It’s a sad sad day when even Karan Johar takes a dig at the media, that too at the very start of his show, and comments on its overactive imagination and obsession with his friendship with Shah Rukh Khan. All editors who carry news of the Khans making or breaking up and SRK’s on again-off again BFF status with KJo in their newspapers and news channels as headlines and main news items, should kill themselves now. You know who you are.
So that’s how Koffee With Karan’s fifth season began. With him talking to an imaginary media and taking many digs at the media obsession with his friendships, through the episode. Arnab Goswami was mocked repeatedly. And a joke featuring Narendra Modi was made. (For the latter, SRK may be sent to Pakistan for all we know.)
Now ever since Koffee With Karan went off air, there have been many contenders to the celebrity talk show throne. All the contenders follow the same format where two celebrity friends are interviewed and joked around with by a host. There’s Vogue’s BFF which is hosted by the stunning Kamal Sidhu. And there’s Yaaron Ki Baarat hosted by the far from stunning duo of Riteish Deshmukh and Sajid Khan. While the former falls a little flat because the celebrities visibly lack a comfort level with Sidhu, the latter falls flat because it’s simply horrendous. I sat through an episode with Parineeti Chopra and Sania Mirza which swung between blah to plain revolting.
KJo though, has his format down pat and thanks to his camaraderie with all his guests, seems to have a winner on his hand every season. This season’s premiere episode featured Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt. Why this pairing? Because if you’ve been living under a rock, they’re both starring in a film called Dear Zindagi which will be releasing soon.
So has KJo milked his celebrities for all its worth? After all, they appear on rotation on his show. At most in different permutations and combinations. If on one season, Kareena appears with Shahid. Next season, she’s there with Saif. Sonam appears with Deepika on one season and then Deepika appears with Sanjay Leela Bhansali or someone else on the next. But it seems KJo hasn’t lost his mojo, going by the first episode at least. It also helps that SRK and Alia were sporting enough to not give a damn about what they were saying.
It’s the same format as earlier years. KJo asks the guests general questions about themselves. There’s a Rapid Fire round. There’s a General Knowledge round - which SRK couldn’t believe he lost to Alia. And there was a new Acting round. This is pure entertainment, much like KJo’s films used to be. So there’s risqué stuff said, gay jokes made, direct references to SRK and KJo’s supposed love affair, many references to Alia’s relationships and nobody minds their Ps and Qs – and you don’t really need to use your gray cells. For an hour, you get to look at pretty people, looking pretty, letting their blow-dried hair down and showing us that their life is indeed all ha ha-hee hee. The show basically serves the same purpose Hindi commercial cinema is supposed to. It entertains. But not like an Ajay Devgn film. More like a Gauri Shinde one.
What was nice about the episode was Alia’s self-deprecation about guessing the name of the President incorrectly 3 years back. And SRK’s confidence and blasé acceptance of his and KJo’s earlier successes. As was his statement of “don’t make him famous”, when KJo said SRK needs to read out a poem like Arnab Goswami. Usually someone puts their foot in their mouth and Alia may have rubbed Kangana up the wrong way, when she said that she wants to stalk Kangana and find out where all she’s going because she’s always pictured in “airport outfits”, and she wants to know how many flights Kangana is taking. Which was very funny. Or maybe my humour has got addled after watching Yaaron Ki Baarat.
If you must watch Indian entertainment television, I’d say watch Koffee With Karan. It’s fun, it’s irreverent, it’s not taxing and it’s as close as we’ll get to making The Graham Norton Show. The next episode has Akshay Kumar playing the doting faithful husband – which must be his most challenging role to date – and Twinkle Khanna looking like a million bucks.
I’d say watch the new season of Koffee With Karan – and would advise the producers and hosts of Vogue BFFs and Yaaron Ki Baarat to do the same. Just to up their game slightly, it can’t be that hard.
You can watch Koffee With Karan on Sundays at 9pm on Star World.