Just when I thought there was a crack creative team behind this year's guilty pleasure Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 3, the entire show took a massive hit in terms of tacky potential. How so? Allow me to explain.
Last week the producers decided to add Koena Mitra to the list of contestants. This happens all the time on other shows - although with indifferent results. On the other hand, Koena - who looks uncannily like an Indian Barbie Doll (the hairline! the eyebrows!) - instantly ignited the show.
First, there were the credentials. Koena once shook her tushy in a bid to impress Sanjay Dutt while singing deeply philosophical lines like "What good is a drunk who isn't drunk?" Later she tried to seduce Anil Kapoor by washing his car. Yes, the girl has paid all kinds of dues.
On JDJ, she instantly went about cutting contestants down to size ("I'm a bigger star than Karan") and establishing alliances with others ("Ram is so cute!"). She made a bid to steal Monica Bedi's choreographer (Javed Sanadi - arguably the most compelling dancer on this show). She did all of this with a delicious nonchalance that whetted my appetite for TV trash.
And Hells Bells! She turned out to be a pretty good dancer. Dressed in a skimpy skirt and honking white boots, she danced like a slinky and devoured the camera like Lindsay Lohan. And then what happens in the results episode? She announces to everyone that she really isn't on the show but came on as an elaborate April Fool's joke. This is a terrible prank to play on audiences! It's like telling a terminally ill kid that new tests have revealed he will live and then saying "Sorry, kid. April Fool!"
This disrespect for audiences can only be atoned for by bringing Koena back and making her a permanent fixture on this show. Until then, I'm giving the entire JDJ team the Nirupa Roy grade - i.e. C minus.
Then there was this other excellent controversy - that is being handled rather poorly I might add - Gauhar Khan despising her choreographer, the rather hapless Hanif Hilal.
Early on, Gauhar - who has a laser focussed ambition and is a wee bit self-absorbed like any good model should be - let it be known that she wasn't happy being paired with Hanif. Especially after the man went out and announced that he wasn't good at "Bollywood Dance". JDJ revolves around Bollywood dance. And Gauhar is a kick-ass dancer. So this wasn't a good match up.
Gauhar refused to make lemonade with the lemon she'd been handed (and I use the word "lemon" from her perspective here). Hanif didn't help matters by not sensing what was important to Gauhar and working to make her comfortable. This resulted in a minor credit hogging controversy and major bad blood. Gauhar kept bursting into tears and acquired the reputation of a drama queen. Hanif tried to smile through it all with grace. Both resembled a couple on a very bad blind date. Much squirm inducing fun ensued.
This storm even had its own calm before. Then Hanif messed up a song mix. This made Gauhar unhappy because she felt it was too short. And it made countless of Gauhar fans unhappy because Gauhar decided to unleash a belly dance to that song that - as a result - didn't last long. (It evoked the following comment from Saroj Khan: "Kya chali hai tumhari kamar!").
Unfortunately Hanif had injured his leg during that same routine and ended up executing a brave, if farcical one-legged dance. Later using the ghisa pitaa "kayanaath" line from Om Shanti Om, he implied that Gauhar might have ill-willed the injury on him.
Just when I couldn't get enough of all of this, the whole thing came crashing down with the producers granting Gauhar's request for a Hanif replacement.
The jury is out on this one. Not in terms of whether this was right or wrong - I couldn't care less. It's just that while the ending of this arrangement saddened me, I would like to see the new bakra that arrives.