By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai, April 27 (IANS) Actor-director Rajat Kapoor hates watching TV but loves hosting and judging shows on the small screen and describes them as an "enriching" experience.
"We don't have a television at home. We never had it. So we don't miss it. It's like being vegetarian. You don't know what meat tastes like. No TV at home is to protect my family and me from an overdose of disembodied images. And you must not forget I made a film on the perils of the soap culture called 'Raghu Romeo'," Rajat told IANS.
"So, I've a thing against TV for a long time. I'd rather have my 10-year-old daughter grow up watching classic films like 'Singing In The Rain' than television," he added.
But Rajat hosts a television chat show called "Lounge" and he says he thoroughly enjoys it.
"There's potential to go beyond puerile entertainment on the home medium. For the last one year I've been hosting a chat show called 'Lounge'. It's about urban relationships and it isn't with celebrities. I get to meet all sorts of people.
"Every encounter, from a chat with your gardener to an offer from a producer, enriches you. Even a bird flying in is enriching. So, yes, addressing myself to problems pertaining to urban relationships is something I enjoy doing."
Rajat is also a judge on Sony Entertainment's "Gateway" - India's first reality show that discovers filmmakers.
"To begin with, I loved the concept. Discovering new filmmaking talent is an exciting prospect. I'm very empathetic to aspiring filmmakers. Also, an old friend Parvathi Balagopalan produces the show.
"Interestingly, Parvathi, Vinay Pathak, who did 'Bheja Fry' with me, and cinematographer Rafy Mehmood, who shoots all my films, all started their careers together."
"Gateway" will select 18 talented new directors.
"Ashok Amritraj, Anurag Basu and I are the permanent jury members. All three of us have different cinematic sensibilities. So we don't agree on anything. However, we haven't been told to create differences for the TRPs. This is a show that doesn't depend on the audiences' vote. Every week we've a guest juror. So far we had Ketan Mehta, Balki (of 'Cheeni Kum'), Sudhir Mishra and Mahesh Bhatt."
Surprisingly, Rajat has already discovered one filmmaker he would like to take home from the show.
"A filmmaker called Philip Gladstone was eliminated in the earlier rounds, but I loved what he had to say. I've asked him to write a script and make a film for me."
Tell him reality shows have reached saturation point and Rajat shrugs, "I don't have a clue about the dance and music shows. Like I said watching television is a waste of time."