The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, May 27, 2001

A presenter with compelling screen presence

SHE may not have the vast experience of Riz Khan but she sure has a presence. Zain Verjee, who replaces the formidable Khan on CNN’s Q&A South Asia, is familiar to viewers as CNN news anchor and has hosted some India specials for the show.

Verjee on CNN’s Q&A South Asia: Challenging task aheadQ&A South Asia, aired from Mondays to Wednesdays at 10 pm, is a half-hour interactive show which interviews politicians, celebrities and newsmakers and gives viewers an opportunity to talk directly to the show’s guests via e-mail, phone or fax. Verjee who joined CNN as a news anchor in May, 2000, will host the show from the global news network’s headquarters in Atlanta from May 21, 2001.

Before joining CNN International, she worked with Kenyan Television Network (KTN), where she anchored prime time news bulletins and compiled, produced and presented documentaries. She also hosted The Third Opinion, a political talk show.

Verjee received her undergraduate degree in English from McGill University, Montreal, and studied at York University, Canada, as well. A multi-linguist, she speaks Gujarati and French, among other languages.

Says Rena Golden, Executive Vice-President and General Manager, CNN International, "This is an important show and Verjee’s skill as a presenter will keep giving viewers a compelling choice at prime time." And hopefully hold their interest.


Comic view of big city life
May 20, 2001

It’s guiles & wiles all the way
May 13, 2001
A suspense serial on a lavish scale
May 6, 2001
Engaging, though fanciful, serial
April 29, 2001
Power struggle in the world of glamour
April 22, 2001
Something to smile about
April 15, 2001
The mainstay of Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki
April 1, 2001
The goddess from Bengal
March 25, 2001

In search of greener pastures abroad
March 18, 2001

Another soap about trials of family life
March 4, 2001

The fine art of murder
February 25, 2001

A predictable but absorbing tale
February 18, 2001

The longest-running comedy is a winner
February 11, 2001
Woman power to the fore
February 4, 2001
Another run-of-the-mill serial
January 28,2001
An engrossing tale of relationships
January 21,2001
A familiar, predictable family drama
January 14,2001

PM vs mantriji

Senior programming executives at Zee must be wondering how they end up behind Star serial after similar serial. The channel’s Sawaal Dus Crore Ka crashed amidst high drama even as Star’s KBC continues its robust run on the popularity charts.

Pradhan Mantri: Tackling current issuesNow it’s happened again. When Zee began airing the Ketan Mehta-directed Pradhan Mantri from April 6, it went virtually unnoticed. When Star launched the similar Ji Mantriji from April 26, the event was front page news for many leading publications of the country.

But Zee may finally have something to smile about. Ji Mantriji has not exactly been blistering up the charts as expected. In fact, it has been clocking average ratings despite its hyped up star cast of Farooque Sheikh and Jayant Kripalani.

"Pradhan Mantri is not a spoof or an imitation of anything done in the past," claims a Zee press handout in an obvious reference to Ji Mantriji and the hit British series, Yes Minister."

Ours is a serious but highly dramatic examination of the problems and challenges faced by the Prime Minister of India." Though there’s nothing spectacular about the series, there’s been an attempt to make it contemporary. For example, the Prime Minister assumes office in the midst of defence scandals that have destroyed the morale and the fighting ability of the armed forces. Now could there be anything more contemporary?

Though Pradhan Mantri may have little to recommend itself, issues like these are generating viewer interest that make it both relevant and happening.

Family plot

What do you do when you lose your loved one, not due to adverse circumstances, but due to your own goodness? Tu Naseeb Hai Kisi Aur Ka is Sony Entertainment Television’s engrossing answer to this question.

The drama series, every Tuesday at 8.30 pm is about the Syed family dominated by a matriarch who is steeped in traditional values. She lives in Dubai with her son Zafar and his wife Bano, and their daughter, Lubna.

Scene from Tu Naseeb Hai Kisi Aur Ka: Family dramaThe old woman also has two daughters. The first, Afroz, is divorced and also lives in Dubai with her son, Faisal, who is engaged to his cousin, Lubna. The second daughter and her husband died in a car crash and left behind a daughter, Sana, who lives in Mumbai with an uncle who ill-treats her. The family brings her to Dubai.

Sana, destiny’s destitute, distraught child, has suffered, alone and unwanted for so long she is suspicious about every little happiness. But Faisal reaches out to her and strikes a chord of friendship. His fiancee, Lubna, is looking forward to marriage. But fate has other ideas.

Set in Dubai, the serial showcases life in a Muslim family. It has real characters and a taut story that will have viewers return every week, eager to know where the twists and turns of the riveting plot will take the star-crossed Syed family.

Kiddie treat

A pair of rocket-powered roller-skates, a jet-propelled unicycle or and an anti-nightmare machine — there is only one place in the galaxy that stocks these weird and wacky products — the manic Looney Tunes Acme Factory.

Popeye on Cartoon Network: Loads of fun for kidsFrom June 1, 7am-8 am everyday Indian viewers can check out these and many other wild inventions on Cartoon Network. It features truckloads of the most frantic and hilarious toons such as the wise-cracking rabbit, Bugs Bunny, the scatterbrained duck, Daffy, the cute yellow canary, Tweety, the st-st-st stammering pig, Porky, grumpy hunter, Elmer, and ton heavy-weights Tom and Jerry and Popeye.

But that’s not all. There are more goodies in store. Kids can escape to the world where villains are vanquished and super-heroes reign supreme, with Powerzone weekdays 9 am and Saturdays at 10 am. The shows include G.I. Joe, Swat Kats, Batman The Animated Series, The New Adventures of Captain Planet, The Real Adventures of Janny Quest and Centurions.

So get set kids. Summer holidays are going to be fun time in the company of these toons!

Surviving against odds

In the wildlife lottery, some win and survive and some lose and become extinct. Winners & Losers, a two-part series on Animal Planet, explores whether extinction and survival are purely luck of the draw or whether humankind controls the game.

The Canadian Ricky Mountain goat: Born to liveThe Rich Man’s Table, the first of the series on June 2, 3 pm, is a throwback on a German film-maker Eugen Shuhmacher, who in 1959 set out to film for posterity all those rare and special animals that seemed in danger of becoming extinct. The programme accesses the winners and losers and finds out whether the world has made a profit or a loss in the natural balance sheet.

The Lot Wilderness, the second part of the series on June 3 at 2 pm, follows the fortunes of the trumpeter swan, one of the world’s largest birds, the Asian lion, now restricted to a tiny patch of forest in southern India, as their main themes...both are going extinct.

But there have been classical survival stories as well. The American bison in Yellowstone National Park in the USA is one of them. Bison jams now compete with the traffic jams of people coming to see them. In Japan, culturally symbolic cranes are idolised with cameras, while in Canada, the Ricky Mountain goats ride in helicopters. These animals provide a note of hope in an otherwise dismal mark sheet of man against animal.

— Mukesh Khosla

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