Great telly circus

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Great telly circus

From sensational presentations to fashion faux pas, 2013 saw some of the most memorable TV personalities and some terrible primetime moments. Rachna Bisht-Rawat takes us through the year that was...

They made us pick dinner leftovers from our teeth in sheer boredom, they made us poke fingers in our noses for lack of anything better to do and, last but not the least, they made us pull our quilts over our heads and go to sleep. Despite the rotten tomatoes and eggs we’ve been chucking at them year after year, television channels continued to bombard our bedrooms with unbearable rubbish in 2013 as well. The serials were absolute nonsense and unwatchable, which is why we didn’t watch them at all. The reality shows were fake and scripted, so we’re not wasting any time reviewing those either. That leaves us with news and interviews. While nearly everything was pathetic; some of it was (believe it or not) even worse than the rest, and for going way beyond this call of duty, we shall be flinging at these unworthy ones some well deserved brickbats. 

Also, for your vicious reading pleasure, we shall be honouring the stars of television 2013: the guys and gals who stood make-up and mufflers above the rest, some making us smile or froth in rage.

So here goes:

Make-up disaster of the year: Barkha Dutt

For introducing us to weird shades of lipsticks, strange hairdos and smudged eyes that often brimmed over with tears (a sudden Radiagate memory perhaps that made the finger shake and poke the stuff right in?). After haunting the ridges of Kargil and hobnobbing with soldiers going to war, for some time Barkha went for the no make-up look, which actually worked for her. But alas! Like most other women anchors, she soon discovered foundations, smudgy eyeliners, lip liners and their ilk and went completely berserk painting herself a brand new (though equally scary) face. Will somebody at NDTV tell her where the buck stops where applying make-up is concerned. Barkha, even a wannabe fashionista knows that unless you are giving a Kathakali dance recital, you refrain from using the entire contents of a bottle/tube in one sitting.Also ran: Giving Barkha stiff competition in the scary face and bad make-up department was the anchor of Sansaani (yes, same as in “chain se sona hai toh jag jao”). With his flashing kohl-rimmed eyes, same as Barkha foundations and equally weird wardrobe, the bearded monster finished a close second, notching extra points for voice modulation and revolting screen presence.

Rotten ham award: Arnab Goswami

Or-knob go-get-‘em Goswami hammed every other news anchor into oblivion by getting so mad at guests on his show that he stopped short only of flinging studio furniture at them. Raving, ranting and ferociously wagging his eyebrows to express his anger, Or-knob this year took the pants and eardrums off political leaders, debauch journalists, holy men with fine libidos and bully nations. Viewers are now completely convinced that when the city sleeps, Superjourno flies overhead (maintaining the superhero tradition by wearing his undies over his leather-belted pants). With his glasses glinting in the moonlight, he zips into offices through open windows to pick up CAG reports, copies of FIRs and other incriminating evidence that he then accosts guilty parties within the Times Now studio, while harshly scolding them in Dolby surround sound.

Well, Or-knob continued to blast people, including Pakistani generals, off and if that didn’t send them whimpering with their tails between their legs, he glared at them from behind his stern glasses till they simply withered and died under radiation.

P.S.: Magnanimously conceding that viewers were getting bored with the same old screaming and paper waving ritual; Arnab condescended to introduce some changes to his purr-fect show. He bought himself a blue shirt and made even iron nail-chewing female guests like Shobha De and Arundhati Roy swoon and fumble for words.

Flashiest dresser: Karan Johar

KJo returned with yet another round of coffee, a black leather couch and a brand new red piano. The guests, alas, were the same old fuddy duddies of Bollywood, who turned up in their designer clothes and fake smiles vying for the same old goody hamper. KJo cut himself blazers from shiny blue and maroon velvet upholstery that made holes in our eyes and forced his guests to dress sober so that viewers could keep their eyes open despite the shiny bling, though not long enough to notice the age lines deepening around their eyes.

Worst dressed couple: Mr and Mrs Aamir Khan
Aamir Khan appeared on the Karan Johar show in pants that ended at ankles and closely followed the shape of his calves, making us wonder if he had borrowed wifey Kiran’s leggings. Kiran contributed to bringing the award home by turning up in her hideous glasses and a body-hugging blouse that hadn’t made up its mind about whether it wanted to be a shirt or a frock. Till the waist it stayed a stylishly cut blouse and then suddenly broke into frills.And now some marigold flower garlands and applause for those worthy ones who were the only reason we did not chuck our TV sets out of our windows or exchange them for toasters and coffee makers.

Fashion icon of the year: Arvind Kejriwal

This startling new entrant on national television stole the show, Delhi elections and people’s hearts by thumbing his nose at all fashion rules. Designers like Rohit Bal and Ravi Bajaj reached out for their smelling salts as he boldly redefined natty gentlemen dressing. Not only did he wear his yellow-toed woollen socks with his old sandals; he also appeared on TV sporting pants that waved around his ankles, half shirts with sleeves brushing the elbows, shapeless sweaters, and topis pulled down over woollen mufflers wrapped around his ears. The Fashion Icon of television award goes to AK for leading by example and telling the Indian aam and khas aadmi: wear what you want, use mufflers and topis to stay warm in winters, don’t give a damn for fashion and, above all else, don’t tolerate corruption. May his tribe multiply!

Wild card entry: Anil Kapoor

Known more for his hairy chest than his histrionics, Anil Kapoor made a surprise TV debut, showing us what a well-maintained 56-year-old could look like. He gave hope to older citizens and sent men on the wrong side of 40 waddling to the gym. His deep voice, his dark stubble, his trigger- happy agent Jai Singh Rathod with the I-don’t-smile demeanor made female hearts beat faster than ever before. 24 was one serial that had pace and panache and if you just wanted to waste time with the remote in hand, drooling over Kapoor was not so bad a way to do it. It also ended with the 24th edition leaving lovelorn aunties sighing over their unrequited love for the kick-ass Kapoor. The good news is that they can wipe their tears; according to the grapevine, there shall be a Season 2.

Quickest rise in television: Kapil Sharma

Known a few years back by his endearing Inspector Shamsher, the popular character he brought to life by his acts, Kapil Sharma won a few seasons on Sony’s Comedy Circus and then got his own show to host on Colors. With a talented bunch of supporting actors, some seriously funny wisecracks from motor-mouth Kapil and the irrepressible sher-sprouting Siddhu ji; his show registered a phenomenal rise on TRP charts and had almost every film star with a release promote it sitting on his couch dodging red lipsticked kisses from Ali Asgar as the sneaker-clad, Patiala-salwared, boozard dadi. However, with a set lost to fire, the talented Sunil Grover making a controversial exit and jokes dying down, the show needs to pull up its socks, or else it could see the quickest fall on television as well.
  Disclaimer: This writer gave up watching television for entertainment a few years back. She does it only for review purposes, sticking to the high adage of duty before self.

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