Sunday, March 28, 2010

Television no-shows

In my book of a hundred and one things to do before I die, hosting a TV auto show comes pretty much in the top 20. Just after winning that MotoGP title. And just before that long pending orgy with Chitrangada Singh.

Unlike Rohin Nagrani, an auto hack, certified cager, and an unparalleled motorcyclist, I have nothing for Vicky Butler Henderson of Fifth Gear fame. I think she has the worst name in the world. And I’m not even going to tell you about how a pale looking mongrel, who went by the same name, ruined the first half of my childhood.

To start with, I don’t understand the concept of Fifth Gear anymore. Today, BMW 7 series limos come equipped with 8 computerised gears. Why just cars? Volvo’s FH series has, and of course I’m exaggerating, eighteen hundred gears. And those are only the ones that put you in reverse. So fifth gear in that context is ‘somewhere down the middle of nowhere’. Which is exactly what Fifth Gear, the TV show, is.

Closer home, our News channels are littered with motoring shows, all of which are, in one word, rubbish. With the exception of Siddharth Patankar, everybody who comes close to an inch of a car on the telly looks like they’ve just walked into the frame with an axe in their stomach. One spectacular lady, whose name I can’t remember, gladly, said for the 97th time on her show that the car she was driving at that time was “a reeeely good car”. And the chances are, before she’s done a century, somebody will run her over in a Ford Endeavour while she chooses to Cruze.

Worse still, we have Raftaar (Speed, in Hindi) where even the slightest movement of the steering wheel is accentuated with a ‘scccrrreeeeeeecchhhh’ in the background score, accompanied by the sound of their office window panes being shattered. And to keep my promise, which is to have a no-conflict Sunday, I’m not even going to tell you about the motoring shows from some esteemed automotive publications in the country. Imagine Mao Zedong in ghastly orange leathers trying to “discuss” jokes on The Great Indian Laughter Challenge and you’ll get the picture. And if that doesn’t feed your passion for humour, you can always turn to Shireen Bhan. Her overnight switch to a clipped Brit accent never fails to amuse me. Nor does her inclusion in Jitesh Pillaai’s list of India’s 50 most beautiful women. Why Jitesh, why? Was Parizaad Kolah Marshall, a truly beautiful woman, too 2009 for the list? Or are you that guy who’d choose a Hyundai Elantra over a Ferrari 355 because it was the only car that wanted to come home with you in your ghastly nightgown?

In fact, there’s my abrupt conclusion of the week, in all its scarlet-turtle-necked glory; Jitesh Pilaai is to print, what Vicky Butler Henderson is to television broadcast journalism: Rubbish.


  1. Lovely.. As usual your fascination for the pillai is truly disturbing. Well written nonetheless!
    Make this a bi-weekly!

  2. Good stuff dude. True on most accounts. But Vicky is not rubbish. I haven't seen the latest series (finally learning how to control the Torrentz syndrome) but some of their earlier shows (with Tiff/Ford/Vicky) are really good to watch, although agreed that it does get depressing sometimes. 'My name is Bhan', on the other hand, is pretty much close to being rubbish. I think she's a test bed for the latest Jap bio-mech technology, going by her machine-like ability to avoid rest/food and be on TV18 24x7, with that spot-welded smile and the accent. The auto TV shows? I rather not comment on those. They all have only one target viewer in mind - an idiotic, white '3-piece suit' wearing real estate broker from a village in MP wanting to buy a 5-lakh hatch before his neighbour. As a result, they're missing out a lot. The only solution left is to beg Discovery Turbo to bring more up-to-date stuff. Hope some of the 'market reaction/audience response' gauging types read this, hold that Facebook chat and go tell the boss that this is what the real viewers want.

  3. Gosh! I really really thought you had taste. Siddharth Patankar! dude you got to be kidding. It's like those jokers who call Java and Yezdi legendary...

  4. Siddharth does not look like he's walked out of a cold storage when he's 'narrating'. And certainly no signs of being axed either... He is no James May, but he's at the top of the heap from what India has managed so far.