Monday, November 19, 2007
It wasn't so last year during its first season. However things have changed considerably as 'Jhalak Dikhla Jaa' this year has become one strange ground with lots of queer things happening.
The lucky Balaji brigade (read Ronit Roy, Jay Bhanushali, Prachi Desai and even Sudha Chandran now after some recent developments) are allegedly walking away with all the goodies. And that's what the other contestants are said to be fuming about. The supposed favoritism and partiality towards the Balaji brigade seems to have left them disturbed while they feel they are not getting what they deserve. They have been seen complaining directly and indirectly about how the judges are sweet to them, praising them only on camera but later giving them meager points. Sonali Kulkarni had talked on camera about her displeasure about being given low scores.
Admits Sonali, "I did say so because that's what I felt. I have no complaints against the audiences. I also respect the judges for being experts in their respective fields. But I felt they gave me low scores even when I performed well. I am happy that after being so honest, I got the maximum number of votes in the last episode."
Sandhya Mridul and even Mir Ranjan Negi have hinted about this supposed prejudice. This could be dismissed as a bunch of embittered contestants speaking out their minds whenever they got the inkling that their hard work was not getting its due. Or probably the fear and threat they feel about the fact that Balaji Czarina Ekta Kapoor's dad Jeetendra is also on the panel of judges.
But the hue and cry made by the Balaji camp about their blue eyed girl Prachi Desai's ouster from the show last week reportedly only makes things a little more blatant. The Balaji camp talked about how Prachi's ouster was unfair since she was so very hardworking and sincere. It then went to the extent of producer Siddharth Basu holding meetings with BBC Worldwide who own the original format, 'Dancing with the stars' about the possibility of changing the format of the show so that a wild card entry is introduced to facilitate Prachi's return.
And it did work out as the international format could actually be changed (happens only in India!) to suit the whims and fancies of a select and lucky few. The latest is that the wild card entry will only have Sudha Chandran (who joins the Balaji squad again after her entry in 'Kyunki saas …….') and Prachi Desai competing for a return. The reason given is that they have been extremely popular and have scored the maximum in terms of votes and the marks of judges.
Says Albert Almeida, Business Head, Sony, "We wanted to bring in tougher competition since we are in the last six now. We are giving the most popular and the most critically acclaimed dancers a chance .It was not there in the original BBC format across the world but our environment is different. So we need to do it and we have done it. However if we have invented it here and its gets exported, so be it." Well these are reasons, but then detractors claim it has something to do with a couple of Balaji produced shows which will air on the channel and the news about Ekta Kapoor commanding a slot on Sony soon (reportedly their latest TRP garnering tactic).
As for the rest of the contestants, they are visibly upset about the same. When Sandhya Mridul was queried about it, she chose to slam the phone and not take further calls. Sonali Kulkarni was more forthcoming, "It's a surprise no doubt but I am ready for all kinds of surprises in life. In my career, I have done off beat films, mainstream films and even Italian films. I have seen quite a bit of life in the process. I am ready for all kinds of challenges. But if the Balaji camp is being given preferential treatment, I can only say that it's totally unfair and wrong."
Last year's winner and anchor Mona Singh cried when Tapur Chatterjee and Mini Mathur were ousted but surprisingly didn't even shed a single tear when she heard about Prachi ouster"s which she called 'shocking.'
Prachi is a hard worker and so is Sudha Chandran. But what about the contestants ousted earlier- Aadesh Srivastava, Cyrus Broacha, Tapur Chatterjee and Mini Mathur? Didn"t they deserve another chance too?
Didn't the classy ramp scorcher Tapur Chatterjee have an amazing, probably the best improvement graph (as admitted by the judges themselves)? She didn't even get a chance to prove her mettle further, thanks to the lack of audience votes. Wasn't the chic Mini Mathur unbiased and fair when she asked the audiences to vote for her only if she deserves? Mini is known to have requested for votes for contestants in all the seasons of 'Indian Idol' but when it came to bagging votes for herself she failed.
The queen of soaps has gone on record to say how her proteges (Jay and Prachi) should go far in the show as they are from modest backgrounds and the rest of the celebs have earned their moolah.
Well, must say the special brigade is real lucky as they seem to be having such strong backing from the queen herself and from one of the major production houses in the country. They have got people to push the right buttons and create hype around them (like the way Prachi 'young' age is being so hyped). This could get a little sad for people like Tapur Chatterjee who comes from an illustrious background (her grandpa is legendary filmmaker Hrishikesh Mukherjee) but who always talks about how her grandfather was proud of her for doing something on her own, standing up on her own feet without taking any favours from anyone. People like Mini Mathur and Sandhya Mridul who too have come up on their own and carved a separate niche for themselves.
It's said that fortune favors the brave. But in today's world, luck might just favour the ones who have the right connections. Still we would prefer to see poetic justice and a fair game being played any day!