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By Preity Zinta's Guinness World Records has powered past Shah Rukh Khan's Zor KaJjhatka and Akshay Kumar's Master chef India in the trp game. A t2 report card on how bolly's leading ladies have fared as hosts on the small screen...
  • Published 31.03.11

Preity Zinta in Guinness World Records

When it comes to natural charm, unbeatable spunk and infectious effervescence, few can do it better than Bollywood’s original bubbly girl. As the host of the Colors show in which contestants attempt to create and break records to etch their names in the Guinness book, Preity is a winner. Whether it is egging on the participants, cringing helplessly at life-threatening feats or jumping around with childlike glee whenever a record is created or broken, Preity is the life of the show. She does grope for words time and again and the laboured jokes often miss the mark, but Preity’s dimpled smile more than makes up for it. Ting!

t2 rating: 8/10

Madhuri Dixit in Kahin Naa Kahin Koi Hai

Years before she dazzled us with that million-watt smile as judge on the Sony dance show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa, Madhuri Dixit played matchmaker on Kahin Naa Kahin Koi Hai. Though she looked lovely and most men wanted to take her home — instead of the brides lined up on the show — Mads could barely rise above the dull and dated format of the Sony show. Result? Despite Madhuri, Kahin Naa Kahin Koi Hai came and went.

t2 rating: 4.5/10

Urmila Matondkar in Waar Parriwar

Many were surprised when the Rangeela siren chose to host a singing talent competition between families. Armed with an impressive knowledge of Indian classical music, Urmila bubbled with infectious charm and vivacious energy, which were as much of a prime-time draw as the abundant talent on display. Sadly, not many in the audience tuned in.

t2 rating: 6/10

Priyanka Chopra in Khatron Ke Khiladi

One of the most talked-about TV debuts of recent times. Priyanka Chopra took over the Fear Factor reins from Akshay Kumar for Season 3 of the Colors show. Nervous and listless in the first few episodes, the Dostana girl gradually came into her own, but the I-want-to-be-cool desperation often showed. She did attempt some of the stunts herself — the one in which she dangled from a chopper and then plunged into icy-cold water was impressive — but the promise of tiguna (thrice) the fun and fear was not met. The plus? Where Priyanka fell short of words, she made up with her oomph. Those teeny-weeny shorts were enough to hold the viewer’s attention for 60 minutes every weeknight.

t2 rating: 7.5/10

Soha Ali Khan in Khelo Jeeto Jiyo

There’s not much going for a game show in which one can win some furniture by answering a few questions. An earnest Soha Ali Khan tried her best to infuse life into the STAR Plus show, but Khelo Jeeto Jiyo suffered on account of a boring format and vapid contestants. The few in the audience that tuned in initially to see Sharmila Tagore’s beautiful daughter take the plunge into television hosting, reached for the mute button within minutes. The dismal TRP count meant that Soha’s innings on TV was even more short-lived than some of her films in theatres.

t2 rating: 4/10

Manisha Koirala in Sawaal Dus Crore Ka

The Nepali beauty who made a smashing film debut in the Subhash Ghai multi-starrer Saudagar wasn’t as lucky when it came to her maiden television outing. Partnering Anupam Kher on Zee TV’s Sawaal Dus Crore Ka — a game show that was launched to rival Kaun Banega Crorepati and promised 10 times the prize money, but wasn’t half as riveting — a bloated and bored Manisha was a washout. Zee TV pulled the show off air in a few weeks. Manisha has rarely been seen on screen — small or big — since.

t2 rating: 3/10

Shilpa Shetty in Bigg Boss 2

Bollywood heroine. Check. Hot and sexy. Check. Winner of Celebrity Big Brother. Check. Colors managed a coup of sorts when they signed on Shilpa Shetty — fresh from a dramatic win in Celebrity Big Brother — to host Season 2 of Bigg Boss. Though Shilpa — who had won the popular UK reality format battling racism and a flagging Bollywood career — wowed in the oomph department (those navel-flaunting saris sure pushed up the TRP count), she wasn’t half as good when it came to chatting the contestants up every Friday. The fact that Amitabh Bachchan replaced her the next season highlighted Shilpa’s no-show as host.

t2 rating: 5/10

...and the others in the race

Mandira Bedi

The Shanti girl initially let her noodle straps do all the talking, but today Mandira Bedi is the go-to girl when it comes to all things cricket — and more — on TV.

Mona Singh

She debuted with a fiction phenomenon — as Jassi in Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin — but today, Mona is the first choice as host. Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa to Entertainment Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega to Shaadi 3 Crore Ki....

Saumya Tandon

Best known as Kareena Kapoor’s cousin Roop in Jab We Met, pretty and petite Saumya Tandon has hosted two seasons of Zee TV’s Dance India Dance and recently partnered Shah Rukh Khan to anchor Zor Ka Jhatka on Imagine.

Mini Mathur

The former MTV VJ has been the face of some high-profile reality shows — from Indian Idol to Iss Jungle Se Mujhe Bachao.


Which Bollywood heroine should host a TV show and why? Tell

Over the last decade, international television has seen some high-profile women presenters

Heidi Klum in Project Runway

German stunner Heidi Klum is the face — and the executive producer — of this American reality format which tests the designing skills of contestants. As host, Heidi’s style is simple and straight. Always encouraging, she, however, doesn’t mince words when it comes to criticising a design or a contestant. What do viewers look forward to the most (besides gaping at Heidi throughout the show)? Her perfectly practised double air-kiss to a losing contestant in every episode!


Nigella Lawson in Nigella’s Feasts

Drop-dead gorgeous, Nigella Lawson is a sight for sore eyes. Her easy and charming — often flirtatious — style makes viewers tune in week after week. Apart from her looks, Nigella’s strength lies in the fact that she doesn’t take herself — or her show — too seriously, often emphasising that she cooks for her own pleasure and finds cooking therapeutic. “I think cooking should be about fun and family... I think part of my appeal is that my approach to cooking is really relaxed and not rigid. There are no rules in my kitchen,” the former food critic has been quoted as saying. On her show, Nigella makes cooking look like an amusing hobby instead of a tiring chore. If the sinful delights she rustles up leave you salivating, the hint of cleavage has you gaping. Still wondering why she is called the “Queen of food porn”?


Padma Lakshmi in Top Chef

With a figure like that, one would think that she wouldn’t be seen within miles of a kitchen. The host of TRP topper Top Chef for the last five years, Padma Lakshmi spices things up on the American competitive cooking reality format. The former Mrs Salman Rushdie, who has also hosted a string of culinary shows like Padma’s Passport and Planet Food, brings charm and charisma to the show. The fact that she loves her food — from a mean steak to her mother’s rasam — is a bonus. And who wants to look at the food when a red-hot Padma — in tight leather pants and midriff-baring top — is bent over a smoking pot?


Oprah in The Oprah Show

The show is an institution, the host is an icon. It’s the show everyone wants to be on, it’s the host everyone wants to have a tete-a-tete with. The face of the highest rated talk show in the history of American television, Oprah is much more than a TV host. The driving force behind a show that is a reflection of and a comment on society, Oprah — often hailed as the world’s most influential woman — transcends boundaries of class and country. Time magazine describes Oprah on the show as having “plainspoken curiosity, robust humour and, above all, empathy. Guests with sad stories to tell are apt to rouse a tear in Oprah’s eye. They, in turn, often find themselves revealing things they would not imagine telling anyone, much less a national TV audience. It is the talk show as a group therapy session.”


Ellen DeGeneres in The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Launched in September 2003, the celebrity talk show hosted by the stand-up comedienne, has been a smash hit from Day One, winning 25 Emmy Awards. Combining comedy, celebrity guests and human interest stories, Ellen brings a mix of mad humour and subtle poignancy to her show, also peppering it with some song and dance at the beginning and during commercial breaks. She’s even hosted the show from a hospital bed!


Tyra Banks in America’s Next Top Model

As creator and host of America’s best known model hunt, former model Tyra Banks uses her personal experiences to colour the format and tenor of the reality show. Her easy and empathetic approach contribute hugely to its popularity. In addition, she hosts The Tyra Banks Show, a talk show format centred on women that features stories about everyday people combined with celebrity interviews. What works? The show uses emotional flashbacks to Tyra’s own childhood and adolescence, saying: “Every woman has a story... and it happened to Tyra too”.

Who is your favourite female presenter on international television? Tell