The Tribune - Spectrum

, June 9, 2002


All set to rock in new avataar

The all-girl band has rechristened itself as Viva!
The all-girl band has rechristened itself as Viva!

THEY are on the go, go...and go. Arguably the country’s first professional all-girl band, it now has a spanking new name — Viva! The band, that was earlier called Channel [V] Popstars, has been rocking different cities ever since it hit the high road to Indipop stardom.

Band members Mahua Kamat, Seema Ramchandani, Anushka Manchanda, Pratichee Mohapatra and Neha Bhasin, all come from diverse backgrounds but leave everyone spellbound with their singing acumen. Their rhythm, vocals and the stage presence have been meticulously honed over the past two months.

And all five of them now look completely different from what they were at the time of their selection. New hairstyles, newer wardrobes, trendy dance steps and an attitude to match.

Their debut video Hum Naye Geet Sunaye is such a hit that even rival channels like Zee Music have been airing it. And, if ever proof of popularity of the Channel V band was ever required, it’s here — a visibly shaken MTV has begun airing a hastily produced spoof of these ‘Spice Girls of India.’

Rambo nights

Avinash IPS: Justice on the move
Avinash IPS: Justice on the move

He’s a cop on the hop. Wild chases, deadly criminals, gun battles and death are all a part of his day’s work. A Superman-Spiderman rolled into one, who let’s his gun do the talking with kidnappers and killers.

Friday nights is action time on Star Plus as Avinash IPS goes into combat mode at 11 pm, on the prowl for lawbreakers and crooks. He’s not just a quick-thinking cop but a nightmare for the underworld whose very name sends shivers down the spine of rogues. No lawbreaker can escape him and no pardons are granted. No case is left unsolved.

Whether it is the kidnap of a scientist for a secret formula or a jewel thief on the run or even a bank robbery — life’s full of challenges for Avinash IPS.

Join the supercop, played by model Sachin Khurana (adonis Mr Graviera 1999), as he goes about his job with the zeal of 007 cracking complex cases and bringing hardened criminals to justice. Alas, if only real life IPS officers were like Avinash. However, if you ignore that aberration, the serial is quite a fast paced fiction!


Little Mirchi
grows up

Gauri of the Little Mirchi Thoda Pepper fame
Gauri of the Little Mirchi Thoda Pepper fame

She sizzled on the small screen as the bubbly young girl of Little Mirchi Thoda Pepper. Then she showed her acumen as the somewhat dour Sukanya. Now Gauri Karnik is in pastures new.

No, she hasn’t given up television. Instead she has put one step into Bollywood as the lead star of Tanuja Chandra’s Sur.

"There’s no denying this girl has talent," say Tanuja." One look at her and I knew I had found the person I was looking for."

Needless to say the 1998 Miss India contestant Gauri is ecstatic. She says that though television is a more exciting medium, films are the real passport to the glamour world.

But she’s not quitting television. Gauri says she’s looking at some scripts and will soon be back in business. But this time both on the small and big screens.

Never say die

Chhaya with Pallavi Joshi in Justjoo
Chhaya with Pallavi Joshi in Justjoo

He’s been television’s quintessential number two man. Despite good performance in serials like Swabhimaan, Daraar, Hasratien, limelight had eluded him. But now, after Justjoo, Harsh Chhaya is getting the recognition he long deserved.

Husband of Shefali Chhaya, Harsh has been around for over a decade, never making it to the numero uno spot but never going out of business and always picking roles that left a lasting impression on the viewers’ mind.

And look at his range. He played an illegitimate son in Swabhimaan, a blind teacher in Daraar, a baddie in Hasratein. In fact, most of his roles have stretched his acting abilities.

In his currently-on serial Justjoo, every Tuesday 8.30 pm on Zee TV, he plays the role of a philandering husband. "This is definitely the most challenging role I’ve ever played," he says. And perhaps the best time in his decade-long television career.

A graduate from Delhi’s Jamia Milia Islamia, Harsh did a few forgettable serials before getting his big break in Hasretein which would ensure him a steady trickle of roles. Ever since then there’s been no looking back.

Now his 10-year toil is bearing fruit. With Justjoo he breaks new ground playing a man caught in the midst of an emotionally complex relationship. And going by the response, Chhaya has a reasons to celebrate. So does Zee TV, which has a winner after a long time.

Mission impossible

Is it possible to build a skyscraper twice as high as New York’s Empire State Building? Or a bridge that connects Europe and Africa? Or a ship that is over 1.5 km in length?

Believe it or not, all these projects are already on the drawing boards. If built, they would be engineering achievements of historic proportions. Could they really become a reality and if so, would they be safe?

Engineering the Impossible, premiering June 9 on Discovery Channel at 10 pm, profiles the individuals behind these projects and their plans of changing the world.

A Hong Kong Harbour tower twice the size of New York’s Empire State Building. A city within a city, with its own hospitals, schools and a range of entertainment and retail options large enough to attract traffic necessary for the financial success of such an endeavour.

A bridge, spanning 14.5 km over the Straits of Gibraltar at the entry to the Mediterranean, would connect Christian and Muslim cultures and potentially increase ties between the economies of Europe and Africa.

The Freedom Ship, would virtually be a city at sea, that would be nearly 1.6 kilometers in length and become the largest ocean-going vessel ever constructed.

Engineering the Impossible examines the feasibility of these extraordinary projects through graphics, venturing into the real world to explore the technology and meeting the people that could turn these dreams into reality. This is no science fiction but a fascinating peep into the future world.

Final journey

The Last Journey of John Keats: Dying young
The Last Journey of John Keats: Dying young

In 1820, John Keats, one of England’s finest poets, was dying of tuberculosis. In an attempt to save his life, doctors advised him to travel to Italy, for its healthier climate.

But that was to be an exercise in futility as the Italian climate did nothing for the poet and his condition started to deteriorate quite dramatically.

Andrew Motion, Keats’ biographer, sets out in a ship to retrace the consumptive poet’s tortuous trip to Naples and Rome, where he finally died at the young age of 25.

The Last Journey of John Keats, BBC World, June 29, 8.40 pm, takes extracts from poems and letters written by Keats to create a realistic portrait of the vibrant young man of ideas and passion and is a peep into the life of one of the greatest poets the world has ever seen.

— Mukesh Khosla