Poonam Saxena: The royal wedding live? Snub it, I say

By Hindustan Times

Even if your interest in the British monarchy is minus zero, you still couldn’t have missed the breathless reportage on the impending royal nuptials (I don’t know why, but if it’s ‘royal’ it has to be ‘nuptials’).

The wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton will be telecast live by TLC and BBC Entertainment next week. But obviously there has to be a run-up to the, er, nuptials. TLC’s run-up consists of a week of royal-themed programming, but BBC Entertainment’s run-up is more in the nature of a marathon: the channel has lined up 16 days of documentaries on British royalty. So if there’s anything you never wanted to know about the assorted princes, princesses, dukes etc that make up the British royal family, this is your one-stop shop.

I have to confess to a fairly low level of interest; nevertheless I dutifully tuned in to the first documentary on BBC Entertainment and watched The Royal Family at Work. Now this may sound odd, considering the British monarchy basically lives off the taxpayer, and doesn’t really work the way we lesser mortals work (do they ever face irate bosses on gloomy Monday mornings? Can they be retrenched? Will they ever get a ‘D’ in an appraisal form?).

But apparently (at least according to this documentary) even though they work in a ‘family firm’ and have a lifetime security on their ‘jobs,’ they work very hard indeed. They have hundreds of engagements in a year associated with the various charities they support, plus they make appearances at various places around the world, from telecom fairs in Spain to military bases in Iraq. (None of this comes particularly cheap by the way; a recee trip to the US by the Prince of Wales’ staff cost a modest 45,000 pounds).

So what do all these engagements actually amount to? From what I could make out, the royal personages have to dress up nicely (or what passes off as nicely in their world; I mean, I’m a bit nonplussed as to how to describe the Queen’s hats), dash off to all sorts of places by helicopter / plane / fancy car, then get off and mingle graciously with the commoners. If not the Gods of Small Things, they are certainly the Gods of Small Talk (though according to them, working the crowds is a lot of work. I’m sure it is, but it probably helps that the crowds are usually dizzy with excitement because they’re meeting a royal in the flesh and blood. Or maybe they’re just dizzy because they’re curtseying non-stop).

In any case, I don’t think there’s any way we’ll be able to escape the, er, royal nuptials. Steel yourself for a day of fulsome gushing, gusty sighs and funny hats.

Till then, I’ll catch up with some other programming back home. Sony Entertainment Television has decided that crime thrillers are where the action is: CID, Khotey Sikkey, Crime Patrol, and now, a new show called Surya the Cop. In Surya, TV actor Harsh Chhaya plays the role of a blind cop who is no longer with the force but plays mentor and guide to other younger officers of the Crime Branch. As I have often maintained, it is always nice to see serials that do not revolve around shaadi and sasuraal, so for me, that’s an automatic pluxs point for this show. Even though the cops in Surya behave as if they’ve just walked out of an American crime show, never mind. I’ll take a thriller over a mangalsutra saga any day.

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