IPL over, time to sing, dance, romance again!

By Hindustan Times

Hindi entertainment channels can finally get back to work instead of collectively holding their breath and waiting to exhale when IPL is over. At least two channels (Colors and Sony) have big-ticket shows lined up now that the cricket marathon is coming to a close on the 27th of this
month.

Colors is going to telecast the dance reality show, Jhalak Dikhla Ja, and it looks like Madhuri Dixit will be the chief attraction. The channel has been showing so many Madhuri-Jhalak… ads I’m worried we may not want to see her once the show begins since we’ve already watched her and watched her and watched her and watched her till we couldn’t watch her any more.

(Incidentally, this is the third international-format reality show that Colors has taken away from Sony — the other two being Fear Factor, which became Khatron Ke Khiladi, and Bigg Boss. What’s up, Sony?)

The fiction show that Colors is planning to launch looks very promising — it’s called Madhubala – Ek Ishq Ek Junoon, is set in the film industry and is allegedly based on the Madhubala-Dilip Kumar love story. Now if the producers and directors and scriptwriters manage to mess up even this one… well, in the world of Hindi serials, anything can happen. A cracker of an idea can end up in the dustbin. I hope Madhubala proves me wrong.

And as we are on Colors, the channel’s flagship show, Balika Vadhu, has just completed 1,000 episodes. That’s quite a feat in these ruthlessly competitive times.

Child bride Anandi has grown up, got dumped by her husband Jagiya, who’s run off with another girl, found support in her sasural, especially from her grim Dadisa, and forged an identity of her own by becoming the sarpanch of her village.

Now the village has become a district and there’s a tough new Collector in the area (Shivraj Shekhar). The sarpanch-Collector romance looks like the latest chapter in the Balika Vadhu saga, and the serial’s milestone episode was woven around Anandi’s first meeting with the dashing Shivraj. She’s in a tonga-like contraption, the horse bolts and gallops away madly, Anandi is in danger of falling off and getting crushed, but is rescued by Shivraj. He manages to quieten the horse, swings himself into the saddle, scoops up Anandi and they trot away to safety.

This could have been the kind of dramatic, romantic sequence straight out of the fevered imagination of an admittedly not-very-original romantic fiction writer. But it had potential: Anandi — and the viewers — could have both been swept off their feet.

Instead, the whole sequence — the out-of-control horse, Anandi trying to save herself, Shivraj rescuing her —- was dragged out and stretched for so long that many viewers might have actually dozed off in the middle (perhaps thinking that it would take another two or three episodes before Shivraj pulled Anandi out of danger).

Worse, once Anandi was rescued, she recounted her rescue saga to everyone, and so we had to see the whole sequence all over again.(The sweetest part of the episode: the once dreaded Dadisa dreaming of Anandi marrying Shivraj).

Meanwhile, Sony is beginning the sixth season of its singing reality show, Indian Idol, plus a new serial called Byaah Hamari Bahu Ka. Indian Idol is a great property and still has many loyal fans. But I have no idea what Byaah Hamari Bahu Ka is about. And I’m not sure I want to know either.

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