Friday, October 26, 2007

Laughter shows crank up TRPs, dump wit

Anil Gulati

Laughter is a new cash cow these days for TV channels. Gone are the days when we had satirical kavi sammelans, it is day of gags, spoofs and slap stick comedy

THE INDIAN LAUGHTER CHALLENGE has a new look Shekar Suman, bustling Navjot Singh Sidhu and a brand new sponsor Britannia. The new avatar promises ’Purane Jokes Ab Aur nahi. TGILC 3- Naye Jokes Naya Talent.’ The show has got a new face Shonali Nagrani, along with Parizaad Kolah, as an anchor.

Thanks to the Laughter Challenge and its kick off, Sunil Pal, Raju Srivastava, Ehsan Qureshi, Bhagwant are household names today. These shows have brought them to fame. News channels for whom news (or so called breaking news!) was the buzz, comedy has become a new TRP puller. From late night (and weekened day time) crime capsules and horror capsules it is now over to comedy.

Aaj Tak uses Raju, while Star plus uses ‘Star’s one’ laughter challenge retakes. When we refer to these shows one needs to mention about Shekhar Suman’s (The Laughter Challenge Judge) ‘Poll Khol’ on Star Plus, probably the first one to kick off such shows on the news channels. NDTV’s ‘Gustakhi Maaf’ may have a special mention in all this as it stands out differently and still retains its original flavour, though it is majorily focused on politics, cricket and a bit of Bollywood.

In all this jhamela many old timers do feel that comedy is moving into the ‘remix zone’ and originality is just fading away. May be true, but presently it is attracting TRPs. TV critics add that days are not far when it gets staid and the cheap humour gets repetitive. There is indeed a growing need to bring something new or else it may loose excitement of viewers - which anyway is short lived!

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