Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Judge Javed ko bahut gussa aata hai...aakhir kyon?

Sidekick returns to check in on Mission Ustaad

Aspi has acknowledged on a couple of occasions now that he misses TV’s resident fighter cock. I’ll admit that I’ve missed Javed Akhtar’s (The Drift’s Judge Javed (JJ) - our favorite angry man) spectacular phataakas too! So with not much hope beyond some entertainment from JJ’s angry antics I went back to Mission Ustaad.

The show was the same utterly futile formula of combining a social cause --- educating the aam janta about the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDP) —with madhur sangeet. “Same old, same old”, I thought and in some ways this was comforting.

Lara still looked utterly glamorous, Rahman was still awkwardly inarticulate (but much less so than the beginning), the polished Simone Singh still wore strange anarkali kurtas and the singing of the four jodis was still top notch.

But...here is the giant let down: JJ seemed to be imbued with the kindest and gentlest of spirits. I was astounded, my jaw dropped and I was filled with bitter disappointment. I come back to see Mohammad Ali’s TV equivalent dance like a butterfly and sting like a bee and he turns out to be a lamb, bleating the most stultifying saccharine compliments.

Get a load of this: he actually praised Kailash Kher - his erstwhile worthy opponent in the ghamaasaan yudh of egos - for being a fine human being whose noble thoughts rang through his desh ki dharti type music. I shook my ears to make sure I was hearing right and replayed that segment to confirm. Agar JJ ko gussa na aaye, toh dekhne ka faida hi ka?

Well, what brought about this transformation? I’d be holding back much valuable information if didn’t reveal the objective of the weekend’s shows - to spread the message of universal love and bhaichaara. Nope, that is not part of the UN’s MDP; those number eight and have clearly been exhausted in eight weeks of programming. This is TV after all and what show that can draw a half way decent audience can terminate in eight or nine weeks?

I’m not running down the need for bhaichaara, but here is an objective that any real project other than a TRP grubbing TV show would have a huge amount of difficulty operationalizing and developing meaningful metrics for. It of course afforded me much entertainment, though it was overshadowed greatly by the emergence of Saint Javed!

Not sure if it was a latent streak of masochism or a healthy streak of desi skepticism, but I returned to Saturday’s show to follow through on JJ’s startling transformation. I needn’t have worried - my faith in basic human nature was restored in resounding fashion.

After the first jodi’s (Naresh Iyer and Shweta Pandit) rendition of “Pyar karne waale pyaar karte hain shaan se”, a sher ke tarah garajta hua JJ emerged. “You make lofty speeches, yet you sing populist songs that represent the lowest common denominator. You have no conviction in the goals and yet you hope to reach the UNO with these pathetic offerings” ...he thundered at the dumbfounded young jodi. I leaped off my couch in joy screaming - he’s baaaaack! The light of battle was back in JJ’s eyes and the glint of enjoyment was back in mine.

I paused the show to stick a bag of popcorn in the microwave. Entertainment should be savored with all the trappings! For the rest of the evening, JJ did not disappoint - he was the ultimate equal opportunity sher. He tore into all the jodis equally indiscriminately!

We even got a magnificent speech on how their choice of songs was driven by populism and not fervor for the noble cause and that it was his duty as a judge to expose their duplicity! I clapped wildly and wished I could whistle. This was vintage JJ --- the Sage Durvasa of TV but a wonderfully witty one to boot.

Before I get completely carried away by JJ fever I should add that the Bhramastras (original compositions sung by the jodis) were pretty good and perhaps musically I’d missed something by boycotting Mission Ustaad for so long. I’m away on a trip next weekend, but I just may come back to catch up on the next khufiya objective (which we’ve been assured of by the suave Simone Singh) and hopefully more enraged JJ. I’ll keep you posted.

Also:

6 comments:

Aspi said...

Gang, looks like Google is modifying its comments interface as I'm typing this.

If you are logged in to Blogger, cool - no change it seems. If you use openid like Amrita does, no problems either.

Rest of everyone use the "Name/URL" section and keep your URL empty, its optional.

Some of you also use Anonymous and type in a name later which is fine also.

Aspi said...

sidekick, great to have you back on on the Drift doing MU.

You have that wicked tendency I like a lot - which is to take something ho-hum and have fun with it.

Anonymous said...

Mind Rush sez:

Sidekick, entertaining read! I do wish to offer an answer to your "mind-probing" title question.

I once read Javed Akhtar's autobiography. He lost his mother early on and then longed for his dad's approval.

The One Minute Therapist thinks that JJ has turned into his own critical father. That's who you see thundering at the participants. Makes me think he must be very critical of himself too.

anu g said...

Sidekick, what great fun Ive had reading ur post.I can imagine u rubbing ur hands in glee as JJ finally did what u wanted him to do:).
And as I mentioned earlier about Aspi;s post on Dmd, why do I ever need to watch MU, when u can provide a complete-entertaiment-post instead. Keep posting!

sidekick said...

Mind Rush, perhaps not a surprise then that JJ was one half of the famous duo that created India's angry young man. it is interesting that at least as a dad JJ seems to have slayed his demons --- Zoya seems the prototypical angrezi educated young indian, reluctant to speak in hindi lest she embarrass herself (I think!).

maybe JJ would benefit fm advice fm the love chakker?

Saritha said...

Great write-up,sidekick.I just finished reading it.

If not for you,no one would have even bothered to watch this show:)

And may be like you said,Mindrush can send JJ some flowers today and also a dard-e-poem.How abt a jadoo-ki-jhappi?