The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, August 12, 2001

Itís wah-wah time for Zarina Wahab

IN the early eighties, when she turned her back on showbiz and settled for married life, Bollywood lost a good actress. But a decade and half later, Zarina Wahab is back. Back on the small screen as anchor of Urdu Hai Jiska Naam every Monday at 8.30 pm on UTN.

Zarina Wahab in Naya Zamana: Gifted star
Zarina Wahab in Naya Zamana: Gifted star

The show takes viewers on a nostalgic journey to meet renowned Urdu poets like Mirza Ghalib, Daag and Mir who belonged to an era when Urdu flourished. It is peppered with the ghazals and nazams of these great poets.

Zarina took special lessons from a moulavi to master Urdu for this musical show. "I didnít want people to get an impression that the anchor was not conversant with the language," says the yesteryear actress who gave such hit movies as Gharonda and Chitchor and is now seen on the small screen off and on.

"I am very selective," says Zarina, who keeps scouting around for comic roles. She says she loved working in funnies like Anahoot, Rum & Cola, Naya Zamana and Thoda Khatta Thoda Meetha.

Her most intense roles include two opposite Kiran Kumar in Daddy and Humrahi.

The best part about all these serials and a show like Urdu Hai Jiska Naam, says Zarina, "Is that I am playing my age." Which is a sign of the good actress that she is.

A game of intense emotions & business intrigues
August 6, 2001
Masti time for children with stunning Sonali
July 29, 2001
Opening the door to more and yet more prizes
July 22, 2001
Itís time to stop shaking and move on
July 15, 2001
All set to forge an Italian connection
July 8, 2001

The hackneyed theme of a contract marriage
July 1, 2001

Of disillusioned father and philandering son
June 24, 2001

Turning the tables on policemen
June 17, 2001

Another in the family of soaps
June 10, 2001
Back to the golden age of cinema
June 3, 2001

A presenter with compelling screen presence
May 27, 2001

Comic view of big city life
May 20, 2001

Itís 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

No music for viewers

It was a non-stop haute couture display so lavish as to make even a Paris fashion show seem pedestrian. For the clothes horses, Lakme India Fashion Week in Mumbai set the trend for whatís going to be hip .

Channel (V): Dressed to kill at the Lakme India Fashion Week
Channel (V): Dressed to kill at the Lakme India Fashion Week

But what was Channel (V) doing at the fashion event? The answer is simple ó the music channel was the official sponsor of the show. As Sameer Nair, Senior Vice-President (Programming), Star Plus, will have us know," Channel (V) is not just a music channel, itís also a fashion statement and reflects the trends among the generation next."

Which explains why, instead of regaling viewers with the latest hits, it was giving such unprecedented television coverage to the glamour event.

One hopes it doesnít take its role of a desi fashion channel too seriously. Otherwise, instead of competing with MTV and B4U, Channel (V) could find itself vying for TRPs with FTV!

Music for the soul

Nine years ago, when Hariharan and Leslie Lewis jammed-up, forming an impromptu group called Colonial Cousins, nobody gave them a chance. After all, Hariharan was a singer of ghazals and Hindi film songs and Leslie Lewis a guitarist and a pop music composer.

Colonial Cousins: Songs of success
Colonial Cousins: Songs of success

After two albums ó one hugely successful and the other a mild flop, the English band with an Indian soul is back with a bang. Its third album, Aatma, is a heady mix of classical Indian music blended smoothly with funk, jazz, rock Ďní roll and dance music.

By far the best song of the album is a Kai Zhala (Marathi for "what happened") which kicks off with African rhythms mingled with Marathi music and is laced with a qawwali flavour. More than the song, the video has caught the fancy of viewers.

The video features fast-rising TV star Eva Grover. Of course, Hari and Lezz, in their trandemark attire, appear in shots in between and give it an upbeat tempo. Do the two expect the Kai Zhala video to boost the sales of Aatma? "It should, thatís why videos are made," quip Lezz and Hari, hardly able to suppress the realisation that they have a winner at hand.

Zain & art of anchoring

For a self-confessed Ďaccidentalí TV show host, sheís come pretty far in life. Zain Verjee, the new anchor for CNNís hugely popular Q&A South Asia, says she strayed into the profession Ďjust by chanceí. But as she worked along, she got hooked well and proper.

Q&A South Asia airing 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 showís guests via e-mail, phone or fax.

Says Verjee, who was in Delhi in connection with the Vajpayee-Musharraf summit, "I never planned a career. Media just happened." The lady had her upbringing in Nairobi in Kenya where her Indian ancestors migrated long back. While she has no real connections with India, she can speak Gujarati besides being fluent in French and Kiswahili.

Verjee is confident she will be able to make her mark in the show. "Riz and I have different styles. I will try to make my own mark in the channel." It wonít be tough for this head-turner with a brain to match.

Night travel

The Lonely Planet guide books have become a Bible for adventurous travellers from around the world ó those in search of not just a holiday, but also an education and an experience, often on a limited budget.

Travelling through the Lonely Planet: Adventure series
Travelling through the Lonely Planet: Adventure series

The Discovery channel brings the spirit of the guide books to television. It is a series about global exploration and self-discovery. Viewers witness the joy of independent travel, and look honestly at some of the most exciting, picturesque and sometimes frustrating places in the world.

Discovery presents a premiere season of the multi-award-winning Lonely Planet series that takes them to destinations across the globe from China to Scotland to USA to discover people, places and little-known facts about each region.

Featuring engaging hosts who are willing to do and try anything, episodes of Lonely Planet premiere every night beginning August 15. The only trouble is the timings of the show from 11 pm to 12 am. So, if you donít mind the wee hours, the series could well be worth the bleary eyes in the morning.

Remains of an empire

Will the world celebrate or mourn the 10th anniversary of the August 1991 coup against former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union? Will history judge Gorbachev a hero or a villain?

Gorbachev in The Second Russian Revolution: Hero or villain?
Gorbachev in The Second Russian Revolution: Hero or villain?

BBC World screens a ground-breaking, award-winning three-part series, The Second Russian Revolution, on August 12, 19 and 26 at 10.40 pm which provides the definitive insidersí account of the dramatic events. The series contains interviews with all protagonists, including Mikhail and the late Raisa Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin, and the head of the KGB.

The series obtained a secretly recorded tape from a meeting Gorbachev had with the deputies trying , unsuccessfully , to persuade them not to elect Yeltsin as chairman of the Russian Federation, the only job that could challenge Gorbachevís own Soviet presidency.

The programme reveals the race to save Gorbachev when it was revealed that the coup leaders forced him to resign as the general secretary of the party. Thatís when Gorbachev said, "This was a personal tragedy. I had done so much to try and reform the party." A tragedy indeed it was ó for Gorbachev, for the people of that disintegrated Soviet Union and for the world. A must-see series for serious-minded viewers.

ó Mukesh Khosla

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