The Worst Of ‘India’s Most Desirable’
We watched; we survived—all 19 episodes. Contrary to what some readers think, we did not enjoy watching Simi Garewal’s just-concluded talk show. We did it mostly because going by our viewership stats, many of you enjoy reading the recaps. During the first (and we pray to God, last) season of Simi Selects India’s Most Desirable, Simi showed us how to stretch a five-minute interview into an hour-long episode (the verdict is still out on whether she actually met Lady Gaga—as one reader pointed out, they were never shown in the same frame). But for the most part, SSIMD was a five-month lesson in how not to make a chat show (don’t do your research; repeat guests from previous chat shows and ask them the same questions; hire the world’s worst tarot card reader to fill in the air time…). Here then are some of the most memorable (or rather, forgettable) moments from season one, our very own version of the Razzies created especially for what is perhaps one of the most mind-numbing TV series to have ever aired on these shores:
Worst Kiki Appearance
Indian television was changed forever with the first appearance of Kiki on the first episode of IMD. Though viewers were scarred for life after just one encounter with Simi’s baby-voiced avatar, she actually made just four appearances in the first season but as we all know, that was four appearances too many. Simi, never one to bother with research, continued to unleash the freak show that was Kiki on episodes with Abhay Deol, Shahid Kapoor and upstart Ranveer Singh, who actually asked for her (Yuvraj Singh, on the other hand, sensibly begged off). Unlike the two Kapoors and Singh, Deol suggested not so subtly how he might do away with Kiki should he actually be saddled with her. We should note though that Deol is the only one of the four who is actually in a committed relationship; the other three are single and going by reports, ever ready to mingle and thus more given to showing that they would be good boyfriends, even to the likes of Kiki who Garewal herself described as “insecure”, “annoying” and “silly”. We’re still reeling from that dreaded baby voice on the Ranbir Kapoor episode because as they say, the first cut is the deepest.
Winner/Loser: The Ranbir Kapoor episode.
Most Over-Bearing Parent
If you think Bollywood stars are weird, you should meet their parents. Considering that much of the season seemed like a series of matrimonial ads, it was no surprise that Garewal decided to include pre-recorded video interviews with her guests’ mummies and daddies. Turned out that learning about an actor or actress’s family only makes them less desirable. Neetu Kapoor, mother of Ranbir, pretty much said that the sun shines out of her son’s backside (Mrs. Kapoor, if this were true, Saawariya would not have been such a darkly lit film). But a besotted parent is perhaps better than an over-bearing one. We were told that 23-year-old Sonakshi Sinha’s father, Shatrughan “Shotgun” Sinha, does not approve of “partying” or “designer clothes”, and that the actress’s mother travels with her everywhere. This however was nothing compared to Neil Nitin Mukesh’s admission that despite being 29 years old, he does not have a key to his house and that his father waits up for him to come home. Nitin Mukesh didn’t just stop at defending his actions but also issued a stern warning to his son’s potential love interests. Then again, maybe none of these parents are as weird as Abhay Deol’s family where father and mother are called uncle and aunty.
Winner/Loser: Nitin Mukesh.
Worst Oversell of a Non-Existent Talent
Ranbir Kapoor played the guitar; Siddhartha Mallya made a cocktail; Deepika Padukone and Kangna Ranaut baked; Ranveer Singh rapped; and Priyanka Chopra and Neil Nitin Mukesh sang (the former a little, the latter a lot). The others—Shahid Kapoor, Karan Johar, Rani Mukerji—danced, either when requested by fans or as penalties. Where there was no second talent to showcase, Simi invented one and turned Asin into a face reader. Yet for some unexplained reason, she seemed to believe that all Bollywood stars could draw. Each episode concluded with a “self-portrait” to be auctioned off for charity. Simi found ingenious ways to heap praise on the works, which could be described as doodles at best. She called Sonakshi Sinha’s sketch “the work of a true artist”; and said she “had never seen anything so amazing” as Freida Pinto’s mashing together of different colours; but really let the B.S. hit the fan when she described Anushka Sharma’s abstract painting as “a Cézanne or a Matisse”. If SSIMD were aired in France, we firmly believe that Garewal would have been sued for defaming the dead.
Winner/Loser: The Anushka Sharma episode.
Ranbir Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Shahid Kapoor, Rani Mukerji, Anuskha Sharma, Ranveer Singh, Sonakshi Sinha and John Abraham. More than half the guests that appeared on SSIMD were seen on Koffee With Karan just a few months ago. The ones left out were either too old to be desirable or were in publicly acknowledged committed relationships. Simi may have covered similar ground to K-Jo but the guests seemed to be suffering from multiple personality disorder going from cheeky to coy when in front of the matronly Garewal as opposed to the fun-loving Johar. Ranbir Kapoor transformed from a self-confessed Lothario to a self-confessed mamma’s boy; while his ex Deepika Padukone went from bitchy to benevolent. Priyanka Chopra may have told Johar that no one takes Kareena Kapoor seriously but she told Simi she’d love to work with her arch rival. Even otherwise bratty newbies Anuskhka Sharma and Ranveer Singh turned into subdued versions of their selves to share their struggler stories with Simi. Only Sonam Kapoor couldn’t help from being her true (bitch-slapping) self. While it’s safe to presume that Ranbir’s transformation was a well planned PR stunt, there was little to explain the behaviour of John Abraham, who morphed from a self-absorbed Narcissist into the most self-deprecatory star on the planet, making it seem to us like he has more personalities than facial expressions.
Winner/Loser: John Abraham.
If there’s one thing we learned from SSIMD it was that if you want to become a tarot card reader for the stars, you should familarise yourself with a snazzy little Internet tool called Google. Among the show’s resident tarot card reader’s astute predictions were that Priyanka Chopra will “really love the person” she marries (leading us to wonder if this is particularly unusual in the bizarre land that is Bollywood), that Deepika Padukone will have “a lot of fame and wealth”, and that critics’ darling Abhay Deol has received “positive feedback” for his work. But her trump card (no pun intended) was when she grandly declared that Ranbir Kapoor’s future wife “may or may not be” from the film industry.
Winner/Loser: The Ranbir Kapoor episode.