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.

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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.

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