By Hindustan Times
I had no choice, I had to tune into India's allegedly biggest, grandest, most expensive etc etc reality show - Just Dance. That's how Star Plus describes it anyway; the channel also makes much of the fact that Just Dance is actor Hrithik Roshan's television debut.
Sorry, that should be the superstar, the god of dance, the devta of dance Hrithik Roshan's debut. Because that's the number one irritant on Just Dance: the relentless Hrithik hype. Yes, he's a big movie star and he's a great dancer and he has lots of fans. But can we please stop talking about him as if he's the best thing to have happened to the sub-continent after Mohenjo Daro? And can he stop referring to himself as a 'superstar'? (The only person who can do it and get away with it is Shah Rukh Khan and that's because he has a sense of irony; I don't think other actors even know the meaning of the word).
Just Dance opened with auditions in Delhi, Kolkata and other cities, with choreographers Farah Khan and Vaibhavi Merchant choosing the final participants. Hrithik is nowhere on the scene right now; he only appears on video screens to give 'messages' to his fans. Mostly we have Farah and Vaibhavi telling all the participants (approximately every two minutes) that they are on the biggest, grandest etc etc show and that they must try and emulate the superstar, the god of dance, the devta of dance etc etc Hrithik Roshan. (Ladies, we got it the first time, save your breath).
Irritant number two is the hundreds of times the camera shows us shots (sometimes the same shots) of audition aspirants sitting on their toes and twirling about, doing somersaults, leaping about etc. You know what? Seeing the same shots again and again and yet again can get pretty boring.
As to the dancing itself - much of it is certainly jaw-dropping, but that's because it's more like acrobatics and gymnastics than dancing (leg splits are for losers; if you can't do standing front somersaults, forget it, no one's going to take you seriously. Certainly not the god, the devta of dance).
I'm wondering what will happen when Hrithik finally appears on the show in person. Will everyone just pass out in ecstasy?
Some time back, Star Plus had gone in for a makeover with a new logo, new shows, the works. Now it's Zee TV's turn. (I have a confession to make here. I find it very, very hard to watch Zee serials. The worlds they inhabit could be on Alpha Centauri as far as I'm concerned, that's how hard it is to relate to them. But given Zee's popularity, clearly thousands of people don't think like me). So I tuned into Zee's new shows with great trepidation. The first one was something called Mrs Kaushik Ki Paanch Bahuen. Mrs Kaushik is a saas in the grand old tradition of 'saases.' She has five dutiful daughters-in-law who emerge obediently at six every morning, sari, jewellery, full makeup in place, to do puja with her. Then they stand around meekly as she berates them for not coming at first light. "Why should you wait for the clock to strike six before coming for the morning puja? Why don't you come the instant it's daylight?" All the bahus look chastened and reply in subdued tones, "We are very sorry. It shall be as you desire from tomorrow."
Yes, they're all still on Alpha Centauri (actually, why give poor Alpha Centauri a bad name?
I'm sure it's home to some seriously evolved aliens).
But at least I tried. Next week I'll try hard to watch the other new Zee show, Shobha Somnath Ki. The operative word being 'try.'