Sunday, November 23, 2003

Re-vamping priorities

Shweta (left) in Kkusum: Towards pastures new
Shweta (left) in Kkusum: Towards pastures new

There is something ominous about her. That arched eyebrow and a conniving smile which spells danger. For many, just her name bodes evil — the wicked bahu Pallavi of Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki or the venom-spitting Esha of Kkusum.

Which is why Shweta Kawatra is now TV’s most wanted vamp and gets similar proposals by the dozen. One would have thought she’d over the moon with such offers.

"Playing the lead is easy. Doing the vamp is a big challenge," says the dark angel of television. But it now appears Shweta is looking for other challenges. As the host of Current Bollywood on Sony Max she reveals she has lighter side to her persona.

Is she now looking for lead roles? "No, not in the conventional sense of the term. I’d love to do a character like Jassi in Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi."

For that, all she’s got to do is wait. With more and more lead stars wanting to emulate Jassi it won’t be long before the clones arrive. Then there’d be plenty of such roles to choose from!

Politics of comedy

Remember Apple Singh? In the 1999 Cricket World Cup no important Indian match was complete without him. He was as much sought after as any top player and wherever he went his autographs were as precious as any popular cricketer’s.

Sanjay Mishra, a graduate of the National School of Drama appeared in a TV commercial as an apple seller trying to teach Kumble the art of bowling. So impressed were ESPN-Star Sports bosses with the ad that they signed him on as Apple Singh.

Now Mishra is back in another avatar. He is Dhartipakad Singh on Sahara Samay, the host of an election build-up show on a mission to interrogate, advise and gauge the chances of candidates in the electoral fray in states going to polls.

"It’s an attempt to bring politicians closer to people. We are emphasising on the lighter questions that are not asked by serious journalist. The show breaks the mould and gives viewers more than just politicians and their boring speeches," says Mishra.

But has the gimmick worked? Not much because the questions are trifling and frivolous and not incisive and funny. A good concept but a poor script.

Creating magic

Aman Varma in Jaaduu: Making magic
Aman Varma in Jaaduu: Making magic

If Harry Potter ushered in his inimitable brand of magic in The Sorcerer’s Stone and Jadoo added a touch of the supernatural in Koi Mil Gaya, Star Plus is waving another magical wand on TV.

Jaaduu, Saturdays at 7.30 pm, presents some of the world best magicians performing breathtaking tricks and taking viewers into the world of illusion.

Presented by Khulja Sim Sim anchor Aman Varma, the viewers are treated to some never seen before magic tricks by guest magicians. The show also packs in some real punch where viewers are taught some interesting tricks when they say seekhade apna jaaduu.

Jaaduu is fun for kids and also for the not-so-young. A combination of magic and masti. To be a part of it, all you need to do is to tune in to Star Plus every Saturday, or simply say gilli gilli pasha dikhade tu apna jaaduu and let the magic unfold.

Stage is set for Pallavi

Pallavi Joshi: Dramatic career change
Pallavi Joshi: Dramatic career change.

From playing lead roles in serials like Alpviram, Chahat Aur Nafrat and Justjoo, to co-anchoring Antakshri, Pallavi Joshi has always been a very busy star.

But more than that, she and husband Vivek Agnihotri have teamed up as TV’s first producer-director couple. Their two creations, Neha for X-Zone and telefilm, Sikandar received rave reviews.

"Offers keep coming everyday," she says and adds, "But there’s a limit to what you can do. Acting is a very mentally taxing job if you want to do it well. My aim is to pursue what I want most".

And what she wants most is theatre. In a career shift, she is now directing Aarambh a musical play that has been conceived, written and directed by her and casts a set of children who she has trained for play acting.

As in anchoring and acting here too she’s getting excellent reviews and attributes it all to her secret formula of success? "My formula is simple," says Pallavi. "Kiss...Keep it simple, stupid! If my two-year-old daughter can’t understand an idea, it’s not worth it."

— Mukesh Khosla