Chat shows, a damp squib

Do we have chat shows in India that kind of make the cut, with on point, thematic, sarcastic jokes; timely puns, witty repartee? Nah. Celebs need to move beyond their oiled PR machinery, to be able to speak their heart and mind and win us over

It’s a beautiful brew of character and theme that make chat shows interesting. Of course, what sets the vibe is the electric approach of the host in drawing out the people on the couch.

Koffee with Karan comes nowhere close to meriting a seven up in its 7th season Sure, KJo is laughing his way to the bank with the moolah-minting deal with Hotstar. Honestly, there was a niche for an A-grade celebrity studded bubble headed show, and he filled it. The first episode dropped a winner, with actor Ranveer Singh with his starry suit and razor-sharp mimicry act, playing to the gallery midst rather annoying cackles on the couch from the mint new bride Aalia Bhatt-Kapoor. RS stole the show. Literally. With his hairy sulks, lazy charm and on point ability to imitate – something that was a secret from the audience, just like his best-buddy link with ABK.

KJo’s kid really didn’t have anything exciting to offer in terms of conversational worth.
The second episode dropped too with sexy dodos in Jhanvi Kapoor and Sara Ali Khan. It was floozy banter, with Sara playing the underdog willingly, tolerating snide comments from KJo as he gaudy-glowed with JK. Pathetic, how Sara’s desperation to work with Dharma Productions made the Ivy league student lap up the second-hand treatment.

While KwK has the potential to emerge as the kickass talk show, full of sarcasm and one-liners, topical and tantalising in their tidbits, it falls flat on its face, reduced to a filmi date generator — the episodes only create vanilla chatter in pairing up people on the couch — the Sara Ali Khan-Kartik Aryan dalliance. Now the lady has cutely announced here her lil heart’s desire to date South star Vijay Deverakonda. Aw!

Remember the well-researched format and the sparkling whites in yester-year actress Simi Garewal’s Rendezvous? At least she pulled in the lesser-known facts from the mix of achievers she invited to sit on those spotless sofas. Dipping into what Sridevi’s mom told her on her deathbed, about dating a married man (Boney Kapoor), or the humble beginnings of steel tycoon Laxmi Mittal in Kolkata.
Even the dubbed laughter in Shekhar Suman’s Movers & Shakers was forgiven as he took sly potshots at whatever was happening in current news.

Anil Kapoor’s son Harshvardhan chatted in an interview about film makers asking him to sound dumb in interactions. The dumbing down will supposedly knit him to the viewers, possible fans. If he sounds too intelligent, he will alienate his audience. His sister Sonam Kapoor certainly has no competition in the D-department. “Biggest movie stars ever were all fashion icons. The masses like me as a regular girl but the classes like me as a fashion icon. I’m catering to both sides,” she said on KwK.

There are others too who giggle inanely displaying big teeth. Kajol dissolves into hysterical laughter, while you’re wondering what’s the joke. Sonam’s speech comes across as highly doctored, vetted, but alas, still no pearls come out. Neha Dhupia’s forgettable chat fest in #NoFilterNeha brought in a tailing category of stars. Take the Kapil Sharma show, replete with objectification of the other sexes, ridiculing cross dressing. The sexist complexion still appeals to a large section of the telly watching audience. The timely, almost mandatory appearance of filmstars on the eve of their next release panders to the fandoms. The content is boorish and borders on crass most of the time. But the searing reach of the show into the hinterland makes it a ‘hamaar cinema’ show with the celebs floating in from all levels of stardom.
Now once-‘actress’, now author-columnist Twinkle Khanna has begun veering a few conversations through The Icons. But then a Sushmita Sen has always been open about her love life – candid about being in relationships with married men — making a near-mistake thrice with three prospective matches earlier. (Whether Lalit Modi (of IPL infamy) makes the cut remains to be seen).

What makes chats interesting? The energising yet undiscovered aspects to a personality, the celeb’s ability to give headline worthy quotes.

Shilpi Madan for Deccan Chronicle

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