Simi's new show: India's most botoxed, banal, and brainless
By Rajyasree Sen
Simi Garewal's back, and she's younger than ever. The most captivating part of her new show is not her A-list guests but her face. There's not a line or a crease on her skin that would be the envy of a six-year old.
The first three episodes of Tales from the Crypt – sorry, India's Most Desirable – were dedicated to the Holy Trinity of Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone and Siddhartha Mallya. And that's quite a line-up. The grand dame of the Indian talk show, Karan Johar would need to land Shahid Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor to top this trifecta.
India's Most Desirable is supposedly no ordinary interview show. It's relaxed, informal, youthful, allowing us to see our favourite celebrities like never before – or so those endless promos claim. But here's what it really is: the television version of Shaadi.com. Simi waxes eloquent about the wonders of her guests, who in turn tell us how monogamous (Ranbir) or giving (Deepika) they are. Then their parents come on to sing their virtues, insisting that anyone who beds or weds their progeny should bless their lucky stars.
Instead of an astrologer, we get a tarot reader who clearly spends a lot of time reading the Bombay Times gossip section, just so that she can tell the celebrity guest everything they and we already know. Deepika will get married to someone rich and famous. The Kapoor boy will marry someone who may be from the film industry … or not (what a brave prediction). It's a wonder she didn't tell Siddhartha Mallya that he won't eat carbs as long as he continues dating Deepika. It's all so dull and scripted, methinks, the producers should invite suitors to call in and hold a spot-swayamvar as the final segment to keep things lively.
My personal prediction: By the end of the season and after the umpteen platitudes about her guests' eligibility quotient, we’re all going to yearn for old Simi with her nonsensical questions about dead parents and pets a la Rendezvous.
The stilted format of the show or the soppy parental tripe isn't the worst part, nor are the suddenly coy and morally upright guests. The true horror is our very own crypt-keeper, Simi. The radiant immobile face aside, there's her ‘new look’: MC Hammer-style padded shoulder jackets and flowy skirts with ripped edges paired with translucent striated stockings. Despite her vows to steer clear of her favourite colour, she was back in virginal white for the Padukone episode and wore cream lace to interrogate young Mallya.
The most unnerving part of the show is a section called The Minefield in which Simi asks hard-hitting questions of the celebrity. In the first episode, the questions were less scary than Simi's insistence on speaking in a five-year old child’s voice while pretending to be a 20-year old girlfriend of Ranbir Kapoor named Kiki. Reminiscent of Norman Bates in Psycho, she cooed at Kapoor, held his hand, and asked him to tell her that he loves her. It was an aging cougar's sick fantasy come true. Kapoor ought to get an award for getting through the segment without looking nervous even once.
Kiki seemed to have been hastily canned, but Simi ought to have considered doing The Minefield in drag with the boring and blah Deepika Padukone. With zero wit or charm, and a holier-than-thou attitude that would put Mother Teresa to shame, she clearly needs something to loosen her up – maybe Simi could have pretended to be Akshay Kumar and asked Deepika about her love life post her rumoured tryst with the Khatron Ke Khiladi.
Fat Boy Slim Mallya though was surprisingly the most interesting guest of the triumvirate. His parents were also the most sensible and unlike Neetu Singh or the Padukones, they didn’t sing his praises and/or talk about what a catch their son is. Witty, cocky, proud of being a playboy, happy to be rich, seemingly sensible, he definitely ruined any attempt by Simi to portray him as marriage material. This was the only interview which seemed real – and not a PR campaign for the celebrity guest – and where we learnt something about the guest, instead of some made-up wish-list of what they want in a spouse.
This brief respite from plastic celebrities will be over soon. Next up is Sonakshi Sinha and therefore also – eeks – Shotgun Sinha.
So here's the bottomline. Will the show improve? I doubt it. Will we have more to rip apart? I’m certain of it. The moral of the story: Go easy on the botox. It clearly immobilises your brain along with your face.
Rajyasree Sen is a restaurateur, TV connoisseur and unsolicited opinion-giver.
Updated Date: Jun 27, 2011 21:29:28 IST