Question: How big is Bollywood?
Answer: Just about enough to sustain three seasons of Koffee with Karan.
As talk show host, Oprah wannabe, Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) fanboy and all-round bestie to the stars, Karan Johar demonstrated with the third and supposedly last season of his popular talk show that Bollywood is made up of precisely 20 people, give or take a few socially mobile B-listers. Which is why over the weekend, to coincide with his last “award show” episode, KJo let slip to a newspaper that he’d like “the audience to let me move on”. In other words, KJo had finally run out of people to interview. With Simi Garewal set to replace that time slot with India’s Most Desirable, we confess that we will miss KJo and his unabashed attempts to ferret out a controversy even when there was none to be had.
Who’ll inject innuendo into bad puns? Make semi-fake passes at sexually ambiguous male stars? Overuse the words “sexy”, “beautiful” and “glamorous” and make Samsung wish they’d created a thesaurus app for that nifty tablet of theirs? While we work on our Facebook campaign to bring KJo back, here’s a recap of some of the more valuable lessons we learned this season.
When slagging off colleagues, it helps to have reinforcement
The season didn’t really get going until three episodes in. Sonam Kapoor set the decorum bar so low that everyone who followed seemed to take Sonam’s freewheeling bashing as carte blanche to air a little dirty laundry themselves. After slagging off Ranbir Kapoor (for being a bad boyfriend, though to her or Deepika Padukone it wasn’t quite clear), Kangna Ranaut (needs English lessons), Shobhaa De (probably had plastic surgery), Sanjay Leela Bhansali (needs colour in his life), she inadvertently set a pattern in motion. If you’re a) making it in Bollywood and b) you have an infinitely more famous family member to get your back then c) hurl away. Thus Kareena Kapoor lashed out at Priyanka Chopra for being dramatic and fake, insinuated that Preity Zinta and Rani Mukerji were both “gawky and fat” and that she didn’t really consider Sonam or Deepika competition. Sajid Khan, brother to Farah, managed to not only accuse Ashutosh Gowarikar of ripping off both Die Hard and Body Double but also hint that movie critic Khalid Mohammed was too poor to pay his bills, and that Aishwarya Rai Bachchan had had plastic surgery. Only Tusshar Kapoor, who called John Abraham “expressionless” and said Preity came to mind when he heard the words “cosmetic surgery”, seemed in no position to call upon sister Ekta, who seemed all too willing to biff her own brother in the face.
Two leading actors can never be friends.
There’s always something fishy about two known frenemies pretending to be buds on Koffee with Karan, which sadly didn’t prevent a lot of people from trying. Maybe they’re vying for a role in KJo’s next movie? How else to explain the chummy bonhomie and lovey-dovey advances that even had KJo mildly nauseated at times? First Sonam and Deepika tried to bond over the beastliness of Ranbir (though during last Sunday’s finale KJo scoffed at the notion that the two were friends); then Vidya Balan sucked on Rani’s thumb to show the two had buried the hatchet; with even SRK jumping on the good-friend bandwagon praising Hrithik Roshan as “the biggest star the world will ever see” (the unspoken subtext being, after SRK himself, of course).
There’s no such thing as too many besties
Three seasons in, it’s fairly obvious that KJo’s guests are either a) his friends or b) actors with nothing better to do (see Sajid, Riteish Deshmukh and Boman Irani). Which is why for all his wheeler-dealing, KJo has never been able to get Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar and Aamir Khan on his show. Left with just his buds, KJo segmented everyone into childhood friends (the Akhtars), good friends (Hrithik, John), idols (Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit), or in the case of SRK, bestie for life.
How adept he was at needling them was directly proportional to how scared he was of pissing them off. Thus Amitabh, SRK and Ajay Devgn all got KJo the reverential fanboy, while Sajid, Rani and Priyanka got KJo the indignant protector of Bollywood morality. KJo even managed to act affronted by Sajid’s 2009 spat with Ashutosh, asking him without any sense of irony “if he thought it was okay to be mean and nasty”. Only twice, in the case of Imtiaz Ali and John, did KJo get so flustered by their beauty that he failed to rise to his mud-raking best, giving John an out on clarifying his relationship status with Bipasha Basu, and inexplicably giving Imtiaz the hamper even though he ranked Johar third in a list of six top directors.
Nayantara Kilachand is the founder of www.mumbaiboss.com
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