The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, December 15, 2002

Little girl with big screen presence

Shweta Prasad in Makdee: Big little star
Shweta Prasad in Makdee: Big little star

ONE look at her achievements on the small screen and you’ll be hard put to believe she’s just 11. And now Shweta Prasad is the darling of Bollywood as well after playing the double role in Vishal Bhardwaj’s critically acclaimed Makdee.

Whether playing Shruti in Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki or Chunni and Munni in Makdee. Shweta lends a sweet innocence to all her roles. Even in Makdee she holds her own against a veteran like Shabana Azmi who plays the wicked witch.

So impressed is Naseeruddin Shah with her performances that he has asked her parents to enrol her in his prestigious theatre group. But Shweta’s parents have more .... well .... parenty ideas. They want her to finish her education and then go into acting.

Her father says he was very happy that she got a chance to do serials like CID, X-Zone, Baat Ban Jaye, Kutumb, Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki and a film like Makdee. But that’s it. Now it’s studies all the way. So no more TV. It’s back to school for Shweta!

Undercover housewife

Back in the seventies the Jack Lemon-Shirley Mclaine starrer Irma La Douce set the cash registers jingling. It sired an Indian version, Manoranjan that pitched the wits of Shammi Kapoor against Zeenat Aman’s oomph. Sanjeev Kumar played a bumbling cop who turns into a nosey sleuth at night.

Now fast forward to the present times and switch to Kabhi Biwi Kabhi Jasoos on Sony every Tuesday at 8 p.m. The comic thriller is all about the escapades of a housewife moonlighting as a detective.

The 34-year-old Sushma Singh leads a frenetic life of a mother with two teenaged kids. But appearances can be deceptive. On the face of it she is a typical homemaker, but few know that she is a part-time detective. Bold, shocking, dangerous, thrilling, nerve-wracking and a very unconventional detective.


From petty thefts to heinous murders, she can tackle them all. But that’s not all. Her family is not aware of her dual life. And it is the balancing of the two that makes her life — and the serial — a roller-coaster ride. Definitely worth a dekko!

Wanted, a pinch of spice

Sakshi Tanwar in Devi: Goody-goody roles
Sakshi Tanwar in Devi
Goody-goody roles

People may hanker after goody-goody roles on TV but there are some who say enough is enough. Sakshi Tanwar is one of them. So tired is she of playing the woman with a pristine heart that she’s consciously fishing around for spicy roles.

Parvati of Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki and the hostess of Gurukul, Sakshi is desperate to shatter the stereotypic image of an ideal bahu and honest-to-God anchor. "Nothing wrong with that," she says, "I just don’t want to get typecast so early in my career."

But serial makers seem bent on casting her in sweet-n-candy roles. In Sony’s Devi, Fridays at 9 p.m. she plays Gayatri, a vulnerable woman who has a touching in God Durga but is defenceless against her brutal husband.

"Even though it’s a weepy role, it is very intense, I wouldn’t have missed it for anything," says Sakshi justifying her selection. But she’s quick to add she’s very serious about her image makeover. For, she knows that in today’s world nothing sells like glamour. It’s the age of the spice girl!

Nari shakti

Aastitva: Triumphing over odds
: Triumphing over odds

It’s an against-all-odds story of a woman doctor. And a true one at that. Aastitva Sunday to Wednesday at 8 p.m. on Zee TV is about a young ambitious girl Simran (Niki Aneja) whose aspiration to become a doctor is so strong that she even forgoes marriage as that would have interfered with her career.

She now has a nursing home of her own and though she is now 33, Simran has no regrets that she didn’t marry. Till the time she meets 24-year-old Abhimanyu (Varun Vadola) brother of one of her patients. It’s love at first sight and both marry against the wishes of their families.

But the euphoria is soon over and the difference in their ages catches up. To make matters worse, Simran is pregnant and Abhimanyu has no time for her as his own career is on the upswing.

Things come to such a flashpoint that Simran can’t take it any longer. That’s when she decides to re-build her original dream of becoming a successful doctor and entrepreneur. Will she succeed in her endeavour? Find out for yourself in this absorbing serial.

Tantalising vamps

Tulsi & Payal in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi: Vamps on top
Tulsi & Payal in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi: Vamps on top

Move over Tulsis, Kkusums and Shaina Sikands, it’s the era of the vamp. The exciting temptresses are the new movers and shakers on TV Pallavi of Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki. Komolika of Kasauti Zindagi Kay, Esha of Kkusum, Ramolla of Kahin Kissi Roz and leader of the pack, Payal Malhotra of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.

For Jaya Bhattacharya the role of Payal in Kyunki Saas ... has paid off rich dividends. Offers have been rolling in but she’s been saying no to most Payal look alike roles. In her other currently on serial Virasat she again plays a negative role, which she says is very different from her character in Kyunki Saas...

"I portray a dynamic, self-centred girl who makes her own decisions and lives by them. It’s not completely negative. It has shades of grey."

Bollywood too has been making overtures to her. Though she played important cameos in Lajja and Devdas it is TV that’s keeping her completely preoccupied. Not bad going for a lady who started her career in Basu Chaterjee’s Gudgudi. Little did any one realise that she’d go on to become a top TV star one day.

Real-life robocops

Robotic bomb detectors and computerised surveillance systems — futuristic technology first seen in movies such as Mission Impossible and Minority Report is becoming reality in the world of modern-day crime prevention.

Discovery Channel introduces viewers to the real-life James Bonds and Robocops of the world with the one-hour special Technocops Sunday December 15 at 7 p.m.

In today’s fast-paced, high-tech society, policing has become increasingly complex and has changed dramatically across the globe. State-of-the-art surveillance, monitoring and even weapons technologies are helping to ensure that, even in the largest and most densely populated cities, there is no place left to hide.

The show goes on the streets getting to know not only the technology of the job, but also the men and women who use and design it. It’s more a crime thriller than a show about crime fighting gizmos.

— Mukesh Khosla