Shark Tank India can’t hold a candle to its original

Shark Tank India: Chauvinism, expression and tacky editing stop the desi show from being as good as its popular American counterpart

We waited breathlessly for the Indian version of Shark Tank to spread its net for desi entrepreneurs. It sparked off meme fests and made entrepreneurship a dinner table talk but does it live up to its original American show? The latter has been running for over a decade, powering pockets through pitches that make a saleable cut with the investor ‘sharks’. Businesses in the making have benefited. Bank balances have swollen.

Back to Shark Tank India. It is a young power cluster of piranha moneybags in Peyush Bansal, Ashneer Grover, Ghazal Alagh, Vineeta Singh, Namita Thapar, Anupam Mittal, and Aman Gupta on the panel, sharpening their canines on the ideas in incubation. Obviously, the digression from English alters the texture of chats.

The makers have grim skin in the game, but have placed an undue premium on the painted talons, tight curls, ridiculous bouffant style puff ups and four-inch tottering heels. Whatever happened to power dressing? Eye-popping yellows and greens with loud hoops and caked makeup don’t really establish the biz acumen. There is too much emphasis on arching eyebrows perfectly rather than articulating opinions on the make-or-break plans served up by the participants.

Chauvinism rules as expected when ‘Mr 20k cr’ aka Ashneer says in the first episode that no one will bait the participant, till he begins the talk. The hot gas continues to pervade, with him appearing in a mock-squat apology to all those who stand insulted on a stand-up comedy show recently.

Expressionism has been a huge part of our screen acts and the eyebrow wiggles and overt signalling between the sharks isn’t an exception. Slick editing has always been part of the US version. Diving back into our desi tank, the tacky editing can do with a decided facelift, as some of the sweep shots leave you feeling giddy. Clearly a rerun of camera angles that suffuse the saas bahu dramas, in theatrical drumming. Agreed, the tabla is an iconic giveaway of anything and everything Indian but then awfully predictable.

A sutradhar is an intrinsic Indian concept, and guess what, none is needed here! The beefy Ranvijay is wasted as the compulsive linkage factor, breathless as he rattles off the dozen-odd sponsors. If the focus had been on the meaty takeaways from the show, and not merely on the colour palette of the décor and duh, the show would have benefited tremendously.

Shilpi Madan for Deccan Herald

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