Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rating Indian Idol 4

If Indian Idol 4 were a map this year, someone seems to have gone over it with an eraser and deleted all the talent markers. Sure the producers have been working hard to jazz up the contestants - I once saw a contestant strumming a guitar on a decked out moon - but there is no real replacement for voice and personality. Add to that those nutty, commercial inserts that stop the show dead in its track and bump up the eye roll factor.

Fortunately, the Indian Idol staff in front of the camera is having a banner year - having risen to the challenge of providing the entertainment missing from the contestants. Let's see how everyone has been doing, shall we?

The Hosts

We've talked about Meiyang Chang before and his hiring as co-host was an early win for the creative team. But just as importantly Hussain Kuwajerwala has filled in the considerable void left by last year's co-host Mini Mathur. Its hard to walk the line between classy and goofy bindaas - but Hussain seems to be able to do that, pulling off even the most staged dialogs with just the right amount of cheese. Week after week he shows us what a great clothes hanger he is - be it an outfit that is innovative or just plain confounding.

Best of all, he's great at hustling eliminated singers with respect for both the contestants and us, the viewers, who have to put up with the same sob drama every week.

Anu Malik

By embracing his inner curmudgeon and positioning himself as the blustery but loving Daddy, Anu Malik made himself entertaining on Indian Idol 4. He's still maddeningly inconsistent in his judgments - picking people rather than performances. But its part of his allure - and because he's not exactly separating the wheat from the chaff, how he judges is immaterial on this show.

Off and on he'll lose his temper - especially when he senses baghawat on the show. But for the most part he comes across as a short tempered, yaar-dildaar types. And this is good positioning - because look how many people like Salman Khan.

Javed Akhtar

This year's most entertaining hasti on the show, Javedbhai cut loose this year in the auditions. Faced with a sea of very modestly talented hopefuls, Javedbhai let a bunch of them have it. (Pri has a great collection of Javed zingers on her blog)

Lately he's developed the "Javedbhai Look of Encouragement". This look basically says "we all know you are as close to being a real singer as a watermelon is to a banana" while wonderful words of cheer come out of his mouth. He retains a sweet articulateness (his mini-speech at his birthday celebration left me touched) but also unleashes his ire periodically. "You kept your feet within your sheets" he admonished poor Kapil Thappar once "but that sheet wasn't spread out much in the first place!"

Speaking of which, Javedbhai: that Kapil is such an endearing boy - leave him alone, na?

Kailash Kher

Kailash fills the spot of "giant singer hasti" on the show. But he's turned out to be such a Pillsbury doughboy that he simply won't pull anyone up - even when the contestant has clearly declared war on sur. This leaves me disappointed, not to mention feeling cheated. What is the point of having a mahasinger on the show (and clearly Kailash has proved that he is), if all he will do is find words to avoid saying the inevitable, which is: you suck!

Heck, if we needed a cheerleader on the show, we could just have hired Celina Jaitley and given her pom poms.

Sonali Behl

Sonali's done what I didn't think a woman could do on Indian Idol - held her own without shedding class. It helps that she is majorly gorgeous, but more importantly her no-nonsense approach means that no one walks all over her.

Key to all of this is how she's placed on the judges panel. Pushing Anu Malik to the end of the table means Anu has only one alliance he can form - that with his neighbor Kailash Kher. And Kailash is too nice to gang up on anyone. Shorn of allies, Anu is much easier to keep in check and because Sonali sits right down the middle she just turns her head around towards Javedbhai and Kailash to recruit them to her point of view.

Did I also mention that she looks hot?


maxdavinci said...

With the SRGMP finale this week all eyes are on Idol. Sadly even guys like Asma could easily give them serious takkar.

I heard there is a dance show coming on Zee with MithunDa and there one one ColorsTV with Jeetuji shayad woh dekhna padega!

Anonymous said...

aspi, didnt think you were keeping up with the show.I think I tuned into srgmp about three times and every time my eyes hurt from the outfits head was wearing (did you check out one where his nipples were clearly demarcated? yech). Indian Idol I saw twice just to watch chang. not one contestant you could root for.

Not been back since..I think head's outfits alone rate a post from you. AGree with you about sonali.

musical said...

If i ever watch this show, it will be for Meiyang Chang :). Does one get to see some jalwas of the mahasinger's singing? And you are so right about Sonali :).

Anonymous said...

Right about Mrs. Drona's style/

Unknown said...

The mahasinger does get up sometimes to sing. In fact, he once complained about how he was treated in the industry that might be worth referring to someday :)

meena, I remember that outfit. Unfortunately I didn't do a SRGMP post that week. Otherwise we'd have had fun with it.

max, the show is called Dance India Dance.

musical said...

Ouch! Did the "head" actually wear that stuff! *shudder*

Btw, reality TV touched an all new low with this dud on NBC called "Mama's boys". The first time i came across it, one of the contestant's Mom was spewing racist s$*t, and then y'day when i switched the TV on, there was more ridiculous stuff going on.

I am gonna' check out Yashita's performances on SRGMP, though.

Unknown said...

mama's boys, eh? But in general Reality TV is probably responsible for the nightmare year TV had in 2008. Add to that the writer's strike and things got really bad.

Ironically enough all this means there is less money to go around. Which means the first type of shows to get financed are the cheaper ones - yep, Reality shows!

Joules said...

I think Indian Idol's problem was the number of contestants they selected in the first round. I believe there were like 32 contestants. You could not differentiate the better ones with the horrible ones. As a result some of the better ones may have gotten voted out.

Really tired of reality TV. Haven't followed SRGMP or Indian Idol or Nach Baliye seriously this year. BTW, the NB4 drama was even more staged with the regular antics of contestants saying they wont dance and the judges walking out.

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Anonymous said...

oooooooopppppppppssssssssss aspi ye kia hua yr............rajdeep eliminate ho gaya.............its really very bad............

Unknown said...

I saw that episode. There is a reason that happened I think. Let's see if I can get to it in a post one of these days.

Pitu said...

Joules: I have been following NB religiously from the 1st season and even I stopped watching this season's NB. It was utter trash :-(

Anonymous said...

hey aspi h r u??????? by the way aspi wats da reason

Unknown said...

No "reason" - just a theory. Coming up, coming up.

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