody and everybody into this room?’, ‘Who?’, ‘Nonsense, how can he be an actor – just look at him!’ is heard murmured loudly. Vivek Oberoi leaves the room in a huff.

Unperturbed, Salman Khan looks at the other homely-looking young man sitting near the door.

Salman Khan : Sorry, Darbaan, so I was asking…

This time, it is Tusshar who gets up and leaves the room in disgust.

Aamir Khan : (interjecting) Wait, I spot someone who can answer that question. Zeenatji?

Zeenat Aman : (in unbelievably perfect English – the kind that has never been heard in India before) Let me tell you, boys. Those beautiful ladies that you have just alluded to are already in politics. They are all MPs! Obviously, they didn’t want to be a part of this meeting! We are the actresses of the 70’s and 80’s. We have very high morals and dignity!

Aamir Khan : But how about you yourself, Zeenatji? We could all build consensus around you!

Zeenat Aman : Oh, no thanks, my dear friends and fellow fraternity. You see, I may already be taken. Since I may or may not be getting married soon, I will have to decline the offer. But, thank you anyway!

The discussion is back to square one. Just then, someone big and bulky in nothing but chaddis bursts into the room.

John Abraham : Sorry, I am late. I was at the gym. Did I miss anything important?

Bipasha Basu : (dryly) It’s ok, we didn’t even notice you were away. We are just electing our Prime Ministerial candidate, that’s all.

John Abraham : (sounding relieved) Oh, in that case, I am just in time. I’d like to throw my hat in the ring. (He raises his right hand to the back of his head and crinkles his forehead trying to strike the standard pose of a Softhearted Hunk)

The room immediately breaks into loud guffaws again. Everyone laughs hysterically – exactly like they did when Ram Gopal Verma came to them to offer a role in his Sholay remake. This time, Tiku Talsania doesn’t just roll on the ground but even has a massive heart attack while rolling and laughing, and dies. No one notices as his body quietly rolls to the side on its own.

Vidya Balan : (angrily) Stop that Dirty Picture pose, John! We are not talking entertainment, entertainment, entertainment. This is politics, politics, politics!

Aamir Khan : (extremely distressed at where the meeting is going) How the heck do you even consider yourself fit for Prime Ministership? Ok, tell me, do you even know the meaning of ‘Satyameva Jayate’?

John Abraham : Oh come on, stop pulling my leg! Isn’t that just a made up name of an old film? And then you just used it for your reality TV show? Lots of film directors use made up names. You tell me – does ‘Boom Boom Shakalaka’ mean anything? Or ‘Kai Po Che’? They are all made up!

Hritik Roshan : (derisively looks at John and then flexes his own muscles) You fool – ‘Kai Po Che’ is a Gujarati slang! Do you know nothing?

John Abraham : Really? So ‘Satyameva Jayate’ is also a Gujarati slang? I had no idea! (looks around sheepishly)

Hritik and Aamir roll their eyes.

John Abraham : But how did it get so popular? (Suddenly, his face lights up as if a bulb just went off in his head) Must have been coined by Narendra Modi ji! That man is a genius! What a catchy phrase he has created – ‘Satyameva Jayate’. It almost sounds real!

Amitabh Bachchan jumps to his feet at the mention of Narendra Modi and starts applauding loudly. Clearly, the Gujarat CM has connected well with the youth of the nation, including the eternal Angry Young Man.  

Aamir pulls his right hand up to his forehead, draws it in the shape of a handgun and shoots himself.

Taking a cue from the youthful sprightliness of Amitabh, another ‘youthful’ actor rises from his seat to make a case.

Rishi Kapoor : I say, this coveted Leader position belongs to the youth of the country and no one else.

Deepika Padukone : Hein? Uncle, you may have been the original chocolate hero lover boy of Hindi cinema. (Adds politely) But don’t you think that the chocolate is past its expiry date now?

Rishi Kapoor : Oh no, not me! I nominate my son Ranbir for the PM post. After all, the Kapoors are the first family of Bollywood!

Sanjay Dutt : (angrily) Bloody dynastic politics! We have no place for that in our country any more. Look at me, Uncle. I could have followed my dad’s footsteps and become a minister too. But did I? No! And you know why?

Ajay Devgn : (cheekily) Because of your love for AK-47s?

Sanjay Dutt : No, you idiot, because body building is a full time profession, that’s why!

Salman Khan, Sunny Deol and Dharam Paaji spring from their chairs and give a standing ovation for this sterling answer. The 3 sets of hands, each weighing 2.5 kilos, keep clapping until they realize no one else has joined them. That makes them stop and settle down into their chairs a wee bit sheepishly.

Ranbir Kapoor : (makes an angry face and looks at Neetu Singh) Mummy!

Neetu Singh : No, don’t worry, my little Laddo, my pyaare Barfi, we will get you something else!

Meanwhile, noticing that Amitabh has still not stopped applauding after the original Narendra Modi comment, Aamir addresses him directly.

Aamir Khan : (determinedly) Amit Uncle, you are the most senior, most well respected man in this room. Why don’t you take the mantle as our leader?

Amitabh Bachchan : Oh me? Oh no, who has the time? I have a Binani Cement shoot this week, then I fly off to Maldives to shoot for No-Corn Hawaii Chappal ad. As soon as I am back, it’s Hajmola Churan. Next month, Reid and Taylor, followed by Kajrare Kajal, where I am joined by my son and bahu. Then a guest appearance in KJo’s next film, then the next season of Crorepati, Balki’s next film….. (the list continues for the next 17 and a half minutes.)

Some people go off to sleep during this narration.

Amitabh Bachchan : …and some other commitments that we have not firmed up yet. So, looks like I might be free in 2019, but only in the second half. Does that work?

Aamir looks heavenwards, realizing this meeting is not going anywhere. He takes a decision.

Aamir Khan : I am afraid we will just have to adjourn this meeting to a later date. In the meantime, if anyone has any other thoughts on how to dislodge the politicians, do log into www.BIG-BOOBS.reliance.in. As you know, this event is sponsored by Reliance Industries and Big Entertainment. (Looks inquiringly at Abhishek Bachchan who nods back)

Abhishek Bachchan : Ladies and Gentlemen, food has been served at the back lawns. This way, please!

Abhishek leads the assembly towards the assigned area. As he gets there, he sees most serving containers empty and the scared staff shaking their heads and pointing to the woman sitting in the centre table ravaging a chicken tangdi.

Abhishek Bachchan : (incredulously) Where is all the food, honey?

Aishwarya Bachchan : (giggling, as she normally does) Oh, sorry, you people were taking so long in your meeting, I just couldn’t resist starting lunch by myself!

Lara Dutta and Shilpa Shetty look at each other and cluck their disapproval.  

 

 

Choco- Raspberry Delite Anyone?

Part-time Market Researcher but full-time Observer and Thinker Achala Srivatsa is back with this absolutely hysterical essay that will have you rolling on the floor like a, well, a rolling pin. If you are a foodie (and by that I mean you don’t entirely mind popping something solid in your mouth occasionally) you have got to read this! 

 

(Stolen from The Healthy Voyager website given my own lack of artistic talent))

(Stolen from The Healthy Voyager website given my own lack of artistic talent))

Practically everyone I know claims to be a foodie these days (a broad term that could mean anything from “I eat like a pig and Darshini is my  second home” to “You must try my sous vide salmon with chanterelle duxelle and a hint of wild fennel pollen” or “my rajma recipe is a closely guarded family secret”). Our home-grown NRI friends who visit for 2 weeks also call themselves foodies, which essentially means they spend 2 weeks running around to every local restaurant and immersing their being in assorted deep-fried products dipped into condiments that are off the charts on heat and ferocity. Much of those two weeks are also, not surprisingly, spent reading War and Peace in a toilet. But I digress.

India is now neck deep in cook books of an astonishing range and variety, not to mention cookery shows of every description. Do you want to make a refreshing drink to be enjoyed by the pool? Chances are someone on some channel is muddling together mint and sugar as we speak.

I discovered this the other day as I browsed at my local book store. It was truly educational and here for your benefit is a summation of the fruits of my labour.

  1. At one extreme is the new bride’s go-to guide for all things South Indian. Written by a  “Maami Rajammal” with the picture of a formidable looking woman (usually with a slight moustache) to lend authenticity. This book will tell you how to make “curds” from scratch, the recipes for 20 types of chutneys using the peel of a ridge gourd and 15 different rasams. Recipes will sternly instruct you to “ take a good amount of tamarind…” Precisely what that means is, literally, anyone’s guess.
  2. The next category I uncovered was a slew of slim paperbacks on snacks, for every occasion (Tea Time Snacks/ Pre bedtime snacks and so on). These appear to be aimed at young mothers with recipes focusing on fried thingies of various descriptions. A half-hearted attempt at amping up the health factor can be seen – “Add a cup of sprouts”. Clearly written quite hurriedly, I was charmed by one recipe that started off calling for a cup of chopped onions, later forgetting about the onions completely.
  3. Then you have a series of books that claim to offer specialized cuisines – Rajasthan, Punjab etc. Some of these seem authentic, others not so much. Call me a cynic but I look askance at “authentic” recipes that call for a cup of tomato ketchup.
  4. Cookbooks on the Woman’s Era lines – easily recognizable by the way they fiercely hang on in a limpet-like fashion to  recipes from the ‘70s – “Blancmange”, “Raspberry Delite”, “Chocolate-Pista Surprise” and so on. Bellbottoms and beehive hairdos! By the way, if you know what a blancmange is – consider yourself officially old.
  5. The ethnographic school of cookery – Where Jamie does Tuscany and works up a froth over fresh zucchini flowers, baby artichokes, dusty purple grapes exploding with sweetness blah. Do NOT read these books. Let me tell you what happens – First you identify a recipe you get all excited about – let’s say enchiladas with a chipotle sauce . Then you walk into your local supermarket and hmm, chipotle seems to be a problem. But hey, you are a creative cook, so a little improv is in order. So you shift gear – from chipotle to badgis from Central Karnataka, from fingerling potatoes to whatever’s available, from Vidalia onions to your local pyaaz and for some reason the end product tastes strangely like a dosa. Mexican food’s over-rated anyway.

 

Frustrated at every turn, stuffed to the gills with stuffed karelas drowning in sweet ketchup, I turned to our local Food Channel for inspiration. Here’s what I found.

  • Sanjeev Kapoor’s wooden, sickly smile every hour on the hour –  either fusing cuisines  feverishly – here cooking biryani with truffle shavings, there grating paneer on to pasta or cooking “healthy” sweets with ghee and sugar substitutes.  Is it just me or have others realized that  ever since he’s shaven that moustache off, he has this – “I could give you this recipe but then I’d have to kill you – or myself” look on his face. A bit tough for a TV chef that.
  • Wanna be Sanjeev Kapoors – with the same puppet like movements and and stilted manner of speaking always ending with “ab aapki mint coriander hing mojito lassi tayar hai
  • Indian women with strangely accented English teaching (presumably) a befuddled western audience how to make “potatoes spiced with a hint of cumin” and such like.
  • Two men checking out every dive, dhaba and Udipi hotel in search of…mediocre food? Almost every time I watch this, the two have a conversation somewhat like this…“This idli is…round and white” or “the fried dal tastes pretty much like dal that’s been fried”. My point is – so why is a 30 minute program based on a restaurant that seems to be a non-event?

 

So anyway, I have decided to have another crack at those enchiladas. I hear my local supermarket’s just started stocking chipotles.

 

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

 

 

Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye!

Just as an arranged marriage needs dollops of love to thrive, a love marriage may sometimes need some ‘arrangement’ for it to even come to fruition! Here is an interesting take on the eternal question – Love Marriage or Arranged Marriage?  

(This is a contest entry)

 

(Photo courtesy www.4photos.net and Google)

A smartly dressed young man rings the doorbell. The sound brings an elegant woman with a kind face to the door. As she opens it to her visitor, both faces light up at each other’s sight.

Prema : Arrey, Akhil, what a pleasant surprise! Come on in. Are you alone?

Akhil : Yes, I am. There was something I needed to discuss with you personally. (He enters the modestly but tastefully done up drawing room and takes a seat. Prema takes a place facing him)

Prema : (quizzical yet smiling) Ok, that sounds serious! Especially coming from a bindaas banda like you. Anyway, before you say anything, tell me, do you want some thanda? How about tea? Oh, I made some banana cake, too, woh khayega?

Akhil : Yes, but later, perhaps. After we have discussed this important matter at hand, and if you agree with what I am about to propose, we will definitely need something meetha. But if you don’t agree… (he lets his voice trail off)

Prema : (raises her eyebrows) Wow! In that case, I had better shut up and let you do all the talking, shouldn’t I? (She smiles)

Akhil : (with a mock-serious face) Even though I don’t want this to appear as the famous mausi-Jai scene from Sholay, I really have no other option, unfortunately. So here goes – Prema Vishwanath Iyer, I come to you with a marriage proposal on behalf of my best friend, philosopher and guide in the entire world – Dinesh Bhaskar Singh, who, as you know, is affectionately called Dibs by everyone who knows him.

Prema : (speechless out of shock) What….errr….?

Akhil : Well, I decided I couldn’t let you both dribble this ball endlessly, like you two seem to be doing for 6 months now! I arranged for this thing to start. Hence, I must arrange for it to reach its logical conclusion, too.

Prema : (still surprised) Arrange?

Akhil : Of course. You see, I still remember quite vividly the day I initiated Dibs to Facebook. I had just returned from my residency at Tata Memorial so he and I had decided to celebrate with our favourite friend, Jack Daniel. Once we both were nicely sloshed, Dibs was up to his old tricks – he wanted to know everything about all the girls I had met in Mumbai. Always trying to push me to settle down, that man! This time, of course, I had decided that I would turn the spotlight on him instead, and all the girlfriends from his past! He hummed and hawed, but I was going to have none of that!

Prema : (smiling) So it was you who pushed him into the big bad world of Facebook?

Akhil : (triumphantly) I absolutely did! I told him that everyone was on Facebook – even grandmas! Why was he being such a fuddy-duddy? And then I told him that it was the best way to look up his school and college chums. And, yes, crushes, too!

Prema : What did he say?

Akhil : He fell for it, obviously! Oh, pump in a few drinks into a lonely man and you can make him do things!

Prema : And that’s how you found me?

Akhil : Correct! His first and mightiest college crush!

Prema : (suddenly turning red) So Dibs and me bumping into each other for the first time at Lodhi Gardens that morning wasn’t just a chance encounter? And he told me that he was a stickler for morning walks – never missed them rain, shine or cold!

Akhil : (laughs loudly) “Chance”, sure, but with a lot of pre-planning. From your profile page, we noticed that you lived in Jorbagh, and that walking and exercising were your hobbies and interests. We figured you must come to Lodhi Gardens for walks every morning! You could say, we put two-and-two together, and prayed that it would add to four!

Prema : Such stalking connivers! I would have avoided Dibs like the plague had I known what you both were up to! (she smiles, amused)

Akhil : Oh, I doubt that! He told me that in college you had as much of a crush on him as he had on you! You recognized him right away when you saw him at the park, didn’t you?

Prema : (smiles and blushes slightly) That crazy man told you that? Well, I am not going to comment at all!

Akhil : Look at it this way. It was in your fate – I just helped push it along! And look at the brighter side, if the two of you get together for good, Dibs will never have a reason to ever be on Facebook again!

Prema : Interesting reason!

Akhil : There are better reasons, let me assure you!

Prema : (feigning surprise) There are? I wonder what they could be!

Akhil : Well, for one, someone now tells him what to wear and what to avoid – thank goodness for that! Our eyes had started to pain always seeing him in un-ironed kurta pyjamas, rumpled pants, terrible hair! How did you manage to make him take care of how he looks and dresses up? Did you just set fire to all this crazy clothes?

Prema : (laughs) I have my ways. I bet he thinks dressing up like a human being is a small price to pay to keep my company!

Akhil : And it doesn’t just stop there, of course. Yesterday, when I got home after lunch with some friends, I saw him playing a cricket match with the neighbourhood kids! He was having so much fun!

Prema : That sounds wonderful!

Akhil : He cooks, he sings, he enjoys doing things again. Two years ago, I never even thought we would be where we are today. He was a broken man. You gave him wings. You gave him a reason to smile. (His voice crumbles) You gave him…his life back.

Prema : (her eyes moistening) As he did – to me. After Shankar died five years ago, what were Sakshi and I left with? It was the same when he lost Smita.

Akhil : (reaches out his hands and clasps Prema’s) We have all lost irreplaceable pieces of our lives. In those months and years of despair, we never thought life would heal. The pain seemed too overwhelming to bear. The sorrow too large to cast away. The grey all too encompassing. And yet…

Prema : And yet…Time helps clear the fog. And when it lifts slowly, you sometimes see someone who can bring colour back into your life. You learn to smile again. You learn to feel again. And you realize how wrong you were – Life is not over yet. There are still miles to go. But the journey looks exciting because you have a companion to make it with.

Akhil : (quivering) All I can do is thank you for giving Dibs back to me.

Prema : (controlling her tears) And thank you for giving me Dibs, Akhil.

Akhil : (clearing his throat, suddenly speaking very formally) And yet, as hopelessly shy and old-fashioned as you both are, neither of you will take the next step! It becomes my duty to formally arrange this rishta between our families. So, I ask again, my beautiful Prema Vishwanath Iyer. Will you accept Dinesh Bhaskar Singh as your husband, in sickness and in health, in good times and bad, with unwavering trust on the people who care for you and utter disregard to what society might do or say, till death does you apart?

Prema : (smiling through tears) Yes, mere buddhu ladke. Yes!

Akhil : (leaps off his seat in joy) Yippee! I have achieved what even Jai of Sholay was not able to with Mausi! You have made me the happiest man in the world. Or maybe I should say, the second happiest man – Dibs will undoubtedly take top honours!

Prema : You are such a clown! (They both reach out and hug each other)

Akhil : (still gushing) So, what would you like me to address you as from now on? Mummy? Mum? How about Mateshwari?

Prema : (laughing) Stop it! (Pauses to think) Apne baap ko Dibs bulata hai, but how about you call me Amma, just like Sakshi does!

Akhil : (taking a bow) Amma, your wish is my command. Whatever my future sister calls you, works for me, too!

Prema : (mock raps him on his head) Poora joker hai! Now, where is that father of yours? Don’t tell me that that 60-year-old teenager is sitting and blushing in the car outside!

Akhil : Arrey bhai, arranged marriage hai, so what if it’s the son arranging his dad’s and future mom’s? You shall meet the groom in due course, pehle kuch meetha ho jaye! Didn’t you say you had some banana cake?

 

Join the debate!

So, the debate continues on what is better – Love Marriage or Arranged Marriage! I hope you are watching the enjoyable new serial unfold on Sony Entertainment Television every Monday to Thursday at 8.30 pm! For more details, check out their Facebook page at – http://www.facebook.com/LoveYaArrange!

 

“A” For Amma, “B” For Baba – Things We Can Only Learn From Indian TV Serials – Chapter 4

So, how many different kinds of parents can you spot in your favourite TV soaps? Let’s count –

Hitler Ma-G and Hitler Babu-G : The ultimate Power Couple of Indian television. They sit right at the top of the food-, social-, decision-, financial-, delusional- and all other kinds of chains you can think of. They are in their mid-50s. Always impeccably dressed  – she in formal silks, elaborately coiffured (sometimes ghoonghutted in front of the Fuhrer), and he in formal dark achkans. They have never had any truck with ‘Emotions’, except, of course, anger and disappointment with everyone around them. It is remarkable that they might have ever shared a romantic moment together, imagining that they might have ever had sex is positively inconceivable if one looked at them. And yet, they have 4 sons. Who live with them with their 4 wives and 6 grandchildren. All adults, except the brand new youngest daughter-in-law (formally referred to as chhoti bahu), live in agonizing terror of the senior couple each day of their lives. The house they share is a palatial one with a giant staircase, though everyone likes to hang around in the main hall downstairs at all times. They run a super successful “family” business, which, presumably, runs on its own steam because no one in the house has ever been seen to be headed to work. Oh, and they never watch TV (because there is no TV to be seen in their large palace)

Hitler Ma-G and a pappu Baba : Most of the above applies. Except that the father is no Babu-G, he is more of a Papa, wimpy and ineffectual in front of his Eva Braun. She wears the proverbial pants in the house, he is usually in kurta-pyjamas. He smiles a lot when his wife is not around. Sex is again a curious proposition, because an unsuspecting onlooker might be surprised that the Black Widow didn’t eat him up right after they had their first go. The terror, the palatial house and the family business profiles remain the same as above.

Hitler Babu-G and Doormat Ma : Role-reversal from above. Notice the “G” is missing from Ma since she is only pertinent enough to be seen as part of the furniture and hence, quite inconsequential. Babu-G walks with a stick even though it is apparent that he doesn’t really need one due to any physical deformity. Perhaps it is a weapon? Ma likes to cook and her favourite (and only) dialogue is – “tum haath mooh dho lo, mein abhi khana lagati hoon” (literal translation – you wash your arms and face, I shall just put the food)

Baba No. 1

Just call me Baba : This father-type extra-sentimental old man has kindly eyes that seem to be moist even on normal days. His mouth spouts only philosophies, most of them quite inane and definitely useless in the real world. He lives like a saint in an otherwise extremely affluent household. His grown up children are usually adopted (or could be his deceased younger brother’s?), and speak in whispering genteelness all the time. In times of extreme crisis, i.e. when the adopted child is about to take a stand that goes against Baba’s morality, expect to hear the dialogue – “aakhir mein hota kaun hoon tumhe kuch kehne wala” (literal translation – after all, I am who to you a teller of something). Which might make a regular viewer cringe because all that the Baba has done since the TV serial started is sermonize.

Nag Ma and Beleagured Baba : This middle-class couple usually has five unmarried daughters, each prettier and more qualified than the other, and yet, their marriage prospects still look utterly doomed. No real reason is provided, except perhaps that the girls have a certain je ne sais quoi…also known as confidence and self respect. This Baba is usually called Papa, and he is usually happy and smiling, except when he is at work where the threat is that he might lose his job any day. Maybe he is just not that good at his work, the audience is never told. The nag Ma is a nag because no one listens to her (or she could just be menopausal. Again, I suspect we shall never know).

Normal Mummy and Normal Papa : You need to watch more TV. Move on.

 

Lesson Learned : TV Parents may come in different shapes and forms, but, clearly, only one actor is able to do justice as the All-Time- and All-Weather-Baba. No wonder TV audiences across the country can’t get enough of Alok Nath, perhaps the hardest working actor of all time! So, next time you see a promo for yet another new serial featuring Alok Nath, don’t roll your eyes. Instead, applaud his efforts at making your ordinary father look like the best dad in the whole wide world.

The title of All-Time-Mom already rests with Nirupa Roy, or had you forgotten?