Brat-packed drama

Brat-packed drama

Brat-packed drama

‘India’s Best Dramebaaz’ is proving to be an ideal platform for children to showcase their latent talent for histrionics, writes Chetna Keer.

For all parents who find their home turf playing host to the Shakespearean dictum of ‘All the world’s a stage’, thanks to histrionics unlimited from their tiny tots — be it the feigning of a stomach ache at study time or an intrusion in the form of an impromptu mimicry just when you’re conversing with guests — there’s now a platform for translating their brat-packs’ real dramatics into reel action.

Giving an official platform to the histrionic talent lying latent in little ones (5 to 12 years) is Zee TV’s new show, India’s Best Dramebaaz.

‘Catch ‘em young’ is also the motto driving this new kid on the block among the choc-a-bloc children’s reality shows airing on Indian television, from Sa Re Ga Ma Li’l Champs to Dance India Dance Li’l Masters. This new show, however, seeks to stand out by making dramatics, rather than dance ‘n’ song, its USP.

While most other child-specific reality shows airing currently are driven by hip-hop action, this programme comes riding on the template of histrionics.

So, for all parents, who’ve been impressed by their child’s display of dramatic skills, now there is a platform other than the school stage where to let their little ones’ latent acting skills bloom. For every mom who thinks of her daughter as a Katrina or Kareena in the making, there’s reality TV ready to play the stepping stone in the ride to stardom.

And ably enabling this showcasing of little one’s acting skills are the three judges — actors Vivek Oberoi and Sonali Bendre, and director Anurag Basu. Duly appreciative for the deserving, and dutifully diplomatic for those who don’t make the cut, the three judges themselves embody a fine mix of acting skills along with auditioning experience.

Apart from the judges’ applause, appreciation for every selected little dramebaaz comes in the shape of the show’s innovative mascot: Acting ka keeda. The tiny stuffed toy, styled as an insect, that is awarded to every kid who makes it to the next stage, embodies the USP of the show and endows a tangibility to the talent hunt. The show mascot is like a return gift the children carry from this small-screen outing.

So, there comes the parade of small wannabe stars bitten by the acting bug (acting ka keeda). Some propelled by the inborn artiste in them. Some prodded by parental aspiration. Some spouting spontaneity. Some showcasing hours of practise and perspiration.

Talented kids

Whether it’s a Manthan doing a Rowdy Rathore, an Aryan Raj spouting Sunny Deol’s signature dhai kilo ka haath dialogue or an Aashvik doling out the Quick Gun Murugan act or Chirayu’s John Abraham imitation, the participants sure have oodles of dramatics in their DNA. Variety and versatility spice up the children’s acts, be it Saumya’s imitation of a TV remote, Alisha’s ghost enactment or Shruti taking potshots at parental eccentricities.

If the boys prove they have it in them, there are the girls to give them a run for their money, be it the saucy Kareena act of Sikhni hoon main Bhatinda ki from Jab We Met by Parul Dhillon of Chandigarh or the Jhilmil mimicry from Barfi by Tejaswini. So impressed was Barfi director Anurag Basu by the little girl’s autistic act, that he declared that even actor Priyanka Chopra would be proud to see this real reproduction of her reel role.

But what’s a reality show without tension, twists and tears. So, while some kids go grinning, armed with the acting ka keeda mascot they earn from the judges, there are those who lend to the show’s lachrymose-laden moments when they don’t make the grade.

The show’s TRPs are not only driving by the tell-tale acts, but also the tales that they don’t tell. What could tug more at the heartstrings than the stoicism of a small girl who puts an interesting act only to choke with tears towards the end. And, it is revealed on stage later by the girl’s dad, it was all because the child doesn’t have a mom!
A mixed bag

If there are kids who are a picture of smartness, sauciness and self-confidence, there are those who falter, fumble and feel stage fright. But that’s what makes the acts so natural and spontaneous. That’s what makes their emotions untutored, and the format fluid and unstructured, unlike many an adult reality show punctuated with plastic smiles and tear glands that are tutored to flow when TRPs demand.

Like the tinsel town-driven template of other dance and song reality shows, star value steers this show, too. So, there is a sexy Bipasha Basu promoting her film Aatma along with Baby Doyel to ensnare eyeballs for the show.

Another thing that makes a connect with the audience is the parental participation in the programme. Since behind the scenes, there is many an aspirational parent prodding the kids on the path to overnight stardom through the reality TV route, by bringing the parents themselves on stage the show brings out the tales and the tutoring that fashion every budding dramebaaz.

For, behind every successful dramebaaz is a director-parent.

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