The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, December 16, 2001

A storyline totally devoid of entertainment

IT’S done more for the Muslim women than all the political speeches put together. It took just one serial to open the floodgates for more such stories. Earlier, producers would routinely shun themes with Muslim backdrops for fear of treading on sensitive ground.

Jannat: No bubble in this soap.
Jannat: No bubble in this soap.

But the stupendous success of Henna on Sony has changed all that. It has made Muslim themes fashionable and brought about a spate of serials ranging from Daaman on Sahara to Mere Mehboob Mere Sanam on UTN and Tu Naseeb Hai Kisi Aur Ka on Sony.

Now you can add another one to the list of successful Muslim serials. Sanjay Khan’s Jannat, every Saturday at 7 p.m. on Star Plus is set to cash in on the religious fervour. Shaped around the life of a prim and proper young Muslim girl named Jannat, whose doting parents, Zaheer and Saira Sayed have never told her the fact that she is an adopted daughter.

Jannat adores her stepsister Naaz, married to Aman Khan for over three years. Unable to conceive, Naaz is harassed by her mother-in-law. The serial explores the strength and personality of Jannat as she helps Naaz deal with the problem. With several twists and turns, the story portrays the strength of character of a Muslim girl.

Produced by Sanjay Khan, the serial may succeed in capturing the right ambience of a Muslim family but fails to enthuse viewers with a storyline that is devoid of any sign of fun and entertainment.


Dancing icon

She’s perseverance and courage personified. As a disabled person in real life, Sudha Chandran created cinematic history by playing a handicapped dancer in Naache Mayuri, role that instantly made her an icon for all those struggling to survive in the insensitive world of the abled.

Sudha Chandran: Patience pays.
Sudha Chandran: Patience pays.

But despite her success, Bollywood held back because of its penchant for pan caked beauties. And even though her first film was a hit, no new roles came Sudha’s way. Reason: she could not hop, skip and gyrate like the Kareenas of the film industry.

Long years of patient waiting are finally paying off, albeit on the small screen. Kahin Kissi Roz on Star Plus is her first brush with success after a long hiatus. She convincingly plays the role of a Delhi-based industrialist, scheming to kill her daughter-in-law. Her bright-eyed expressive face carries the character of the cruel mother-in-law to Lalita Pawarian heights.

Broadening her horizon, Sudha has recently turned producer and made two soaps for Eenadu TV, both to be telecast on the Urdu channel. Her acting career is also up and away, with few more serials and film offers in the bag.

In spite of her disability, her struggle to create space for herself in the industry, and successfully realising her aspirations, she is unpretentious. Denying that she ever tried to use her own unique story to catapult herself into fame and recognition and to ride the sympathy wave, she says that hers is the story of determination and years of struggle. "For the role of disabled dancer, I practiced for two years," says she.

The success of Naache Mayuri has been just one stepping stone, and today after years of effort she can proudly claim that she has achieved that none others could have hoped to.

All dressed up

It’s a rat-race out there. With the upmarket Star Plus, the hugely-admired Sony and even Zee sprinting away, Sahara TV has had little choice but to follow suit and perk up its rather insipid programming.

Priya Tendulkar in Zindagi... Teri Meri Kahani
Priya Tendulkar in Zindagi... Teri Meri Kahani

Now a package of new shows has meant more and more remotes flicking on the channel. Even outdoor advertising has been specifically designed to capture viewer’s eyes. Huge hoardings of shows like Draupadi and Haqeeqat are up at every vantage point.

Advocacy efforts are reaping dividends with the channel zooming the popularity charts and some of its programmes figuring among the top ten TAM ratings. Its recent unveiling of a new family drama Zindagi... Teri Meri Kahani telecast every Friday at 8.30 p.m. has helped to push up the ratings.

The serial is the story of a woman with an attitude. Deeply ambitious, she is unable to compromise with her aspirations leading to a clash of interests and egos with other family members. With a star-cast a la Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, or the who’s who of the small screen including Priya Tendulkar, Parmeet Sethi, Irawati Harshe, Rohini Hattangadi, Salil Ankola, Mrinal Kulkarni among others, producer Arun Frank has a heady mixture for success of the serial and hopefully of the channel itself.

Helen... oh my darling!

Here’s your chance to boogie the night away with Helen. This New Year’s Eve, Star Plus presents, the actress whose name is synonymous with brightly-lit dance-clubs and sizzling cabaret numbers, the lady who seduced a whole generation of cine goers is out to take viewers down memory lane with an enchanting evening of foot-tapping dances that would set you in the mood for the new year.

Helen: Put on your dancing shoes.
Helen: Put on your dancing shoes.

The enthralling programme with this temptress of yesteryear titled Taal Se Taal Mila is laden with dance numbers from Helen’s unforgettable films, which will be performed by Bollywood’s leading ladies — Aishwarya Rai, Raveena Tandon, Shilpa Shetty and Urmila Matondkar.

An icon of Hindi films, Helen took cabaret dancing to an altogether new dimension. Seductive but never indecent, she made cabarets an integral part of Hindi cinema during much of the sixties and seventies era. Now two decades later she’s back to work her magic upon a generation that may have never seen her perform in those old films. So be there on December 31 at 11.00 pm to dance your blues away with the elegant Helen.

When giants roamed

This show is one that will give even the best detectives of the world a run for their money. And it isn’t about catching fugitives. It is about discovering the past. National Geographic Channel and its resident-explorer. Paul Sereno have unearthed one of the most path-breaking paleontological discoveries of recent times, The Super-Croc on Sunday at 8 p.m.

Super Croc... Back to the past.
Super Croc... Back to the past.

Reaching the length of a bus, Super Croc or Sarcosuchus Imperator, was said to roam the world some 110 million years ago. A head that was twice the size of a double-storey bus, it could swallow up dinasaurs for lunch and dinner.

To know more about the species and its antecedents, Sereno and his assistant travelled across the globe. In India he joined hands with Gerry Martin, noted reptile expert, recently chosen by the National Geographic Channel as the first of its adventurer from India. Martin, whose study of reptiles began at the age of six, compares and contrasts the Indian ghariyal with the Super Croc.

Viewers will see the results of the scientific collaboration through state-of-art computer generated animation, wrapping the audience in time, allowing them to witness the giant reptile’s life, nurturing of its young and battle for food and territorial identity. A show that would rival Jurassic Park as far as technical excellence is concerned.

A little bit of Madonna on TV

Madonna, the Queen of Pop would be seen for the first time in eight years on television, performing in one of her concerts in Michigan as part of the Drowned world tour. As enchanting and mysterious as ever, the ‘Material Girl’ will usher in the new year on HBO with her performance on December 31 at 9.30 p.m.

This exhilarating, eye-popping extravaganza features numerous set changes, red-hot musicians and dancers. With Madonna’s longtime backup duo Nikki Harris and Donna De Lory, the concert is part of her world tour that she kicked off in Barcelona, and will feature material that spans her incredible career.

The highlights of this critically-acclaimed concert include songs from the two most recent Madonna albums and a generous selection of earlier hits. The Concert showcases Madonna’s sense of dressing which has always been the talk of the town. Though this time also the star gives a new meaning to dressing.

The five-time Grammy Award-winner, Madonna, continues to be the most talked-about entertainer today. Unpredictable, newsworthy, controversial and constantly evolving, she is among the most influential female pop stars over the last two decades having sold over 110 million albums and produced Ten No. 1 hits since her 1984 album. Like a Virgin became one of the biggest blockbusters of recent times.

Strictly for die-hard Madonna fans, watch out for this Material Girl on New Year’s Eve. She won’t be preaching much, but just professing tells you how it feels to be Like a Virgin!

— Mukesh Khosla

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