Monday, June 16, 2008

Paanchvi Pass, Celebrity Fail

There are days when one can't help be a meanie. So I'll get right to it.

On Saturday, Saifeena showed up on Shahrukh Khan's Paanchvi Pass, the show that became a cricket widow even before the sagaai.

Saif showed up looking relaxed - which in my book is: wore casual threads and didn't put gel in his hair. Kareena on the other hand looked like she had been putting herself together for a few hours. In fact, Saif looked like he had just come out of a nap now that I think of it. Must have nodded off while waiting.

Right off the bat Kareena announced that she hates reading. This sort of set the tone for the rest of the show - which was that Saif would answer and Kareena would preen.

Whenever I've seen Kareena, she has looked hugely nervous and her appearance on Paanchvi Pass was no exception. And this while she was hanging out with two of her close friends. Clearly the only time she seems to be comfortable in front of the camera is when she is acting.

Yet there is something that strikes me as endearing. Its hard to place but I keep thinking if I was a Bollywood Nagrik, I would want her to be on my side. She seems to be agreeable, loyal and hard to get mad at. Perhaps I should watch Kareena more outside movies to understand the mystique.

And while I'm at it: can everyone please stop asking her to do the "Sikhni from Bhatinda" dialog before it becomes the "Tera Kya Hoga Kalia" of the 2000s?

Finally, Saif - good job and all that. But is it just me or does the deck seem a little too stacked when celebrities show up? What's the majraa with that? On Paanchvi, the celebs can't lose. Because they are playing for charity, they get questions that look like they've been set up for the recipient. And if they run into trouble, SRK leaps in to help them.

How about this idea: see how close the celebrity gets to the magic amount of Rs 5 crores. Use normal questions and no help from SRK. If a celeb falls short, they open up their check book and make up the difference. Not only will this up the suspense but with these upped stakes, it'll be fun to watch the celebs hit the books.

Adult education is my kind of charity!

Note: I make fun of celebs because I'm a crass person who'll stop at nothing to entertain myself. The truth is that I would fare little better than anyone who shows up on Paanchvi Pass



Anonymous said...

Kareena claims that she went to harvard. When in fact she took some summer course that anyone can pay some $$ and enrol into.

Friendly Stranger said...

Hi Aspi,

Nice post....
I liked the idea of celebrities making up the difference ...lOL
This way, we could figure our where they are upto in terms of knowledge and happenings!
(And not to forget, they would get a chance to flaunt their charity work too!)
Happy blogging!

Anonymous said...

Hilarious and tremendous idea, Drift sirji... except I suspect even the charisma and dosti of SRK won't be enough to draw celebs to the show. Its one thing to mutter platitudes on charity and hang out with SRK and quite another to put your money where your mouth is!

Also, Aspi "watch Kareena more outside movies to understand the mystique" --- choke, choke - the size zero tashan and airhead aura are beginning to work their magic? Phaltu drift advice to the drift memsaab - be careful, be very careful ;)

Never Mind!! said...

That was hilarious! I just happened to read your "love commandments" too. :) I thought Kareena looked pretty casual in jeans and button down without her trademark raccoon eyes.

Anonymous said...

The only thing endearing was the togetherness vibe they had...and maybe when Kareena crooned.. 'saif is so intelligent' or 'I am so proud of Saif'..for answering basic ques.

I did get a feeling though that the celebs are briefed to take it so far and stop. I felt Saif deliberately ended it at a certain Rs level. after all, the whole point of the show is to make them dumber than a 5th grader;-)

..and Aspi your disclaimer was completely unnecessary!

Anonymous said...

lol Aspi! I have to say, I dont think there is more to Kareena than what we see on screen. She's seems like she has a very bland personality...which probably gets mistaken for shyness. lol on the went to Harvard comment. Are we sure it's Harvard Univ in MA and not some college called Harvard (which, fyi there is one in IL too!!)

Unknown said...

sidekick, good of you to stop by. You know people were beginning to ask about you a few weeks ago. I'm thinking if Saif and Shahid, who are both come across as sharp and well put together, can fall in love with Kareena, I should give her the benefit of the doubt.

m, wow that sounds like that Nederlands stamp the Bhojpuri guy issued all by himself.

meena, you are right about the disclaimer. Bad writing - I should have found a way to incorporate it into the post.

Anonymous said...

..oh no Aspi, I didnt mean that.. I only meant that you are too nice to want to apologize for making fun of celebrities...and I have no doubt my third grader could beat me if he put his mind to it!

Anonymous said...

Saif seems really arrogant...just like his black-buck-shooting father. Kareena should have stayed with Shahid. Kareena is a good actress but she seems very insecure in other circumtances.

maxdavinci said...

The guy was getting to my nerves each time he proudly jibed at the kids saying that he didnt need them.

Aspi, I really wonder how such a dumb imbo can get smart men to croon for her, guess its a case of 'opposites attract'.

no views bout the yuvi-bhajji spl on 10 ka dum?

Anonymous said...

ooo dying to watch, I absolutely adore Bebo!!! Saif just looks like a buDDha. Regarding the Harvard comment, there's a desi guy we once met who proudly announced he was from IIT. Upon further prodding- Powai? Ranchi? Kanpur? it was revealed he was referring to a community college in Chicago ;-p

Unknown said...

Yaar, meena. I'm just scared that one of these days a celeb will learn how to hit the power button on their laptop and find this blog. Then there will be a supari on my head.

Hence I'm playing the "mein tumhare jameen ki dhul hoon" card proactively.

Unknown said...

maxdavinci, welcome! I don't know the answer to your question, but there has to be something there. I can't think of anything yet. Pitu likes her - maybe she can educate us.

Anonymous said...

I could but nobody will agree with me. The thing is, of all the Bolly actresses, Bebo is the one I most identify with. In a way, I can't criticize her because I think we are very similar people.

I think she is a very sweet, honest, transparent person unlike the 'chaloo cheezes' in Bollywood. I love her unabashed pride in her family and how much she loves her mom who brought her up single-handedly. However, it is precisely her thin skin and her honesty that lands her into trouble. My mom always admonishes me by saying ' hatti ce daat, khayce vegle ani dakhvayce vegle astat' which basically refers to the advantages of duplicity. Unfortunately, I belong to the say wotever you want and screw the consequences category.

I think she is a nicer person than the likes of say, Abhishek B who after a broken engagement with Lolo, refused to work with Bebo. Or Ash, who unceremoniously cheated on Vivek and then dumped him and started a cold war with him. At least Bebo has shown class in the way she behaves with Shahid. The problem is, she never gives sound bytes that make her appear like the paragon of virtue Aby and Ash pretend to be. And I am not just picking on Abhiwarya, there is no dearth of fakes in Bollywood.

To me, people like SRK, Madhuri, Farah Khan and Kareena are appealing precisely because they don't chaato anyone and they are who they say they are, like it or leave it. Fakeness is soo unsexy in a person. My guess is that's wot men (and fans) like about her. I sure as hell know that's wot my friends love about me.

I will get off my soapbox now :-) Feel free to disagree with me, this is just my take on it.

Anonymous said...

Also, to maxdavinci, I don't really know how someone can be defined as a bimbo or wotever. There are ways to measure a person's intelligence beyond just academics or being able to answer trivia. You have the likes of Amisha Patel, who's a gold medalist from Boston U but whose definition of acting is screeching and making bandar faces. OTOH, there are stars who may not have had mcuh of an education who are extremely smart and savvy.

I work as a copywriter in advertising, and I have met smarter talents out here (people who have barely a graphic design degree or who work as stylists) who can floor me with their intelligence compared to some doofus from yet another engineering college in India.

Anonymous said...

Pitu - I usually watch Kareena on screen so I can laugh at her but like her sister, she's improving as she grows up and has genuine star quality.

That said, I cant help but think she's a bimbette precisely because of statements like "I went to Harvard when I decided I'd rather be an actor" when, like M said, she basically attended a summer session. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if she audited a summer class. That kind of makes me think less of her moohphat cred. Also, from her KJo appearances she seems like the kind of person who'd call herself frank and other people rude.

However, I've always given her and Karisma credit for making it on their own terms, Kapoor family or no. I seriously don't see anything they've ever done that depended on their surname unlike Ranbir and AB jr. and the rest of that lot. I mean, those girls really slogged it out, esp Karisma. And I can't stand Babita but she was a single mom and it cant have been easy in Bollytown. In fact, I heard Lolo started acting coz she needed the paycheck. So major props for that.

Anonymous said...

Amrita, agree with you but the Harvard thing is no different than 'Aishwarya the architecture student' when in fact she is 12th standard pass,'Sushmita-I-want-to-be-a-
journalist-and start an orphanage' who is also 12th standard pass, 'insert star kid name here- I studied at Lee Strasberg Acting Institue' and other motley stars.

Also, very interesting blog post I read on PFC (great site btw)-

Unknown said...

Aah! Interesting discussion.

A good example would seem to be Tabu, who portrays intellect on screen, but as any viewer of Koffee with Karan will tell you - roles can be deceiving. It works the other way around as well.

Who about Rishi Kapoor? If he had gotten himself a Ph.D. would he have been able to bring the same infectious vibe to Bobby? Or if Amitabh hadn't been as intense, would the Angry Young Man ever have seen the light of day?

But we are also mixing things up here: Academics, IQ and EQ. Which is fine, but it makes it a little tougher. I suspect Kareena's EQ is much higher than her IQ. Saif strikes me as someone who is the exact opposite.

Anonymous said...

I actually found Kareena a lot more mooh-phat when she was with Shahid. Don't know if is the influence of Saif or she has just matured, she tries to act oh-so-propah these days.

I prefer celeb/politicians who make mistakes or stupid comments once a while to the one's that read the teleprompter or repeat the same comment so they never say anything controversial.

Having said that, Kareena does have immense screen presence and I still prefer her public appearances than a lot of other celebs.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Aspi, I travel a lot in the summer so I'll be gone again for a longish spell soon.

I've nothing against Kareena, I'm sure she's worked hard for her successes including the size 0 figure ;). Also academic training or even smarts likely have little to do with prowess on screen.

However, it doesn't thrill me when a driven, successful woman makes an appearance on TV and limits herself to looking pretty and simpering sweetly about her brainy and brawny partner's intelligence and charm while coming off as an intellectual lightweight. Then again, different strokes for different folks :)

Anonymous said...

pitu once again brings ash to defend her so called faves.. first of all Ash did attend Architecture school for a year, she admitted it.. in fact the teachers from the college came to one TV show to surprise her..and also students who went to college with her think that is their claim of fame and go on and on about how they were in the same class

and about Kareena being oh so honest.. yeah if being catty to your competitor is being honest then that is okay but then again what is with the selective honesty.. why wouldn't she use that oh so great trait of hers on someone who she actually has something to gain from.. like her male costars and directors that she doesn't care bending over backwards for???

anyway I am at college and I will be back later with another post i have to go

Anonymous said...

M, I don't even bother replying to people incapable of objectivity, so as usual I am going to ignore you 100 percent. Keep me out of your usual rants.

Anonymous said...

well same applies to you as well...i have better things to do as well so yeah whatever *eyes roll*

Unknown said...

Geez, two of my favorite people and they don't like each other's favorites. I know neither Pitu or m can see it right now I think that exchange was very cute.

I'm probably saying this because I don't have any sisters and miss growing up around one :(

If I run into either Kareena or Aish - because you know I'm always flying high in those circles - I will mention this fantastic fanage they have here.

Anonymous said...

More reason for that disclaimer, Aspi. Once the starz find out about this site they are not going to stay away from it :)

Anonymous said...

Okay, I haven't read all of the comments.

But I just have to jump in and join in Pitu with my Bebo love.

HOWEVER, ever since she's been with Saif, I find myself more and more annoyed with her.

She used to stick by most of the things she said. But now, she disses on someone and takes it back.

Or says she wants to be Victoria Beckham and then later wonders how that idea got around the press.

But overall,
I'm a Kareena defender.

Anonymous said...

A little bit on Kareena's style - I am getting bored with the shirt and jeans look. She had a similar look when she flew to Thailand with Saif for a holiday.

Would have been nice to see her in a floral summer dress for a change.

Over Rated said...

Ok everybody. Continuing my journey as a messenger of peace, I suggest we all forget our differences and make some stupid Shilpa Shetty jokes. Or not.

and Aspi, I thought saif and Kareena were called Sebo. Or Kaif. Or khanpoor.
Saifeena reminds me of the advert Shilpa Shirodhkar (remember her, ugh)did for some horrid liquid medicine.

and now ...

Q: Shilpa Shetty's favorite western?

Ans: The Goody, the bad and the ugly.

*Runs away and hides*

Anonymous said...

Dear Ash and Kareena fans, peace!
We all Drifters love you both.

Mind Rush will be pleased to dabble in conflcit resolution...if and when asked.

Anonymous said...

Aspi, excellent post. Great observations! I have to agree with Sidekick's comments.

Here's my 3 cents on why celebs do well on the show:
1) Multiple choice questions are MUCH easier to get right. Meanwhile, ordinary participants are asked questions that involve cold recall.
2) A support person next you (however low their IQ) still reduces anxiety and boosts test scores. Saif had both K and SRK in his corner.
3) Good old fashioned leaking--as in leaking the answers before the exam.

Pitu, BTW, while IIT, aka Illinois Institute of Technologyis nothing compared to the real deal, it is not too shabby either. It's definitely not a community college. (Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with the Chicago IIT.)

Anonymous said...

I found Kareena really agreeable, even adorable, on this show, though I would have loved it if she had used her brains. I used to hate her earlier, I don't mind people speaking their mind, but they should make sense, which on most occasions she did not.

Anonymous said...

Great post Aspi. Just managed a few minutes off, and loved ur write-ups as usual!
I remember an old auntyji once telling me that u find marriages having problems these days cos women dont look upto their husbands as much as they used to earlier. Ok, before I get bashed, that was her opinion. Now I think I can understand what she meant:).
Kareena really showed her utmost admiration for Saif, and u could literally see his chest swell, feeling so macho and ideal recipe for a very happy combination.Hmm..maybe I should try that out with my husband, tho to be frank, I cant go gush-gush, and if I do manage to , he will simply choke:).
Aspi, does the disclaimer mean u actually have some stars who read the drift. Cmon, let us know!

Anonymous said...

Anu g, I agree with what you said about women in the last generation 'looking upto their husbands' but these were the same women who were too afraid to speak their mind and we're as educated as the men so they felt slightly like second-class citizens. Plus that's the way the Indian culture works (or used to work atleast) dont say your husband's name, you dont eat before you husband has eaten and so on...

Also, Aspi has said in the past that he know of some B-wood insiders who read his posts, maybe they've gotten some stars hooked on it as well just like the rest of us are?!

Anonymous said...

Taking a cue from Kareena...

"Dear Drift darling, you are soooo smart and I admire you sooo much. (batting eyelashes here). I am verrry impressed (coy smile). You are sooo brilliant (looking smitten)."

Anonymous said...

Agree with anug. What's wrong about stoking your man's ego? It is the same as your guy saying you look beautiful when you dress us.

Anonymous said...

dress up.

Anonymous said...

Ahh Mind Rush, thankee. I was confuzzled about IIT Chicago.

Joules- Bebo has always been a tee shirt and jeans person :-( I lurve her but I always feel like pointing out Lolo's awesome wardrobe to her. Bebo has only now started wearing saris and dresses here and there. Pehle to she LIVED in her tee and jeans.

Unknown said...

drift memsaab, what is wrong with you today? Do you need help with PowerPoint again?

Unknown said...

j, about that slip up. Sounds like you might have been dressed by someone special once.

Don't blame me - Freud said that.

But, must have been quite a party.

Anonymous said...

ai ai ai Driftji and Memsaab ka lurv chakkar wo bhi khullam khulla!

Anonymous said...

Tut Tut Aspi. How terrible! U r supposed to feel really macho and strong and r supposed to profess ur undying love and support for Lady Drift! Sigh! I must tell Auntyji that its not the women alone who r to blame. The men also no longer appreciate the fluttering eyelashes women:).Kya Zamana Aa gaya hai:(.

Anonymous said...

OMG speaking of arrogance...check out Ms. Kapoor's behavior at Paanchvi Pass shooting!

Anonymous said...

That doesn't sound arrogant so much as insecure or vain. Trust SRK to switch off the screens hehe.

Anonymous said...

Sad that Meg & Pitu are fighting. I heart both of you lovelies, let's hug it out.

That said, I have a soft spot for Kareena because when I was in college, I was constantly told that I look a lot like her. Alas, times change - but I had to learn to live with my humshakl. And I think she's grown leaps and bounds.

It's really quite an interesting case study to think about an actress who is afraid/reluctant to show her true personality in front of crowds. I have more thoughts, but no time to elaborate.

PS - Pitu, I'm in advertising too!

Unknown said...

Sounds like Kareena-monitor = Hrithik-mirror. I remember reading an interview with Esha Deol where she once figured out that Hrithik spends a lot of time in front of the mirror.

That was old days though - things might have changed (I say this before megan shows up and kicks my ass)

Anonymous said...

Sania, a fellow desi in Advtg!!! Yess, Bhagwan ne meri sun li!! Pray tell, Creative or Accounts? Which agency? *is tamatar red with joy*

Sania said...

LOL Pitu - there do seem to be so few of us, right? And the ones that do exist are such.. non-desi desis.

I'm account mgmt (most-uncreative) at an agency in NYC. Message me to find out which one - don't want to post it.

Anonymous said...

Hehe here's my email addy- pitusultan at Drop me a line?

Unknown said...

Yaar, we have two bright lights in advertising. So yeh blog ke baari mein kuchh ideas videas hai ke nahi? Anything I can do to make it better?

I'm getting a little bored with the whole Go Holland! look.

Anonymous said...

Pitu / Aspi - thanks for that link coz it illustrates something that I've been thinking about viz. the "smart actor".

I think it's two different things for an actor to be an intellectual or involved in world affairs, etc and for them to be "smart" as an actor.

My favorite examples are George Clooney and Cate Blanchett. Clooney is really smart (more than most other actors anyway) when it comes to world affairs and things like that but I don't think he's all that when it comes to the craft of acting (even if I do heart him and his movies). Blanchett on the other hand, I have no idea if she even knows about Darfur or the geopolitics of oil but if you've ever seen that woman discuss acting theory, it's a complete treat. I mean, she knows her stuff!

Similarly, we have those actors from the 70s in India, Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Jaya Bhaduri, Shabana Azmi, etc, who may or may not know the price of onions but do know a thing or two about acting - arguably some more than others.

Then you have the current crop of actors who know neither. They're basically kids who got cast coz they looked pretty and then learned to either sink or swim on their own. They attend "acting workshops" which teach you how to dance and face the camera. It's the Sridevi school of acting - practice will either make you perfect or else no one will care to let you hang around long enough to get your game in order.

This, according to me, is a giggly moron who comes across as intelligent on screen: coz the intelligence the camera looks for in actors isn't of the gradable variety.

There are always exceptions of course - this isn't a very precise thesis - like Natalie Portman, etc.

Unknown said...

Amrita, I am agree.

Meryl Streep - great example of a smart actor. And that might pretty much be it.

I do believe that smarts outside of acting is defined differently for a very visible profession like acting. So people might think Larry the Cable Guy is actually very smart about life because he tends to espouse a view that they agree with. But they might see Clooney as being dumb as a doorknob or even worse, pretentious.

In general though actors deemed smart are more interesting to watch in bad movies than those that are not. Because they put so much thinking into their roles, I am always curious about what they will do with that particular character.

Christian Bale and Russell Crowe are both good examples. I love Crowe's thought process especially around how he approached his role in Master and Commander. I can see how it would work. So even in a choppy movie like 3:10 to Yuma, they were both fascinating to view.

Anonymous said...

what is it about acting that tends to fascinate us re the IQ of the person? We dont speculate this way about other public entertainers like say, rockstars.

is it because its difficult for lay people to get our head around the fact that someone who can protray Daniel Pearl's wife so well, does not need to be well-informed on the middle east or need not even have the strong empathy towards the character once she is done with the part.

we know in theory that these two 'smarts', as Amritha says, are different but we still seem to constantly look for both from actors.

How about your average professional? say, the IT guy sitting across from me. I would find it hard to sustain a 10min conversation with him outside of work...but put a piece of code in front of him and he will
kick ass:-) same concept of different 'smarts'.

Anonymous said...

well put meena.
But the problem is a lot of them have neither the talent nor the intelligence.I mean most actors have been in the industry long enough and if u cant learn the ropes of the trade after all these years...well then you are beyond hope! Its also coz we see them act terribly over and over, we tend to exaggerate their minute improvement and ultimately start believing they aren't half as bad.

Unknown said...

Hey ritha!

It does take a certain amount of articulateness to manage your image - or as people in India like to call it: brand. But because acting is such a visual medium we tend to project.

So as a kid when I saw Prem Chopra murder people, I thought that was Prem Chopra. At interviews and such, I was curious to see what he was really all about. I think this curiosity - which wouldn't extend to say a normal IT coder in an office - is what drives people to make value judgments about actor's smarts.

It is terribly unfair in some way - and I think that might be what meena is referring to.

Ritha, correct on those minute improvements looking like big strides.

Anonymous said...

Meena - great point! I think a lot of it has to do with resentment. Here's someone who earns huge bucks for "reading lines" and then they complain about how difficult their lives are because of media intrusion etc.

That's not always fair of course. Some people have actually worked really hard to get where they are, and acting requires a great deal more than just standing in front of a camera and making faces. But it's apparently a difficult thing for people to accept and not made any easier by the actions of certain celebrities (or should i say "celebrities"?) who're really just posers.

IMO, it's made a lot worse by the fact that it's now in fashion to have a conscience and to parade it front of the world - problem being not everybody actually walks the talk or understands the nitty gritties and thus come off sounding really dumb.

Plus, celebrities whether male or female are objectified all over the place - and it's a little hard to objectify someone while also acknowledging their brains. Can be done, of course, but its usually not the case.

Anonymous said...

amritha, I was thinking of that too.. the whole actors as political activists thing.

now, just because we want to 'project' as Aspi says, we tend to credit them with a lot more passion and wisdom than they may actually posess wrt their particular cause. What they have that other people dont is the public visibility, resources and power this gives them to start a discussion.

..apart from this, are Sean Penn or Barbara Streisand or George Clooney any more passionate about liberal causes than some other liberals in a different walk of life?

Unknown said...

Since I'm not exactly an activist myself I don't have much right to say this but I'll do it anyway.

The danger with celebrity causes is that they are hugely cocooned from a normal life because of the zone they live in. And so instead of rolling up their sleeves and putting their time (and more importantly their celebrity) to good use, you'll lots of foolish causes that are way down on the list of really Saving Our Habitat (also called Save the Earth by many people).

Ultimately very few people are in a position to make an objective assessment of "smartness". Most often it boils down to "who do I agree with".

But if Bruce Willis interrupts himself briefly from trying to get 20-somethings in bed and decides to make a statement to carry on the war, is he any less smart? Misguided according to me, yes. But not smart? Who can tell?