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View from the couch

Glad to know that Zee intends to resume a slot for telefilms. Ananth Mahadevan’s ready-for-release Hindi film, Staying Alive, had me completely bowled over by its lucid yet sparse emotionalism as two incompatible men, played brilliantly by director Mahadevan and Sourabh Shukla, struggled for life and ‘breadth’ in the ICU. Staying Alive is a film that makes you thankful for the gift of life…and cinema.

Suddenly there’s a truckload of new serials to deal with, some of it of a highly cannibalised calibre. Sahara’s Koh-i-Noor seems copied from Zee’s bombshell, Time Bomb. Sahara’s new nightcap, Kshitij, seems to be an extension of Zee’s Sarrkkar. Honestly, do we need another soap about dishonest politicians, and that too where the characters seem to be twice-removed from originality' While Sarrkkar seeks inspiration from a long-forgotten masaala-maar-ke political drama called Sansad, Kshitij goes to Sarrkkar and comes up with a chief minister’s household teeming with dysfunctional characters, like a volatile son whose wife seems to share a special bonding with her father-in-law. In the inaugural episode father-in-law ( S.M. Zahir) did a lovey-dovey sequence with his screen wife Rita Bhaduri (commenting on her eyes) before he was shot down on the steps of Parliament House. Remember how Divya Seth’s politician husband was gunned down in the first episode of Sarrkkar' Are the serials becoming contagious' How else do we account for this double dealing drivel'

Speaking of drivel the other films this weekend were so fake! Especially Tanuja Chandra’s Film Star, which got a first-time premiere on Sahara on Friday night. How could the maker of Dushman , Sangharsh and Sur (flawed but commendable for their originality of vision) make such ersatz tripe' Supposedly an insider’s look at the sham and shindig of showbiz (and barring Kagaz Ke Phool we all know how these films-on-film function!) Film Star had Mahima Chaudhary hamming away dangerously as a hysterical fast-fading ‘superstar’ (wishful shrinking) who cannibalises a battered wife (Vasundhara Das)’s life to resurrect her career. Film Star is about marital rape. It is also about the rape of sensible woman-centric cinema. No wonder Sahara didn’t waste time and money giving Film Star a theatrical release.

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