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Sunday, December 6, 1998
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Search for the ultimate Indian woman

Siyaram’s Star Miss India aspirantsIT is a search for the ultimate Indian woman of the millennium. Besides the physical, Siyaram’s Star Miss India beauty pageant on Star Plus, also looks for other qualities. Qualities like a sense of aesthetics, physical fitness, body rhythm, general knowledge, confidence and also the emotional quotient are assessed. It is these qualities which make a complete modern Indian woman.

The show comprises 10 rounds which bring out the best of the girls’ abilities. Hence it’s more than than a beauty pageant. It’s a talent, personality and beauty contest all rolled into one.

The channel selects girls from different cities and (each week) out of those anchor Manpreet Brar crowns the queen of that city. By the end of 44 episodes, the show would have covered all the major cities and then will come the grand finale where Siyaram’s Star Miss India, will be selected from these 44 finalists.

The show presents a great opportunity for aspiring beauty queens to come to the national limelight. The one who wins the contest can be assured a life full of wine and roses what with lucrative advertising and TV contracts.

Mark of a man

Mario CarballoIf Siyaram’s Star Miss World is a hit, the same cannot be said about Grasim Mr International ‘98 telecast on Sony. It was a comedown.

Although the sponsors termed it as the "Coronation of a king", the event to select a ‘Mr International’ could not create the kind of media hype which the Miss World contest did a couple of years ago. A pity that the all-male show went largely ignored as it attracted contestants from 23 countries who came all the way for the title.

Much to the disappointment of the gathering, India’s Diwaakr Pundir was eliminated in the semi-finals and didn’t make it in any of the sub-contests either. That in itself robbed the event of some of its sheen.

But the cheer was brought back by the affable Mr Costa Rica, Mario Carballo, who was crowned Grasim Mr International 1998. The first runner-up title and prize money of US $1500 went to Hasan Valnizogla of Turkey and the second runner up was Germany’s Boh Tzarks. The sparkle of wit was provided by Manisha Koirala, one of the judges, who asked Mr Germany, "Who would you like to be reborn as — the Pope or Bill Clinton?" The answer was a tame affair but it was the question which added a lighter touch to a show which tended to drag at times.

Green Bishnois

Ever since Salman Khan allegedly picked up a gun to shoot a cheetal in Rajasthan, there has been regular mention of Bishnois of the Thar desert who have a symbiotic relationship with nature. The community has passionately conserved its flora and fauna and protected its wildlife from gun-toting poachers.

Zee India recenty aired a riveting programme on the Bishnois as part of the Ek Aur Nazariya series. The community which has been living on the fringes of Rajasthan in harmony with nature, was founded by a 15th century saint, Shri Jambheshwar who had laid down 29 rules for his followers, foremost of which is nature conservation.

Because of its topicality the show is very riveting and is likely to be re-aired many times. Don’t miss this episode on a community which has been around centuries before the Green Peace Movement in the West and the Chipko Movement in India.

Back in reckoning

Kumar Gaurav A decade and a half ago he was the fastest rising star who threatened to topple leading lights of Bollywood Today, over 15 years after Love Story, Kumar Gaurav finds himself still at the starting blocks with his contemporaries surging ahead and reaching the dead heat in the race for superstardom.

Subsequent films like Phool, Romance, Teri Kasam, Lovers, Naam and Janam all flopped and Kumar Gaurav has virtually been without an assignment for almost a decade now.

But things may soon be changing for this former chocolate cream star. He’s coming back with a bang — not on the big screen but on television instead. Gaurav plays the role of a dreaded terrorist in Sikandar, a four-part thriller for X-Zone, the spine-chilling series on Zee.

The dream chance to play the coveted role came when Gaurav was offered the role by Pallavi Joshi, producer of the series being directed by her husband, Vivek Agnihotri.

Those who have seen advanced copies of the series say that it is not just heart-pounding but the way Gaurav has portrayed the terrorist is surely going to put him in the league of the top stars of the small screen.

Sponsoring a name

A scene from ManzilIt first caught the attention of viewers at the never-ending Ghutan. Now the serial is back in anotherr avataar — as a daily soap on Star Plus. But though most of the characters and the storyline are the same, the title has been changed to Manzil.

Why this change of title? Director Prem Kishan has a simple answer for that. The sponsors, he says were not happy to be associated with the name Ghutan, which in English translates to ‘suffocation’.

They didn’t feel happy with a line, Godrej ka Ghutan or Colgate ka Ghutan. They wanted a more positive name, says Kishan and adds, they are all very happy with the new title, Manzil.

This surely is a new angle to TV soaps. Before giving a title to a serial, the producer would now have to seek the permission of the all-powerful sponsor!

Taking a leaf from IMW

A scene from ManzilFrom fighting crime and criminals in the era of the Mahabharata, the Lord has now come down to earth to protect women and children. After a seven-year sabbatical, Nitish Bhardwaj, the lovable Lord Krishna of Mahabharata and a BJP Member of Parliament, is back to where his heart belongs — television.

Bhardwaj stars in a teleserial, Apraadhi, produced by his wife Monisha which deals with the crimes perpetrated against women and children. The teleserial takes up unsolved cases against women and re-constructs them while flashing a computer-generated picture of the criminals.

If one points out the fact that the teleserial resembles the hugely popular India’s Most Wanted Bhardwaj is ready with an answer, "While IMW deals with all kinds of criminals, Apraadhi is only about crimes against women." Well, if Star Plus coundn’t have India’s Most Wanted, it can at least have its clone in Apraadhi!

— Mukesh Khosla


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