Students take to the streets in “JNU War” against fee hike (Times Now), Youth Congress “hits the streets” against the removal of the Special Protection Group cover for the Gandhis, Republic TV and Sudarshan News hit out at JNU students in a scuffle, Zee News targets Communists and the Congress on JNU protests, “Maha power play” continues as “Pawar meets Modi” (CNN News18), pollution, Kashmir issue and NRC take over Parliament and television news, US President Donald Trump’s impeachment proceedings keep you awake at night (CNN International) and Prince Andrew’s BBC interview threatens to undo everything The Crown (Netflix) is doing for the British royal family…
Don’t you just want to get away from it all, sit back and have a hearty laugh? You could do that while watching Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s comic turn on One Mic Stand; alternatively, join Archana Puran Singh on The Kapil Sharma Show (Sony) or watch Movie Masti with Maniesh Paul (Zee TV).
If they fail to amuse you, watch any Hindi TV serial — they will make you laugh, in spite of themselves.
The infectious laughter
They say ‘he who laughs last laughs longest’ but on the Kapil Sharma Show he who laughs loudest has the last laugh. And that person would be actor Archana Puran Singh: when she laughs, it registers a 9 on the Richter scale.
Archana Puran Singh’s “ha ha ha” is as pheku as the recorded laughter in our favourite sitcoms — F.R.I.E.N.D.S, for instance (Comedy Central) — but it’s infectious too. So infectious that when actor Salman Khan appeared on the show, on a repeat telecast, he doubled over with laughter as though Mary Kom had socked him in the solar plexus.
But the funny thing is the jokes cracked on the show are not funny. It’s Archana Puran Singh’s response or the guests who make you laugh.
Last Sunday in reruns, Sanjay Dutt and his wife Manyata turned up. The funniest joke went something like this —
Sharma (to Manyata and Sanjay): Which of you is the more romantic?
Sanjay: I am. I have to be.
Archana Puran Singh guffawed like this was the funniest thing since the Marx Brothers.
A quiz show and a show in Serbia
Movie Masti with Maniesh Paul (Zee): We’ve heard of stand-up comedy but who ever heard of stand-up hair? No one did until host Maniesh Paul made his hair stand up.
This ‘quiz’ show is so silly, you find yourself smiling: it features two teams, each with a movie star – last Sunday in reruns, it was Anil Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor.
Maniesh asked them questions of critical national importance: “Who did Anil Kapoor act with more often — Madhuri Dixit or Jackie Shroff”?
Or, what was Ranveer Singh’s first job before he turned to Bollywood? (Copywriter, if you must know.)
It’s enough to make you weep, with laughter of course – now, if only Archana was there to give us a cackle or two.
As for the TV serials, sample this — Choti Sardarni (Colors): Our TV serials are going places and going where no Indian TV serial has ever been before. Choti Sardarni, for instance, has gone to Serbia.
Meher, her new husband Sarab and his son Param have gone there for Meher-Sarab’s honeymoon. Goa, Kerala, the Maldives, we understand — but Serbia?
The back story is even more amazing: Meher loved Manav but her mother Kulwant didn’t like him and what she didn’t like she eliminated, so she got Manav killed and Meher married off to the extremely rich widower Sarab, father to little Param. Got it?
Monday night saw them at the airport waiting to identify baggage. You are a monkey, said Sarab lovingly. You called me a monkey, she asked, batting her eyelids romantically…
It’s a scream.
A fire hazard
Kasautii Zindagii Kay (Star Plus): This long-running daily soap best illustrates how silly a serial can get, and yet be a complete joy to watch.
The story? There is no story, well, none that matters anyhow. It’s all about Prerna and ‘Onu’ (also called Anurag Basu) loving each other yet finding ways to remain apart.
Currently, Prerna is pregnant with Anurag’s child but Anurag suffers from amnesia so he can’t remember that.
Amnesiac Anurag, business tycoon, likes poor Prerna and appoints her as his secretary. Meanwhile, the scheming Komolika gets him to marry her with his mother Mohini’s blessings.
On their wedding night, Komolika tries to seduce Anurag and finally manages to pin him down to the bed. The room smoulders, not with passion but the flames from decorative lights after a short circuit.
And what does the loving husband do? Anurag tells Komolika to remain in the smoke-filled room while he rushes out to find help. What can you do but laugh at her predicament?
The unconvincing Prince Andrews
You will laugh through many parts of Prince Andrew’s Saturday BBC interview too — in sheer incredulity, as in “What? Ha ha ha”. For the House of Windsor, this is the biggest interview since Princess Diana admitted to journalist Martin Bashir in 1995 that the “fairy tale had come to an end”.
Here, the eighth in line to the throne, all sighs, blushes and inchoate replies, Prince Andrews tries unsuccessfully to clear his name of sexual involvement with underage girls during his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, who committed suicide in August after being accused of sex trafficking in the US.
The ‘party prince’ has some hilarious answers: why did he stay with a convicted sex offender (Esptein)? “It was a convenient place to stay”; how do you explain a photograph with your arm around15-year-old Virginia Roberts? “I can’t”; do you have any recollection of meeting her? “I can’t remember”. He also explains how sex is a “positive action”, his sweating predicament, his visits to Epstein’s Palm Beach resort, all the girls at Epstein’s homes he knew nothing about and why he went to Woking to eat pizza…
If you haven’t already, please watch it.