Look Who's Talking With Niranjan Iyengar will make you long for Simi Garewal

Rajyasree Sen

Aug 31, 2015 15:40:01 IST

Rarely have I missed Simi Garewal as much as I have over the past two Sundays. But I have felt her simpering, white presence elegantly wagging her finger at me, while I watched the new season of Look Who’s Talking With Niranjan (Season 2). For the less informed, there was a Look Who’s Talking With Niranjan 1 before this. Niranjan being Niranjan Iyengar, scriptwriter, lyricist, the author of the book – The Making Of Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (yes, that is an actual book) – and BFF to the stars.

Since there has been a Simi Garewal-sized hole in the celebrity-interview universe on TV ever since The Lady in White bowed out of our TV screens, Iyengar decided he would get us hitherto unheard of secrets from the stars. Sure, Karan Johar did the same while offering “koffee”, but cannily, Look Who’s Talking With Niranjan entered the world of television when Johar was on a sabbatical.

For the new season, we’ve seen promos with Varun Dhawan, Shraddha Kapoor, Tiger Shroff and Sonakshi Sinha giggling, making strange faces at the camera and looking generally gregarious. It’s all going to be a hoot you see. Fun conversations! Between buddies! With selfies! Yay!

Or so you’d think.

Look Whos Talking With Niranjan Iyengar will make you long for Simi Garewal

Anushka Sharma in Look Who's Talking with Niranjan.

The first season had big names and had opened with Iyengar interviewing Johar. This season, Johar has been replaced by Varun Dhawan. Yes, even I felt that that was unnecessarily cruel.

But why judge beforehand? Maybe Iyengar would ask him something interesting, and maybe Dhawan would say something entertaining. No such luck. All I learnt is that Dhawan is a method actor (really, I’m not making this up).

Acting in Badlapur had an effect on all his relationships, we were told, because he became that character. Also, he was thrilled when Karan Johar had said he’d direct Dhawan. Dhawan has a habit of paraphrasing the lines written for him in a script. Also, he held hands with Sidharth Malhotra during the first shot he gave for Student Of The Year.

Throughout this utterly scintillating conversation, Niranjan looked serious, questioning, and even cheerful at moments – all without a passing thought that his audience and crew may have fallen fast asleep.

In the second episode with Anushka Sharma, the actress informed us that she’d read her Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi script for three hours every day while shooting the film, that she didn’t know who Aditya Chopra was and she’d never wanted to be an actress. The only worthwhile minute of the episode was when Sharma said that she had gone and looked at the Twitter profiles of some people who accused her of ruining Virat Kohli’s game by distracting him. She discovered they were all educated men, working in IT or as engineers.

She said that she realised that if educated people have such a regressive outlook, nothing can help them. She also spoke of how Kohli had played a match the day his father passed away, and both Kohli and she faced criticism for his performance – it had really irked her because people had no clue of what was actually going on in any of their lives before passing judgment on them. But this was a mere two minutes out of 22.

You would think that the younger breed of actors, known for being blasé and outspoken, would make for more interesting and less politically correct television. Yet, for some reason, Iyengar has decided to be serious and behave like he’s hosting The Actor’s Studio. Clearly, no one has told him that The Anupam Kher Show, shot in a set made up of faux ruins, already occupies that slot. To give Kher credit, he shifts his tone from chatty to serious, depending upon the need of the interview. Look Who’s Talking is shot in a restaurant, and ends with the stars and Iyengar taking a selfie – this is as far from serious interviewing as possible. So why kill us with the gravitas?

Koffee With Karan had inside jokes and risqué references and despite the absurd sets, the show did come across as two pals having coffee and gossiping together. Whatever it was, at least it didn’t sedate us. I, at least, would keep watching till the end, even if just to balk and roll my eyes at the fakery on display. Wives, who we know aren’t speaking to their husbands in real life, pretended that they have the perfect marriage.

Co-stars who hate each other tried to come across as best friends. It was fun because Johar wasn’t making any attempt to give us serious television. And let’s not forget Garewal, who for all her Madame Tussaud’s charm, did get her guests to shed a tear and at least look beautiful. Hell, even Nikki Bedi used to give us high-energy celebrities who looked as if they’d just snorted a line of coke before coming on camera.

Iyengar’s new-found seriousness and maturity seems a total misfit on this series. It’s like Shobhaa De writing a book on philosophy. Or Aamir Khan not being sanctimonious. If you’re not good at it, don’t do it.

Next week’s episode has Sonakshi Sinha on it and the promos look promising – but the cynic in me who has lost 44 minutes of her life to Look Who’s Talking would like to point out, that’s the art of promo-making. Then again, maybe third time’s the charm? Find out on Sunday.

Look Who’s Talking With Niranjan Season 2 on Zee Café at 9pm, every Sunday.

Updated Date: Aug 31, 2015 15:43:32 IST