Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil Champs reaches for the tacky stars

I normally don't tune in to SRGMP Lil Champs - but this Friday with nothing better to do, I turned it on. On the screen was a man dressed as a shiekh and a woman dressed as a belly dancer doing some ungodly dance that looked totally inappropriate as an opener for a kid's show. This instantly hooked me in and I'm glad I watched because SRGMP LC reminded me briefly of the tacky glory days of its adult predecessor.

First, I should mention that the episode I watched was a special devoted to Arabic music, which I later learned via Head was "Ghulamo ke entertainment ke liye shuru huyi". There aren't many shows on TV today that can claim this level of education mixed with entertainment.

People on this blog have talked about the Chair of Fortune. But to appreciate it you really have to see it. Its a stiff back sofa chair that sits on a rotating platform. The platform is divided into three zones - colored differently and labeled A, B and C. The contestant sits on the chair which rotates and unless it stops with your feet pointing at A, you are in deep shit.

Add to that the fact the chair is always shown with an overhead camera mounted bang on top of the occupant's noggin. This highly disorienting shadyantra is part James Bond part Austin Powers and had the effect of amusing and scaring me at the same time.

Early on, after the first contestant Vasundhara disembarked happily from her favorable chair ride, Head greeted her with "Marhaba!" Then he proceeded to say something in a horrific Bollywood pathan accent that reminded me of Amitabh Bachchan's cringeworthy turn in Khuda Gawah. Surely, I told myself, such delirious entertainment couldn't possibly last. But Head was in fine form and he obliged by keeping up that banter all night long. Thanks, buddy!

And the level of - how to say this - Arabic detail - was most excellent. For example, right below the stage two fake camels sat facing each other looking eerily peaceful. More camels were on display on the screen behind the singers during performances. A gigantic vase - ostensibly filled with madira - was propped up to the side. The kids sat around on stage couched by several mridang-shaped cushions.

A word on the judges who everyone will agree are doing a fine job of pacing the show. Suresh Wadkar - wearing a honking red angoothi - continued to provide good natured critiques to the children. Sonu Nigam - dressed in what looked like a red spaghetti strap blouse below his jacket - provided clever insights.

However, neither can escape some phaltu Drift advice. Sureshji, this whole "I will take a kichi from you" bit with the kids I'm not digging. It looks contrived at best, can sometimes look creepy and what the hell is a kichi anyway? And Sonu, try not to sneak up on a blind girl - it ain't cute.

Since I hadn't heard the kids sing for a while now I must say I was hugely impressed with Rohanpreet and Vibhore Rathod. Unfortunately the latter bit the dust - leaving some lesser impressive kids in his wake and causing Head to issue a warning to the audience to vote carefully.

Regardless of the results, the more SRGMP LC tries to reach for the spirit of SRGMP Challenge, the better it will become as a show.

Also:

35 comments:

sidekick said...

hey aspi and the drift gang

first off, heres wishing everyone a fantabulous (to use SW-ese) year in 2008.

returned to Boston a little over a day ago, sorely in need of a holiday fm a holiday. the month in india can only be described as frenetic. the BH's sister got married twice over --- a tamil kalyanam in chennai and punjabi pheras in delhi. i'm worn thin by all the shopping, preparations and merry making.

so last nite plonked like a vegetable on my couch watching the tacky arabic themed SRGMP LC was just what the doctor ordered. the BH teased that the reason i'm so pleased to be home is bcos i can watch my tacky reality TV in peace. i watched very little TV in india --- apart fm cricket which ignited some fiery passions ---and am ready to catch up.

Aspi, good to see u enjoyed the tacky show. loved the description of the chair of fortune --- a less appropriate instrument of torture esp for kids i've yet to see. The wheel of fortune was tame and boring in comparison. hope to see regular updates. i thoroughly enjoyed the show and the kids are pretty good even though the best ones keep getting voted out --- first rohit and now vibhore. loved SW's dig at the overhyped Mauli :)

Spruha said...

Happy '08 Everyone!

Great write-up, as always!

The only thing I will say is that I thought Head's dig at Mauli was fabulous! Otherwise, I'm too pissed that Vibhore is out! There's several others who should go before him!

Aspi said...

Welcome back Sidekick. And congratulations at having survived the wedding! While I was in India I saw something called Dhoom Macha De (or similar title) which promised to be a B-list, bad-taste special. Plus it had Richa Sharma. Too bad we don't get it here in the US.

Mind Rush said...

Marhaba, hum tumhara write-up se khush hua!
I am starting to really like S. Wadekar but occassionally he creeps me out. Yesterday his interactions were plain weird.

anu g said...

Sidekick, heres a big 'welcome' back to the drift. I missed u all this time. As I mentioned earlier(tho I think u had already left),u r one of the few who actually reads thru all the inane info I collect, and comments on it too. I know how happy u must be back at home, after playing the very responsible 'manni' act the last month:).Heres looking forward to more actio on the drift....I wonder where Saritha,Joules and all the other regulars are!

Priti said...

Good to see this place liven up once again - with mindrush, sidekick, spruha back. Hopefully the others will be concluding their vacation and joining us too! Megan seems to be really miffed - since she hasn't shown up for a while now.
Hey Aspi, great write up. I pretty much enjoy SRGMP LC and consider Vibhore's vote out a tragedy. Since it doesnt make sense to see him voted out, there obviously is some "game" behind it all. C'mon Aspi, let us in, pls! Curiosity is killing this cat! ;-)

Joules said...

Hi guys and gals, I am here. Just had nothing to add.

Saw Saturday's episode and Rohanpreet is a cutie. The guys all act their age while the girls act so much older. Anamika's facial expressions and the way she was dressed, Vasundhara's quick retorts are getting on my nerves.

These kids look like they are use to being in the limelight and are going to grow up to be India's version of Britney Spears.

Aspi said...

Where is Bappi when you need him? We'd have little Britneys, Lindsays and Avrils running around on the show if he'd have been around.

Aspi said...

Megan isn't pissed at us really. She's all partied out from the Holidays and is planning a first time trip to India. Hopefully she'll come back and tell us about it.

Aspi said...

Sorry for the annoying bit by bit comments - I'm suffering from a particularly severe bout of ADD this morning.

Anu g, I read all your links too. In fact, I rely on them to stay informed - they are absolutely essential to my life :)

minnie said...

agree with joules...vasundara gets on my nerves with her 'oh my god's and so does vaishali...but rohanpreet and others are cute...Anamika sings so well...she gave a mean rendition of mayya mayya ...but i still think the class of singers on star plus is much better tho they dont have sonu..(i really like him)..the girl aishwarya sang the farida khanum song so well! tho jayant chauhan is being given lot of airtime...(politically connected ,is he? they had a photo of him with smita Thakeray in a tabloid)and his appeal to Ghulam Ali made me cringe...PLease accept me as your disciple or else I'll prefer to not see the world.(he has deteriorating eyesight)...OUCH!not that he sings THAT well...

Bella said...

anyone notice Head's little ponytail? u gotta love it :)

Joules said...

OMG bella, I did not. He must have the SRK or AB version of the ponytail where the hairstyle is intact if you look from the front.

btw, yesterday on 'K for Kishore' they had Ankita, Puja, Prajakta and Aditi Paul singing duet's with the contestants and talk about 15 minutes of fame. It took me a while to recall who they were and their names.

Aspi said...

Bella I did. I was toying with the idea of creating a system to classify these ponytails based on paint brush sizes.

girlie girl said...

Great write up Aspi! I totally agree with Joules...Vasundhara is totally annoying in so many different ways. Although, I thought it was really distrubing too that Sonu sneaked up on her and picked her up! A little creepy too. Loved Head's ponytail...there were 10 stands tied to a rubber band...it was so sad! :D And, we have Sonu trying to do the Himesh-Cleavage, although since he doesnt have the man-boobs, it doenst work very well...but it's still gross considering he's on a kids show!

Mind Rush said...

I think it's cute how Sonu Nigam listens to the kids with his mouth half open because he's concentrating so hard.....

anu g said...

Sidekick, sigh, u dont seem to be impressed by my constantly mentioning how u r one of the few who reads thru all that i post blah blah....I was waiting for u to say 'oh yes, I love reading all that' so i could continue bombarding u all with the news. But Aspi, I guess u understood, so thanks....will keep u all updated.

sidekick said...

anu g, mannithuviddunga (pls forgive me, in tamil)!in all m catching up i must have missed that comment. i'm the foremost champion of yr web gossip ---second to none and that means u aspi.

defi missed u in the last few days. glad u're back now to keep us up to speed on the world of showbiz.

anu g said...

Amir and tanmay have already got a Bollywood break!http://www.india-forums.com/tellybuzz/article.asp?id=1709

sidekick said...

Looks like Tanmay may not need any of those weird businesses we keep hearing abt on the shows. Anyone else a little tired of the constant promotion of Tanmay and Vaishali's forced cuteness? Tanmay was my fave at the start coz the kid is as cute as a button but the determined cuteness spotlight has changed that. Plus, something rebels in me when the cute but less talented singers like Vaishali and Tanmay survive week after week while the more talented but more "vanilla" kids are turfed out.

anu g said...

Sidekick, even i am sick of this forced cuteness. I never thought of Vaishali as cute, and as time goes by,she is getting worse.Even I thought Tanmay was this cute little kid until I heard that he is 12. So he isnt as young as he looks.And though he sings well, he doenst have a sweet voice.I thought Vaishali sang this week's song abominably. But just becos she Ayesha danced with her(forced to),she got two As. And this 'pacifier' thing irks me the most. Sonu keeps harping that they dont do any gimmicks. Then whats this?

anu g said...

Most stars come to these shows for promotion of their movies, but say they actually follow the show and love the kids and the music blah blah.But when Nagesh Kukunoor was asked this question on a news channel, he said plain and simply 'I am here to promote my new film'. Wah! I appreciate his honesty and frankness.(Saritha, what do u say, dont u think its the Hyderabadi effect.....simple and speaking straight from the heart:)).

sidekick said...

anu g, i think sonu's constant harping on the lack of gimmicks is really aimed at himesh and his high voltage saas bahu dramas. this is nothing more than oneupmanship. this after sonu did a himesh when he outed aamir hafiz on his modest background and inability to read. pot-kettle anyone?

On another note, not sure if all the VS fans here saw this:
http://www.ibnlive.com/news/to-catch-a-star-musical-duo-vishalshekhar/56942-8-17.html

anu g said...

Heres a chance to see the Indian Idol,Srgmp and Voi contestants together on Republic day.(except for Abhijeet Sawant). That should be an interesting show.http://www.india-forums.com/tellybuzz/article.asp?id=1727

Saritha said...

Ofcourse anu,it's Hyderabadi ishtyle after all ;)....cool

When he won the Screen 'best story award',he said,'I request all my writer friends to write original scripts.We are one billion people and we can do that.We don't need an outsider to help us with them."

Any newcomer would want to chato the Producers,Awards Jury and all,but Nagesh just spoke his mind.After Iqbal and Dor,he's become one of my fav directors.

Having said that,what's with 'Bombay to Bangkok'.Did he just make a mistake that most of the talented directors tend to commit after a few hits?I hate to see Nagesh go RGV way.(although it's too early to say that)

sidekick said...

saritha, the critics seem to have savaged bombay to bangkok. i'm still looking for a film that has the same emotional draw as hyderabad blues. nagesh's films have become more technically accomplished, feature big stars and and touch on broad, universally appealing themes, but i'm still missing the hyderabad blues magic --- that sense of identification , of almost being part of the conversation. but then with every rushdie book, i look for midnight's children so maybe i'm the one who can't get past the first creative endeavor :)

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Saritha said...

Sidekick,'Hyderabad blues' is really special.I think it was made by friends,for friends,starring friends,so it just looked so real and so close to our hearts,that I suspect if Kukunoor can repeat the magic again.

Saritha said...

Hello Chakpak Team,

I visited your blog and it's nice.I don't blog about movies,just not yet.But when I do,I'll use this one,for sure :)

Thank You.

anu g said...

I have to share this with u. Smita Nandi's dad suffered a heart-attack when his daughter was eliminated from Lilchamps. Is it right for parents to get so emotionally involved with their kids performances. And how terrible for the poor child who has to put up with such stress and pressure.http://www.mumbaimirror.com/net/mmpaper.aspx?page=article§id=12&contentid=2008012420080124024820671786244d0

Joules said...

Her dad sounds ridiculous. Was'nt she getting bad comments from the judges every time. She was the weakest candidate at that point.
On top of that he says "I am left here fending for myself". Call a relative, a friend to help out.

Feel sorry for Smita though.

sidekick said...

saritha, i miss that spirit in nagesh's films. dor and iqbal seem choreographed with a mission to move the human spirit. apparently dor is a copy of a very good malayalam film.

anu g, the pressure these kids are under is insane. joules, that smita and her dad rushed to bombay at zee's beckoning at a time like this boggles the mind. what price 15 minutes of fame? l'il miss sunshine was quirky and endearing but these incidents are anything but. if u haven't seen it, i'd recommend a documentary called spellbound on kids in the spelling bee which is a fascinating watch. there is one indian dad in it, who cracks me up with the insane pressure he puts on his son.

Saritha said...

anu,that's terrible.I wish him speedy recovery.

Fridayrelease said...

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r4 nintendo ds said...

Nice observation. this TV show really rocks. Its amazing to see how these small kids show their talent to the world.