Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 3: Rancid with the stars

What makes Sony TV's Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa 3 head and shoulders above all reality competitions this season in terms of matching talent with tackiness? Jealousy, backstabbing, rejection, fake fainting, simmering "dostana" - and we're talking about just the preview of the show here.

At the core of JDJ 3's new found goodness is a Bigg Boss like shudyantra. All contestants - and we'll get to them in a bit - must rehearse at a place called The Jhalak House. Rooms are assigned to contestants for rehearsals, although sometimes it seems just a purdah seperates them.

The Jhalak House - or The Ninda Ghar, as I call it - is rigged with cameras and microphones. Despite the fact that the contestants are aware of this, such is human nature that The Ninda Ghar, expertly aided by convenient editing, picks up all kinds of interesting shit each week.

Amidst watching the minor celebs trying to stick it to everyone else, I mean - enjoying the spirit of dance, the feed from The Ninda Ghar keeps the show motoring along beautifully.

How exactly is this accomplished by the whip smart creative team of JDJ3? Simple: at the slightest hint that the show might drag, they pull out a clip or two of one or more contestants behaving badly. This is mixed with standard issue "know the person behind the celeb" sobstories and light-hearted clips that paint the celebs in positive light - the latter shrewdly done to make no celeb feel particularly hunted down.

But let's make no mistake. The purpose is to squeeze tacky drama out of everyone.

Thank goodness some people have my ethics when it comes to entertainment! As it turns out, this is an unscrupulous but singularly noble purpose because it entertains me. JDJ3 team, congratulations!

Let's talk about JDJ3's wonderful judges shall we? There is Vaibhavi Merchant - who I remain a huge fan of. She combines style, good looks and genuine dancing talent with a great urban Hindi dictionary. Words like "Maa Kasam" tumble out of her mouth. But because she's generally full of grace, she doesn't come across as sadak chaap.

Vaibhavi's professional nemesis Saroj Khan is also a judge. Saroj is deliciously ruthless and entirely inconsistent. Often you get the feeling that she is just waiting to pounce on someone. Often you get the feeling that the person might be Vaibhavi.

This ticking time bomb situation keeps me engrossed whenever Saroj picks up the mike.

Hilariously, once Saroj judged a show called Ustadon Ke Ustaad in which she braised a bunch of stand up comics so badly, that the comics staged a walkout. "We don't want Saroj judging our act" they whined. "She's a choreographer. What does she know about laughing". I recall this story to illustrate that Saroj Khan can elicit entirely irrational reactions from people she throws under the bus - such is the power of the Force within her.

Finally there is Juhi Chawla. You remember the ditzy, all-loving character with the laughing voice she played on Luck By Chance? Let's just say that wasn't a stretch for Juhi at all.

Now, on to the contestants: JDJ3 combines mostly terrific choreographers with C-list celebs. The latter group has some good dancers and some terrible ones. They all seem to know where they stand - but that still doesn't prevent them from tightening their facial muscles and producing a fake smile whenever they get marked down.

A number of amusing celebs have already bit the dust. Once Bhagyashree and her partner Tobby did a wonderful dance. "What was the concept? What is that thing on your head?" Vaibhavi questioned Tobby. "I'm a bee" explained Tobby "and I was buzzing around her (pointing to Bhagyashree)". Vaibhavi shook her head and rolled her eyes. Hilarity! Both got marked down and have since bit the dust.

Sadly I didn't see Anand Raaj Anand around the last time either. Once, after scoring some low points, ARA looked into the mike and launched into this hilarious vote appeal: "If you understand a father who can't dance but will do anything to please their kids then vote for me!" Later, ARA did a killer hobbit-like Govinda dance. Sadly, he got kicked off.

But even without both of these, there are plenty of entertaining people around. Brilliantly the producers have invited Koena Mitra to join the party in mid-show. We'll talk about all of them some other day.

JDJ doesn't nearly have the juice of its phoren counterpart - Dancing with the Stars. For example, Dancing... maintains an impressive roster of C-list celebs whose calls it won't return. Yet if JDJ maintains this hugely entertaining pace, it won't be long before it gets there.


Lin said...

Speaking of Saroj Khan.

Just in case you haven't seen this, aspi. This is pretty old. Back when Saroj Khan was doing Nach Baliye.

The end with Saroj Khan's comments are freaking hilarious.

Unknown said...

Lin, you missed giving us the link. But anything Saroj Khan related - I will check out.

Lin said...

Oh, hahahah. sorry.

It's a spoof.

BTW. What makes you think Parul faked fainting? I admit I don't watch the show as a whole. And I don't really understand a lot of what's going on.

But I can't say for sure she faked it. I think it may be possible since she messed up on her spins at the end, and just decided--let me faint. But I mean, how does that thought go through all of a sudden?

Unknown said...

Heh heh - that dude who did Dharam looks like Prem Chopra.

Perhaps I'm being harsh on Parul. But its more fun for me that way. You know how in soccer when someone fouls a striker, the striker takes a dive to get referee sympathy? Parul's fake fainting looked like a soccer dive to me.

Teddy said...

Hey Aspi, have you been watching Dance India Dance? I've been watching it off and on, and it's got all kinds of stuff going on too, although it doesn't quite reach the tackiness of JDJ.

Somehow the Nritya Gurus always make sure that the girls are dong jhatak matak "item numbers", and Mithun Chakravarti is the "grandmaster", and one of his comments was "With a face like yours, no one will watch your dance moves"

And then there's the contestant whose cherished childhood dream was "doing an item number"

Unknown said...

Hey Teddy, I caught one or two audition episodes of DiD but haven't seen it since Mithun's arrival :( But hey, if you say so, I'll give it a shot. And if you want to write about it, feel free to do it and give us an intro.

musical said...

Bhagyashree decided to work without Himalaya? Or is this is a different person we are talking about :).

Jimmy Amarnath, aapse ye ummeed na thi :-D.

Unknown said...

I was amazed to see Bhagyashree draping herself all over a gairmard myself. Apparently the husband back home seems to have grown up!

Tanvi said...

I agree about Parul. It was definitely fake fainting!!!:o)

I don't find any of the judges consistent, though. They all seem to be on their own trip with no logic what-so-ever.

But I have to say I have really really liked some of the songs which Saroj Khan has choreographed so sometimes I end up advocating for her. But I agree that her reactions are quite absurd! (Hehehe)

And out of all the contestants I find RAM super annoying.

P.S. You should definitely catch DID. I think the quality of performances is top notch. Besides all the other shows should learn how to judge from Terrence, Geeta and Remo (BIG fan of Remo)!!!

m said...

i wanna punch ram kapoor in the face, i think he bats for the other team.. but i dont wanna punch him because of his sexuality but because of his annoyability factor

and that karan whatever is so fuggalicious, what makes him think that he is hot? EWWWW him and his choreographer can't keep their hands off each other.. like srsly get a room..

juhi looks like a botox addict.. she gives me an evil vibe.. like she's a heartless little wench..

Anonymous said...

Hi Aspi, this is completely off the point, but in soccer there is no striker, it a goalie. Sorry, couldn't resist :o)))
But, great write up. I haven't seen this show yet, I now I do have to go back and watch the 'fake fainting', with all this talk about it..

Unknown said...

Tanvi, I learn about who choreographed which songs entirely through this show. So thats good.

m, Ram has an "I am a cutesy pie" act. He uses it on this show constantly. He might be like that in real life too. But I get the feeling its been refined through whatever soaps he does.

Anon, soccer has strikers, no? They are the all-star players in fact.

Lin said...

I hate Remo's sly tactics as a judge on DID.

Terence is the most honest. Geeta sort of just in between. And Remo's defending of his own team, while strongly finding fault with other team members, and keeping on nominating his strongest members--all annoys.

Terence now, though, seems to have scaled back on his criticisms overall--probably because it's public voting.

Lin said...

oh, and m,

I don't get the appeal of Karan either. How is he a heartthrob? Eh, to each their own, I guess.

Sarah said...

Mr. Walia, dancing? I've gotta tune in for this one.

Anonymous said...

I completely have the same feeling about Juhi.... Nice write up Aspi. Thanks for few good laughs

Lin said...

Aspi, I have a question. (Or anyone who remembers and has an answer.)

In the third episode of JDJ3, Shiv recites the two line Hindi/Urdu poetry to Gauhar. (I forget what the name for this practice is.)

What did it mean? The second line had something about "good evening" to "good afternoon."

m said...

gauhar rocks.. i really like her.. i also like monica bedi and hard kaur.

something random happened today, some guy was looking very confused at college today.. standing next to the plotters looking very lost so i was like "dude you need help?" and helped him with something.. then he thanks me profusely and gives me a card with a youtube link .. i thought he was probably a media design student so didn't think much.. but now i just had a look of his page and like there is only one video...

of him SINGING!! some operatic number! random!! why would he give that link to people, i mean i would understand it if it was a blog or a site showcasing his work. but its just a amateur video of him singing, like he ain't tonedeaf but still..

i am totally fascinated by the guy now.. wonder what he's all about..

Unknown said...

Lin, you have a YouTube link? I believe I skipped the show that weekend - satellite issues.

m, that is pretty cool actually. I've always wonder how people will begin to leverage their social content in the real world so its interesting to hear that story.

Given that Jimmy Fallon worked his way back into the biz and landed his talk show deal purely on the strength of his YouTube "webisodes", its a very legitimate space to hang your business off.

DID Rocks said...

Jhalak Dikh Laja is a big heap of bull shit. The judges have no idea what they're doing. It's not even funny how inconsistent they are. They're officially the most UNPREDICTABLE set of judges I've seen in my life. Oh and that hideous Karan. Ughhh he's an eye sore and the perv needs to keep his hands off Nicole for once.

Now Dance India Dance is what you call a reality show worth watching. The judging is very precise. I love all the judges, though Terrence's hotness is a bit overrated. I know he's a sweet heart but I don't see the attraction lol. Geeta is so biased when it comes to her group but I like her too. Haha and Remo.......I'm a huge fan of his:P

Unknown said...

DID Rocks, I'm glad you enjoy that show but it sounds a bit too functional. Is there anything disfunctional going on that I can tune in and enjoy?

Lin said...

Aspi, Mithun is pretty disfunctional. :)

As for the clip. Sorry. I thought about it, but then went to sleep last night.

here it is.

starts at the 2:15

Anonymous said...

Oye Aspinder yaar, main teri bahut badi fan hoon. Kaise ho aap:)

MegLost said...

Ye4h Aspindran to Aspinder Kab Ho Gaya.

Aspi tere Naam aur Fans Anek !!

Unknown said...

I like either better than aspiji, actually - no offense meant. On the other hand, I watched some of DiD today - is Mithun always stoned?

Lin said...

Did Saroj Khan just piss off all of Karnataka?

Me thinks she did.

Unknown said...

Checked that youtube link - I remember watching that ridiculous sher.

Your style gives soothes me
I'll say good evening because its evening, otherwise I'd say good afternoon

Lin said...

Also, is Saroj Khan on something? Seriously. Why would she say HK and Savio were the best, but give a nine when she already gave a ten?

Not that I disagree that Parul/Deepak deserved more than HK/Savio.

But her saying that--it's just ???????

Lin said...

the translation. thanks.

But ehh? It makes no sense.

I thought maybe it was something ahem. referring to spending the night or something.

It probably still is, but I don't get it.

But thanks. I am now confident that I'm not missing anything by not understanding his shers. (Thanks for the name, too.)

m said...

i think saroj khan is always either drunk or she is under some weird medication.

Teddy said...

DID has some tackiness and drama going on, especially some dragged out excruciatingly cringeworthy moments when they keep asking the people who are about to be booted off "but how do you FEEL?"
"Which one of you do you think should remain on the show?"
And then as soon as the name of the booted-off guy/gal is announced, they focus on weeping parents, with some sad song immediately beginning to play, and Geeta bursts into tears.

Yesterday, there was some (contrived) drama with Siddhesh, one of the contestants, rambling on about how another contestant (Prince) can't dance saala, and then ended by calling him his chhota bhai.

Among the contestants, the girl Alisha is fantastic, in my opinion, the best among the girls. Bhavna has the drive, which her sister Khushboo seems to lack..but they both love to yell.."Dadaji ki Jai" at every opportunity. No idea who Dadaji is.

Salman is my favourite among the boys, he has a certain dignity when he moves or speaks. He's probably the "nek insaan" like Raja Hassan used to be on SRGMP.

Mayuresh is a very good dancer, probably among the most graceful, but lacks personality.

Siddhesh is entertaining, and lively, when he isn't putting his foot in his mouth.

Mithun as Grandmaster is entertaining, but I must say no one beats the Himess for dramabaazi.

dockaul said...

Vox populi sez Dance India Dance mangta hain.. tackiness galore with some amazing dancers..aspispeak is much needed for this.. awaiting eagerly..


Pitu said...

Hey, I saw the bee wala episode, hilarious!