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Saturday, May 31, 2008

The drama of IPL T20 cricket

When the concept of IPL was announced, there was cynicism about whether this was a concept that would gain public attention (even after the success of the T20 cricket world cup); after all so many matches in so short a time would maybe cause exhaustion, and people would loose attention after some matches.
However, there is enough to show that IPL has been a success to a fair amount of degree. The stadiums have been full, TV sponsorships of the events (including commercials) has been expensive, and in the biggest acknowledgment of the success in weaning after the young and middle aged crowd, there have been so few movie releases during the time of the tournament, that it seems quite clear that most movie makers don't want to risk a sharply reduced period of ticket collection.
The coverage of IPL T20 cricket on SET Max has been a mixed one, with a lot of use of technology. So, there are a lot of statistics called real time, including the wagon wheel, a steady show of the current run rate and asking rate, plenty of replays and so. One cannot say the same about the people called onto the sets, with many of my friends and colleagues making fun of the quality of people being called upon to give expert comments. On the whole, these are matches to be watched without caring too much about the commentary.
Now, with just one semi-final and the final left, there is a big expectation that the viewership will peak, and it is the good fortune of most of the regular evening and nightime weekday serials that these 2 final games are happening on the weekend. One other feeling I have about watching this one vs. the normal one day matches is that the TV coverage has been slightly more nuanced: So, in the normal one-day coverage, many times you are not able to see the replays of the big shots and wickets since the Ads come on immediately, while here, the ads are somewhat more controlled. I seem to feel that I have watched more TV replays now that in the regular coverage of one-day cricket.

2 websites for catching the T20 cricket:
The official website
Lots of statistics

Video highlights of the first semi-final between Jaipur and Delhi (Jaipur won)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Saloni Ka Safar: Saath Phere - The fall of the father

Creating a drama out of thin area is something that most serials excel in, and this also has the advantage that the serial can continue for several weeks or months on the new drama created. For the purpose of this drama, the serial can take any turn, and make anybody a villain, even the lead character of the serial (take for example, how Gautami, playing Tulsi on Kyunki .. suddenly turned into a negative character when the real Tulsi, Smriti Irani was to be brought back to the serial). In the case of Saloni Ka Safar, there are a few characters who are always shown as positive, such as Saloni, her father Narpat, mother, Bhabo, and so on. However, some time back, Saloni was shown as negative for many months, and now it was the turn of her father, Narpat to suddenly turn negative.
So in a sudden twist of events, Saloni's father Narpat Singh is now shown to have an affair, a major problem, since this causes his family to get estranged from him. All this happened when Saloni and her sister Shubhra are trying to get Shubhra's estranged parents back together again. Both Shubhra's husband Kunjan and his mother Padma Thakurain hate the father because they believe that he had an affair and the child that he is bringing up is actually his. However, in a function to celebrate the marriage anniversary of Saloni's parents, it gets revealed that in fact this girl was not his daughter, but the illegitimate daughter of Narpat and Shyama (whom he used to love before his marriage, but whom he deserted). Shyama later turned mad.
And then things change. Narpat is now hated by all, by his wife who can't believe this betrayal (although a relationship before marriage should not be considered a betrayal), and equally by his illegitimate daughter Kalika, who considers Narpat responsible for all her problems. It's Saloni who tries to reconcile these relationships, first trying to get Narpat (who has left home) and Kalika together, and she finally succeeds, when Narpat saves Kalika's life. And then she brings Kalika home, something that neither her mother nor Samrat likes. However, they have to keep her there, since it has been threatened that Shubhra's life in her in-laws place will take a turn for the worse if Kalika is mistreated. But will Kalika be able to reconcile with Narpat's wife (who hates her) ? What do you think ?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar on Star Plus

Jo Jita Wohi Superstar is a show that seeks to bring together contestants from many different singing contests on different channels over a period of time. It is similar in format to the other show, Ustaadon Ke Ustaad (on Sony). The concept is that you get together the winners and the contestants who came close to winning, and then bring them into 2 separate teams composed of the winners and challengers. But it is not so simple, with contestants from both the champions and challengers getting eliminated by voting; you also have the change of a challenger going towards the champion team.
The show has mined all the major music shows of the past, including Indian Idol, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, Supersinger, Fame Gurukul (from different channels). The show comes at a time of 10 PM on Friday and Saturday on Star Plus; for the contestants, even if they eliminated quickly, they still get a lot of publicity and when people are trying to generate their name through shows and other appearances, such publicity can do wonders.
I watched an episode of the show that was shown on the occasion of Mother's Day, and all the participants sang songs that were meant to bring out tears, and they did so for the majority of people on the stage (I am a bit cynical, so was wondering whether there would be a contestant or a host who could dare not to show a tear and be considered unemotional ?). It became clear that the show wanted this to be a teary event when they literally encouraged the mother of Abhijeet to go on stage when he was singing, and she seemed very uncomfortable standing there.

Prajakta Shukre, Rahul Vaidya, Vinit Singh, Harshit, Toshi, Aishwarya, Debojeet, Rooprekha, Ujjaini, Ishmeet, Abhijeet, Amit Tandon, Amit Sana, Sumitra Iyer, Ravindra Ravi, Neha Kakkar, Himani, Priyani Vani, Harshit Saxena, Rex D'Souza, Amey Date
Host: Mandira Bedi
Judges: Vishal-Shekhar and Farah Khan

The judges have sometimes been a bit harsh, but they have given some good scores to people, and some of the performances have been great. Some of the latest participants from other shows would not have been able to attend since they would have been under contract to the channels and no competing channel would want to encourage Star Plus in this kind of show.

Videos on Youtube of the 10th may episode:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Kayamath - too much of crying

This show is getting more and more difficult to watch. Previously, it was that Prachi had finally managed to convince Milind that she was a good wife who was faithful to him, and that had taken a number of episodes to happen. Then Milind lost his memory and got convinced that Ayesha was his beloved; Ayesha took full advantage of that to make sure that she sticks to Milind and keeps on reminding Prachi that her time was over and that she should now forget about Milind. So, Prachi, being a good person and mindful of Milind's condition, did not try to impress on him about their previous life; what she did most is cry all the time. In every episode, her face always had that look which would feel that she is always crying.
But then, things started to change. Although there was an attempt by Neev to try and reclaim his lost love, it was clear that Prachi was now totally in with Milind and was always hopeful that things will improve, Milind will regain his memory and then they will be together again (and it is very much possible that such a thing would happen, only that it could take 20 more stretched episodes to happen).
In the recent episodes however, it seems that Prachi would make an effort to make Milind remember his past live (and even the doctor now says that if he keeps in contact with things that he remembers, he could regain his memory); and even though Ayesha does not like this a single bit, Prachi has now developed some confidence and takes steps that would help Milind remember (and the serial does show him remember a clouded version of past events, just that he cannot make out who the person is in his memory).

Kya Aap Panchvi Pass se Tez Hain - Not doing great

One was reading an article in the newspapers about how this much awaited show is running into problems with its sponsors; apparently the show is not drawing enough viewership and the sponsors are applying pressure to reform the format of the show. The show, even though based on an international show, 'Are (confirm)', has been modified to the Indian context, with a lot more celebrity power thrown in. Hence, even 2 ads of the show that I saw talking about some future episodes of the show had 2 more TV celebrities shown - as an example, one of the episodes had the 2 main leads of the drama 'Vidaai' appearing on the show along with most of the cast.
This is apparently something that the sponsors seem to be fulminating against; they believe that the show is focusing a bit extra on the star quotient (and these were minor TV stars, not big Bollywood stars who can be expected to lend more glamour to the show). This is also in contrast to the previous Kaun Banega Crorepati since the focus of the show remained the questions and not more about the celebrities. With a limited time format, and some focus on the star power, the show is losing out and just not generating the required viewership (although when the show was proposed, there was worry that the show will generate so much interest that the IPL matches going on at the same time - evening at 8 PM) would lose out on some of the viewership.
The worry for Star is that 30% of the episodes already have apparently been shot, and it would get difficult to rework the basic format of the show; and since a major Bollywood figure such as Shahrukh Khan is involved, re-shooting episodes would be very difficult.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Banoo Main Teri Dulhann update

A short update, Sindoora is upto her usual tactics, she wanted to get Amar out of the house and she achieved that. However, this is not enough; ever since she saw Amar, she recognized Sagar's face and the prophecy about his coming back, and is ready to kill Amar. One attempt failed, and she actually shot her man who failed to do what she wanted to do, but the second attempt seems to be successful.
The unsuspecting Amar is buried alive, and in his struggle, Divya feels Amar to be in trouble and prays that he be alright and get out of any trouble that he may be in. When Amar is struggling, a passing taxi-driver hears some of the commotion, and when he comes closer, he hears the noise of somebody struggling. Any normal guy would get spooked, with the noise seeming to come from under the ground, but he instantly (a bit surprising) recognizes that somebody is buried alive and helps Amar to come out of the coffin in which he has been buried. Amar has almost collapsed by that time, and is rescued in the nick of time. The taxi-driver recognizes Amar.

Changes in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu thi

The changes you can make in a serial when you have a captive audience are incredible. So for example, when Ekta Kapoor saw that the show was not doing so good when Smriti Irani had left, and Smriti was not doing so well in her production house as well, then it was announced that Smriti would come back to the show. In fact, there were ads taken out for this, Smriti appeared on several announcements to this regard, and this became a hot news on the media coverage of television. The more important thing was since Smriti would come back as Tulsi again, what would happen to Gautami who was playing the role of Tulsi ?
Well, this was easily done. In one climatic moment, they showed Tulsi in league with Mandira, so getting Mihir kicked out of the house and getting attracted towards Mandira was all part of a plan. In this plan, Mihir would get kicked out of the house, and then Tulsi would convince Karan to name the entire property after her. Things are progressing on this front, and then Smriti starts to appear on the serial. And how is her appearance explained ?
Well, when will amnesia be useful ? So Smriti, is still the real Tulsi, only she has lost her memory and is now staying in an ashram, and in her forgotten memory state, is in contact with both Mandira and the false Tulsi. Also, by this time, Mihir is in the bad books of everybody at home, with Karan being hostile towards him now. Now, the serial needs to bring about a Mihir Tulsi reunion soon, so Mihir is shown as suspecting that Tulsi is not his Tulsi, and soon he starts believing that she is actually Juhi pretending to be Tulsi. He makes his way back to ShantiNiketan through an accident, and gets to live in the house even though people do not actually talk to him much; even his daughter (Shobha), shown in the serial after a pretty long time, does not talk to him.
So now 2 things need to happen, and Mihir is important to both of these events - the real Tulsi needs to be recognized and get re-united with Mihir, and Juhi and Mandira need to be exposed. Mihir is already starting to move away from Mandira.

Say Shava Shava on NDTV Imagine

This is a reality singing show, and they feature some upcoming TV stars to sing. One word of caution, given that these are TV actors, and not all of them act all that way, some of their singing can leave you with a real need to switch channels. For example, Divyanka (Vidya / Divya from the Banoo Main Teri Dulhann Serial on Zee) needs badly to improve her singing. But she looks pretty nice, so a lot of people will excuse her lack of singing capabilities :-).
The show appears on Friday and Saturday from 9:30 - 10:30 PM (confirm this). The host for the show is the TV actor Ali Asgar (the devoted brother Kamal from the Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki). He also does a lot of comedy, and in this serial, every week he does a comedy act of imitating the various older stars; I have seen him doing a comedy imitation of Manoj Kumar, Shatrughan Sinha, etc
Divyanka, Moni (KT from Kyunki ..), Manish Goel, Approva Agnihotri, Juhi Parmar, Aman Verma, Sumit, Nayarani, etc are some of the actors who have tried to sing on the show. The show has also tried to get some of the sophisticated glamour in term of the judges (Simi Garewal and Karan Johar); in addition, the show also allows an evicted opponent to give a trump card in the next show, and Aman did the show after he was outed, giving a trump vote that led to a lot of controversy in the show. In the same show, when Manish Goel was evicted, there was a lot of drama - he broke down and cried that he was being made a lot of fun of and he felt humiliated (and his wife who was also there also jumped in and said that she preferred that he left since he was feeling very bad about attending the show).
This is when the host, fellow contenders and judges all got into the act of consoling, but the judges were a bit cold as well, telling him that if he wants to be a public figure, then he has to be able to take all these in his stride. And that was the conclusion of the drama. On the other hand, some of the singing has been pretty good, with Moni getting pretty appreciated for her singing; the same with Sumit. For some of them, you can feel that they have done a lot of effort. There is also more drama, since Divyanka got her co-star Sharad (from Dulhann ..) on the show to depict romance, and she got a lot of leg-pulling from the judges.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Kasturi: Twists and turns

One wonders about the twists and turns that various serials take. Kasturi has gone through so many turns and twists that anybody who had seen the serial even 1 month ago would have got confused. So, just some time back Robbie was totally against Kasturi because of the way she had treated him during his illness and had almost turned her out of the house. It was only the arrival of Mausi that changed things in the house and she took total control of the situation.
And then suddenly in the space of 1-2 episodes, everything changed. Robbie realized that he still loved Kasturi and proclaimed that he was not going to get engaged again, instead his heart still beats for Kasturi (and thank god too, since till then, the number of tears that Kasturi was forced to shed would have drowned the whole house).
But just when things were getting better, an urgent signal was sent out to Raunaq to return, and he did return, proclaiming injury and a memory loss as a result of which Kasturi and Robbie could not get together again, she had to be deputed to take care of Robbie (who is faking the injury, and Kasturi knows it); so she is trying to get everybody to know his real self and expose his fake nature. One expects that in the next few weeks, something major will happen.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Banoo Main Teri Dulhan

The serial is slowly moving in circles, with an elongated version of a love story between Divya and Amar. After their previous time in Benaras, when Divya left abruptly to honor her promise to Bindiya, they are slowly realizing that they are in love with each other. However, Divya thinks that she cannot marry Amar and hence agrees to marry Samrat, who in the meantime has made another girl pregnant (strange stories being spun around each character).
Amar has come to search for Divya, while Sindoora is on the lookout for figuring out what is going to happen; ever since she saw Divya and saw the same face as Vidya (whom she had killed), she was waiting for the emergence of Sagar in the form of a new person and then she saw Amar.
Now Amar is in the same house as Divya and Sindoora, and Sindoora has co-opted Chandra to help her in framing Amar in something as simple as a theft and getting rid of him. As soon she sees Amar, she remembers both the words of the priest that she will be defeated by these very people, and also remember the words of the dying Sagar that he will come back some day.
Right now, in order to elongate the serial, both Divya and Amar have been shown as missing each other a lot, and even though they are both in the same house (Amar in the form of a waiter), they miss each other by the barest amount; once they were actually back to back. Amar also remembers things in the house, while he should have no knowledge of the place since in this life, he has not been in this house.

Enjoy Nautanki TV