Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Music Ka Maha Muqqabla: Eksun, Dramaa, Explosuns!

Last week Music Ka Maha Muqqabala found itself on the precipice of an all-time great moment in televised reality history. How did this happen? Let's rewind (imagine this blog now in black and white slow motion)

Followers of this action packed show might know that Mika and Mohit Chauhan have been eliminated leaving the following semi-finalists: Shaan, Shankar Mahadevan, Himesh Reshammiya and Shreya Ghoshal. Their teams have some funky names but I can't remember them right now.

Shaan and Shankar had a battle this Sunday. Shanker opened up a huge lead in points.

For the duet round, Shankar sent in Rahul Vaidya and Neethi Mohan. Both sang the flirtatious "Abhi Na Jao". Midway through the song, Neethi forgot the lyrics. Desperately she looked at her hand for clues, thus suggesting how she might be getting through her board exams. Nope, nothing written there. Fortunately for her Rahul showed tremendous presence of mind and rescued her with part nok-jhok, part cover up.

When the time came to hand them points Shankar made an impassioned case for his players. "This is a show!"  he said "And how well they took care of that mistake and rescued it from disaster!" He asked for points for Rahul's chaturai. This seemed reasonable enough. All the judges agreed with Shankar. This left opposing team captain Shaan seething with anger.

Sensing Shaan's discomfort, Himesh skilfully maroed chaabi till Shaan cleared his tipping point. (Precisely why I love the Himesh so much.) Shaan took the bait and jumped up and down about how this entire situation was unreasonable. If singers forgot the lyrics, he argued, they shouldn't be getting good points. "I'm on the side of RIGHT" he thundered. "SOMEONE ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT JUST HAPPENED!"

Mika - India's own version of Snoop Dogg - arose, sending shivers through my spine. He argued for the contestants. Shaan jumped out with mike in hand and asked Mika if he had left his brains at home! Both rushed towards each other. Shaan shoulder thumped Mika. Wah! Music ka maha smackdown!

Shaan then jumped into the audience "WHOSE JOB IS IT TO REMEMBER THE LYRICS?" he implored "THE SINGERS OR THE AUDIENCE?" Several members of the audience muttered into the mike that Shaan shoved into their faces.

Not to be outdone, Mika rounded up a Feeble Looking Senior (FLS) from the audience. "LISTEN TO HIM!" Mika commanded. And Mika said and so it was. Everyone listened. Unfortunately the FLS said something passionate but entirely incomprehensible, weakening Mika's case a bit. Mika sighed and sat down.

Shaan took off his jacket and thumped it on the floor. Then he stormed off the stage. Poor Neethi was in tears. Rahul Vaidya for some reason started taking everything personally. "Chup ho ja beta!" Himesh advised him.

Later Shaan argued this point again peripherally implying that Himesh was being dishonest with music. This pushed Himesh past his tipping point. The House of Reshammiya grabbed the mike and cut the air with TWO fingers instead of the usual one - conveying that he was twice as upset as he usually is (which is every time he is losing an argument). When he finished he had cut the air around him into ribbons. Hilarity all around!

Now it was the turn of Shaan's team to sing a duet. Shaan sent in Debojit and Anvesha. At this point, I felt, MkMM was one step away from engineering an all-time great moment. What if, I asked myself, Anvesha were to forget the lyrics? Nothing personal against Anvesha but this would have been pretty darn funny! Would Shaan have hid under the chair? Would Mika have laughed his head off? I crossed my fingers and said prayer after prayer. But hells bells, that girl didn't forget a word. Not one. Not once did she even hesitate. Man, what a Debbie Downer!

All through this Shankar had been maintaining decorum. Clearly all this drama turned him off. His mood darkened. Mohit and Mika chatoed him rather cutely. He barely cracked a smile. He finally won the muqabala on points and ended up saying he wanted everyone to go home happy. He said this with such a lack of conviction that I felt sad for him and happy for what more is to come on the show.

Somewhere Ekta Kapoor must have furiously taken notes and wondered why her writers can't deliver such awesome naatak in her own shows.


Anonymous said...

I saw it a week back, being in India. I have seen a lot of drama in these shows, but this took the cake.

I sympatheized with Shaan's case until he blew up. In the end, a small margin made the difference, and Shanker's team getting less here could have turned the tables.

I still think the judges were wrong to give full marks for the drama, but not deduct any for forgetting the lyrics - but by then they were pushed into a corner and could not do otherwise.

And yes, until Himesh prodded him, Shaan seemed to be willing to let it go.

Unknown said...

Confused, good observations. In fact I was thinking you could write a book on election winning strategies from this show itself. That would be a pretty funny post.

memsaab said...

I am pretty sure that your description is better than the show, although I will never know for sure. Still---thank you for this public service of bringing Indian television to the non-Hindi-speaking public.

Unknown said...

memsaab, you are hilarious. We should do something together soon :)

Kanan said...

Aspi, your captions and images are THE BEST! So much entertainment... I don't even watch this. That makes me wonder, what makes one music competition show more famous than the other? I know SaReGaMaPa was such a craze back in 2007.

Random Guy said...

The USP of this show is 'no rules'. Love how they change the rules on the fly whenever they feel like it. Audience/judges vote separate, then don't, then do.

But lack of rules seems to be taken for lack of basic sportsmanship decency. Shankar going against Harshit was like come on now. That's like Bachchan going up against Tusshar Kapoor.

Next time Shankar should just sing all 5 rounds...that would be fun for the other judges reaction lol

Anonymous said...

Yeah what's the deal with allowing the captain to sing? Even if they are allowed to, there should be a limit. They are anyway in the medley. I would say just one more song, that's it. And Shanker going against Harshit could be the start of a trend.

And its not that they have 10 songs prepared and plan for what to sing / whom to bring at the spur of the moment.

BTW, watch out next week for Himesh going super emotional with his father. Can't say more until you have seen it.

And guess who does not play Holi?

Unknown said...

Kanan, glad you liked them. Not sure about the popularity of the shows. I don't have any TRP info (not even sure how it works actually). But Indian Idol remains the most popular among the masses and SRGMP is the most popular show among singers.

Random/Confused, I agree - there should be some limit. The last show pretty much became a Shankar Mahadevan concert.

Anonymous said...

Actually Shankar went up against Shadab. He got a 10, Shadab 8, then Shankar went against 16 year old Anwesha - Shankar got a 10, Anwesha 9.5. Hilarious, that such a singer like Shankar goes up against a 16 year old and won by 0.5. Gajji's circus!

Teddy said...


what a post!! I ended up disturbing the hushed sanctity of the office by explosions of laughter.

Loved the drama, loved the captions, and loved your writing.

Himesbhai ki Jai!

Unknown said...

Anon, Gajji's circus - yes but isn't it fun. Gajji is a genius.

Teddy, glad you enjoyed them. If the screen caps and writing is as tacky as the show then its all good. Comic homage and all that.

Mind Rush said...

My initial score for the singers was Love All. At the end of the show my score was Love None. These people act like toddlers throwing a tantrum, or, "gali ka goondas" losing their cool!
But what stunned me was that after the verbal cannons were shot and the jackets were flung and the walkouts were staged---guess what?
They all made up!!
As the credits rolled, all the singers hugged and back-slapped.
Drift saab, you have been played! It's just all a fake show :-))

Unknown said...

Made up it may be - although I doubt it - but I like to think of it as WWF, only I like this one.

What has Himesh got in store for us this week? Based on Confused's heads up, I can't wait!

Anonymous said...

Rahul Vaidya and Alveesha were the best!
Captains should say out unless it is a special captains round.

Random Guy said...

Rahul Vaidya is a real chaalu aadmi. But have to say, of all the Rafi/Sonu Nigam clones on this show (Aneek, Vineet etc) he's been the most entertaining.

The WWF comparison is spot on - it's all just a big naatak. There is no consistency anywhere, especially with the judges 'judging'. They want sur, they want performance, don't sing like the original, then give high marks for sounding exactly like the original. And Harshit et al get 'Singer of the Day' after absolutely butchering a song.

Then the host guy suddenly goes on a bhaashan about female infanticide. Followed by DJ Lloyd flashing his teeh. Such a trippy show...

Anonymous said...

Random guy, I thought it was WTF not WWF!

Anonymous said...

aspi ji, please more on the circus freaks on music ka WTF! I only watch it for the 16 era old anwesha! She sings perfectly, yet doesn't get a perfect score, and Mika once called her besura! WTF really! Gajji tussi great ho! Music ki itni bezati!

Anonymous said...

this is what mika refers to as besura singing:

If this is besura, WTF is himesh's singing? Dog's barking?

poulami said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

MkMM is both WWF and WTF!

I agree with Anon: more MkMM on this drift. I hope to find more time to do this - although I'm pretty miffed about having to watch this show 1 week later than my fellow partners in tackiness in India.

Anvesha always amazes me - she has such a classic voice. But with that voice, you all know she won't find work in Bollywood for years right?

Anonymous said...

Alveesha has the soul of an old singer! Shame on Himesh!
Someone needs to judge the judges and pass a class action lawsuit when they WTF-up!

Anonymous said...

anwesha is great but her singing style is just like Shreya. She needs to get a more individual style if wants GHAR MEIN ROTI. JAI MATA DI JAI HINDUSTAAAAAAAAAAAN!

Unknown said...

Arrey, judges ko rehne do. They are doing a fabulous job providing all the entertainment.

musical said...

Kudos, Aspi, for finding humor where exists none ;). The sheer amount of WTFness (whatever that means)involved in such music muqabalas never ceases to amaze me. And Mika called Anwesha besura?? Really? Sigh!

On a related note, it is sad to see that quite a few of the singers on these shows haven't gotten many big-time assignments, and still have to keep on doing these shows.

Anonymous said...

Re the judges, while soemtimes they are interesting, I think they have been de-fanged. Sa Re Ga was much better because all the judges had a stake in the success (or failure) of each singer. Sometimes that brought out the hidden emotion and the scope of controversy (or staged drama) was much much more then.

Unknown said...

musical, unfortunately that is the route for everyone. You do one of these shows, hopefully you get to do some live shows. But you're still D-list. So you hope you get to sing a song in a movie. And you hope either the movie becomes a hit or the song becomes a hit. Then you get more live shows.

Making a living purely by playback is not an option :(

Confused, I'm not sure: I feel that the judges are much more - how to say this - FRANK about their feelings in MkMM then they were in SRGMP. For one, I've never seen Shaan like this.

Mind Rush said...

Does any one have any idea why Rahul Vaidya is doing this "fake-cricket-ball-catch-thing" kind of randomly after singing?
Secret love interest?
Secret air-cricket obsession?
Phaltu publicity stunt?
And why do they keep showing Shreya's close up when Rahul sez something (anything) that could be pretend-mysterious?

Anonymous said...

next post??? Checked every day this week....

Unknown said...

Sorry anon - personal troubles. Will be back with some Filmfare Awards stuff, really loved that super tacky show.