Farah Khan is making a play - via her yaarana status with Bollywood's stars - to build an Oprah style show with Tere Mere Beach Mein (Star Plus, Sat-Sun, 9 pm IST).
But wait, isn't her show just another interview with film hastis? Nope - there is a theme you see. It changes every week. Sure you get the same gup-shup and shtick from every actor. The writers of the show scramble desperately to make the actors do something different and endearing every week.
But all of this is wrapped in some heart tugging theme that is supposed to provide an aakhen num hui type opportunity.
Let's take an example. I watched an episode with Vivek Oberoi and Riteish Deshmukh (the latter who for some reason is endearing himself these days to me in strange sort of ways).
The theme? Hugely regrettable cock ups! Farah started with one of her own - the one where she made fun of Manoj Kumar rather hilariously in her flick Om Shanti Om. Even more hilariously Manoj Kumar took it to heart and sued Farah.
Riteish got grilled on that silly, overly-hyped terror-tourism incident in which he accompanied his father - then Mumbai CM - Vilasrao Deshmukh on a tour of the Taj right after the Mumbai attacks. Riteish put on his best serious face and fenced at the questions with some discomfort but overall managed to escape unscathed.
Vivek Oberoi got roasted on his disastrous press conference where he outed Sallu's proficiency with a mobile phone. Farah called him on the incident, why he did it, what happened thereafter and all the apologizing he had to do. Vivek talked about denial, depression, how real men should settle differences (face to face), getting his career sidelined and how everyone still makes fun of him.
At one point he began to talk about something painful and difficult related to his mother. Farah immediately cut and smiled at the camera and said in a perky voice. "We'll learn more about it right after this Neutrogena Deep Clean break!" Hilarity!
But here is how Farah plays it: she keeps a straight face and in that no-nonsense way of hers just asks the most difficult questions without blinking. No one can seem to sidestep her questions. Yet she does enough to soften her voice that guests feel coddled by her empathy.
As if this isn't Oprah enough for you, Farah also invites an 'ordinary person' who shares in the theme with the stars. (Sreesanth was invited for this episode to discuss SlapGate, but come on now, we don't have the time or space to talk about that). The ordinary person also has a story - and its usually much bigger than the stars' stories. This becomes really interesting because the stars kind of shuffle around a bit - not sure if they should be embarrassed for whining about (relatively) smaller problems.
Then Farah asks the stars to auction off some personal stuff in the name of charity. Vivek brought his cross taveej from Lokhandwala and a huge painting by his sister Meghna. Riteish brought a jacket from his latest film Do Knot Disturb (real smooth plug bro). Sreesanth donated a horribly ugly cap.
While this show bit seems to be genuinely good-hearted, the entertainment potential (by which all things are judged on the Drift) is minuscule. However, I do recognize that entertainment is subjective - all entertainment doesn't have to be like a vodka martini, sometimes its a warm phulka puri. Like this one might be for a lot of people.
The show's official web site
Farah's show-related blog
TMBM on Facebook
Part 1 of the Cock Ups episode (find the rest with some clickety)