Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Best & Worst of Koffee With Karan S05S03: Arjun Kapoor & Varun Dhawan

We're settling into a comfortable routine here, aren't we?

As always, you can check out last week's B&W here, ft. lots of twinklin', sprinklin' and KJ's trademark uha uha'ing.

Worst: #BringBackIAmBack

Seems like KJ didn't get my admonitory memo, so we'll keep at the immensely popular 'yo intro so pointless' joke for the second week in a row. So, yo KWK intro so pointless it came first in a sack race with Arvind Kejriwal and Rs. 500 notes. Cue in the forced laughter, for such insipid humour coupled with political agenda is hard to come by in these wondrous times.

Arjun Kapoor laughing

Worst: Arjun Kapoor w/o Ranveer Singh 

Season 3's polka-dotted metrosexual infestation with Ranveer and Arjun is probably in my Top 10 list of Pointless Television. I could write a winding novel on it, which gives all of you even more to reason to thank the stars that I didn't indulge in these pointless write-ups three years back.

I was interested in watching how Arjun Kapoor, who absolutely slew his debut, behaved without the complementary drug addict antics of Ranveer, but alas, I guess some things are destined are to be together. There was nothing wrong with him and Varun, and the kind of sibling-like camaraderie they share was slightly endearing at times, if I can permit an unsullied opinion to break through these nostalgic shackles. But I would rather have him goad Ranveer with some 'tu gaaaa re... tu gaaaaaaa re' or break out into Biwi No. 1 songs than do anything else in life.

Also, what oblivious grotto have I been living in for the past three years to have missed the development of Arjun's man-crush on Ranbir Kapoor and murderous intentions for Ranveer? Has Bhai preached profound love for animals started a driving school? Has Hrithik Roshan written a book on fidelity?

Worst: 'Are you in a relationship?' x10

I could wager that the first 10 minutes of the show were just conventional KWK, in the excruciatingly frustrating sense where KJ kept repeatedly needling for answers no one was particularly interested in giving or listening to. In an episode of 40 odd minutes with three long games, that's a considerable percentage of your episode not spent discussing Arjun Kapoor's smart decision to bring to life Chetan Bhagat's fictional characters or Varun Dhawan's smarter decision to be a part of Dilwale.

10 points to both of them had they ended the entire segment in five seconds in a manner similar to how Arjun answered the other blasphemous taboo question ("So what do you do about sex?" "Have it.") with "So what do you do about relationships?" "Not talk about them."

Best: Still Better Than Gunday

Arjun Kapoor Young

This short clip is the finest piece of acting I've seen this decade, and I've seen Imran Khan movies.

Best: I Want What They're Smokin'

Varun Dhawan funny

The Ellen game shtick plummeted from Bollywood stars thinking they're accurately acing acting tropes with supreme finesse to making an unabashed mockery of them, and that's a 100% better approach. It would've been inane to ask Varun or Arjun to enact Shakespearean epics, especially not when their latest movies have been Dishoom and Ki & Ka.

Extra points to both for their brutal juxtaposition of Arabic, Swahili and Spanish(?). An extra special bonus point to Varun Dhawan for the timely transition to 'Kai jhala tula bhaiya'.

Welcome to the B&W of KWK, where everything's pointless and the points don't matter!

Best: One Small Comeback Quiz For KWK, A Giant Victory For Mankind

The petition from last week worked. Praise the almighty!

In striking evidence of why the #KoffeeQuiz (© Karan Johar) should be a staple ingredient of every KWK episode, we got to witness a post-tragic-loss-incredibly-sulky Varun Dhawan and snarky-condescending big bro Arjun, which is so much more palatable than their polished and diplomatic avatars.

Best: Buzzers vs. Karan 2-0

How can one of the most popular talk shows in one of the richest industries in India featuring one of the richest directors and producers as the host and some of the world's richest actors not afford two tiny working buzzers is beyond me. A small Worst to Karan for not asking Varun and Arjun to make the 'aa' sound when they raised their hands, a la Alia Bhatt.


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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

The Best & Worst of Koffee With Karan S05E02: Akshay Kumar & Twinkle Khanna

We're going to do this as long as it's cool, and then we're going to drag it on to the point where people can say, 'man, it went on too long'.

You can catch the Best & Worst of Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt here ft. SRK having a mock orgasm and Karan Johar a disturbingly real one.

As always, I'm in experimental territory here so your likes, comments and shares are all appreciated, and increasingly encouraged.

Worst: Bring Back The 'I'm Back' Show Intro

If these faceless reporter segments weren't just initially intended for the start of the season, they should've been. They're so blatantly pointless that they're in strong contention with elaichi in biryani, and even elaichi has its minute cult following.

Remember Season 4's intro? Good times.

#BringBackIAmBack, sign the petition.

Best: Sprinkle Twinkle Khanna

Often, I ruminate the unfathomable depth of my pointless Bollywood trivia knowledge, because I can tell you exactly why Babuji iss baar July mein nahi aaye ('Arre babuji koi barsaat thodi hai..'), but then there are some things I'm completely oblivious to, since Koffee With Karan is my only inlet of juicy tidbits into this industry.

I was completely unaware of how great Twinkle Khanna was until Akshay hyped her up last season (like I said, only inlet). She's something else, and my label for her as the actress in Baadshah I had a minor crush on was just me being an ignoramus, in retrospect. The 'sparkling' candour and wit is a gush of fresh air in this industry of agenda-driven female actors. I'm just glad that with Alia in the first episode and with MrsFunnyBones in this one we've established a credible benchmark for the female actors to follow, and we can actually have casual conversations without them trying to assert a particular agenda.

Also, her presence made Akshay a lot more comfortable as compared to his previous appearance three years back, where if the cameras had panned away for five seconds they would cut back to a decapitated Karan Johar and a nonchalant Akshay Kumar with blood on his hands.

Excuse me for this Akki, but is the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star a good pickup line/song for her love you Twinkle.

Worst: 'I'm Heard This 17 Times'

I liked this episode, but man was most of it a drab rehash of the previous Akshay episode in Season 4. They repeated so much that I was left wondering whether I have a ridiculously pointless memory or they have a redundant one. I already knew of KJ was enamoured with Twinkle, his mutinous hostel escapade stunt, Twinkle's National Awards dialogue, Akshay's early bird routine, Twinkle's Mela bet and the Akshay vs. Furniture melee, and that's just from watching KWK and nothing else.

If in the next few weeks KJ asks Arjun Kapoor whether he's a rampant rabbit or Bhai if he's a virgin, that's it guys.

Best/Worst: When It's Your Big Break On National Television But You End Up Watching Akshay Kumar's Heavily Edited Baritone Play Over Akshay Kumar Serenading Karan Johar

Best: Twinkle's Rapid Fire Round

Karan Johar confused

Best: Akshinkle
Alternatively, Best: Twakshay

Romance and love aren't my greatest subjects, but it's always pleasant to see a blissfully strong couple, especially in the dank, dark and dirty confines of Bollywood. I'm someone who's still in obstinate denial over Shahid-Kareena (there's still hope), so I guess the less documented your private life is the more it thrives. Either way, 10/10 to both and an extra point to Akshay Kumar for being the most timely stanchion when Twinkle Khanna started getting emotional with an honest reflection of her acting career.

Another little positive of this episode was that we actually got to know a bit more about the people rather than gossip about the rest of the crowd. Armed with this newfound knowledge, I'm definitely not dating Akshay Kumar due to an incipient fear of being gifted a paperweight and most definitely not going to be giving my future wife's aunt acupuncture when I set out to speak to her parents.

Although knowing me, the latter is plausibly inevitable.


If you don't bring it back by the rumoured Ranbir Kapoor and Ranveer Singh episode, you're dead to me Karan.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

The Best & Worst of Koffee With Karan S05E01: Shah Rukh Khan & Alia Bhatt

Note: I'm in experimental commercial sell-out territory here, because in the archaic words of Shah Rukh Khan, "You need to do the bad stuff to know how hard it is."

Also, Note: Donald Trump may have won, but at least we still got Koffee With Karan.

Best: Koffee With Self-Awareness

I've seen enough KWK to consider myself a certified opinionated reviewer. As much as I would like to shirk away from this guilty pleasure ('junk food television' if you will), as an Indian kid heavily influenced by Bollywood in his nascent years, there's a certain lobe in my brain that will always succumb to darkness (read: Bollywood), my old friend.

There's so much to be said about this dirty, pompous industry (which includes the likes of Kamaal R. Khan) that I would lose you, my lone reader, by the time I'm done. However, immensely satisfying to a pseudo-intellectual Bollywood fan is the significant evolution of Koffee With Karan, and the consequent shedding of an untouchable superstar persona that everyone in the industry used to enforce.

A Karan Johar joking about his homosexual fantasies, an Alia Bhatt giggling at her GK inadequacies and a Shah Rukh Khan aware of spawning terrible cinema (read: Dilwale) is just so much better. We're not at the point where we can have an AIB Roast of Suniel Shetty, but baby steps. Of course, having said that the entire show over five seasons can still be accurately summed up by this:

Best: Shah Rukh Khan On KWK, Always
Worst, Somewhat: Shah Rukh Khan On This KWK

SRK is the undisputed, reigning, defending champion of Karan Johar's pandering gossip sessions. The man, as a corollary of his personality, makes every episode he shoots much more exciting, profound and yet so typically Bollywood.

It's clear an SRK appearance shoots up the standard of the episode way higher than an average one, but I guess that's when you (erroneously) make comparisons with preconceived benchmarks. For some reason, it felt like the self-awareness filtrated the good parts of the show as well, which meant that Shah Rukh was openly trying to be funny and witty, especially during the rapid-fire round because that's what he's known to do.

But I don't want that, you know? The nonchalance, not the purported sarcasm, that clung to the arrogance, wit and humour made it all click, ya feel? Maybe I'm just hatin', or tainted with Bhai-ism, but I've waited six goddamn years to see Shah Rukh on KWK again, and I expected more unforeseen wisecracks ("Are you being sexual again?' "Yes." "Carry on.") rather than an absolutely terrible opera of orgasms.

Of course, having said that Karan's permanent expression on every episode SRK has been on over five seasons can be accurately summed by this:

Also, this:

Best: Alia Bhatt

I would try to keep personal bias out of this supremely inconsequential review of a bollywood gossip show, but man has Alia Bhatt grown on me over these years and man has she grown up in general. The maturity in the selection of roles on the silver screen at an age when Kareena Kapoor was busy being Poo has to be commended. I don't know if it was Shah Rukh's presence, in this episode and during the shooting of Dear Zindagi (hitting the theatres near you by the way, if the show forgot to mention), but she seemed a lot more mature version of her chatty self.

Additionally, there was this bonus father-daughter vibe between her and SRK, and that really took the show beyond the customary suspicious 'co-stars having a fling' territory.

If you would mould a Bollywood star from ground up, it would look like Alia Bhatt. She's born in the industry and knows exactly what sells. But she chooses not to sell it anymore because I guess the genes of Mahesh Bhatt have to produce something more substantial than Student Of The Year, right?

Either way, like Shah Rukh said, she's demotional too good too soon.

Worst: Bollywood's Meryl Streep & Marlon Brando

I'm all for spicing up the tired tropes in KJ-land, but if it means having to listen to SRK's orgasmic cadence, which sounded eerily similar to his constipation sesh in Kal Ho Na Ho and Alia having better knowledge of the Indian President than a '60s heroine being chased by goons, I'll prefer some more Ranveer Singh underwear admiration instead.

Speaking of which,

Best: Ranveer Singh Underwear Fan Club

Worst: Rapid-Fire Is The New Ellen Game

There was a wondrous time when the rapid-fire round was a brutal glimpse into a celebrity's actual personality, unmarred by diplomacy and calculative statements. Spontaneity and candour were cherished assets for they truly highlighted facets that would be meticulously hidden in standard interview answers.

I think it's the stale format to blame -  I've spent five seasons trying to sort the same female actors in order of acting talent, male actors in order of sex appeal and waking up as the guest's public nemesis. Alia could've happily repeated her previous season answers in the exact same sequence and nothing would've changed.

Best: Koffee Quiz Is The New Rapid-Fire

I humbly think the greatest thing to come out of season four, apart from Bhai's performance of his career and Ranveer-Arjun's self-depreciation theatre, was the Koffee Quiz. It stood in stark contrast to the increasing obsolescence of the rapid-fire and was the only highlight of many interviews marred with mind-numbingly boring political correctness (looking at y'all Piggy & Deeps).

This was no different, as it led to a stoppage in Shah Rukh's cosplay of 'Shah Rukh in interviews' and he became 'Shah Rukh in interviews' which is borderline Best of KWK terrain, if something so blatantly oxymoronic does exist. Both of the guests were at their realest, and nothing is more endearing than celebrities being themselves in this vast, vapid and vacuous bubble of specious images.

More of this, please.


I'm going through an experimental phase (you could call it my mid-life crisis), so if you liked this or hated it, I'm here to hear both with equivalent eagerness. If you liked it, do consider sharing it and helping me build up a blogging street cred and if you didn't, that's what you get for reading an inconsequential review on a Bollywood gossip show.