Shailesh Kapoor: The Kiran Bedi School of Entertainment

30 Jan,2015

By Shailesh Kapoor


The week that went may have only been above average on its news-worthiness, but it was one of the best weeks in recent memories on its news entertainment quotient. The Modi-Obama trip provided ample light moments, both on-field (the ‘chemistry’ between the two leaders themselves) and off-field (the reactions on social media and the hyperventilation on television). But the News Entertainer of the Week (also the Month) Award was snatched away by the ever-so-incorrigible Kiran Bedi.


For almost two weeks now, she has been finding innovative ways of providing us daily entertainment. The Ravish Kumar interview for NDTV India is one of the most exciting news interviews in India in a while. If you watched the entire 20-minutes of it (important, because the most entertaining parts are packed in towards the end), you would agree that Bedi can get the best out of journalists. Kumar was in fine form, tongue-in-cheek at times, politely sarcastic at others, and outright brazen on a couple of occasions. I don’t watch much Hindi news except when work requires me to, but I know audiences rate Kumar very highly. Sir, you had me at “Excellent”.


I’ve grown up in Delhi to the legends of Kiran Bedi. I was too young when the PMO car was towed, but I remember being told that Crane Bedi could take a crane anywhere, anytime, and pick up any vehicle. It was a personal story for my family. Our family two-wheeler had been towed (craned?) once as well.


There were some not-so-positive stories from Mizoram and some fairly progressive ones from Tihar, over the years. But largely, Bedi was out-of-sight and out-of-mind. In 2008-09, she found mass audiences in her TV show Aap Ki Kachehri Kiran Ke Saath. Star Plus dared to give the show a primetime slot, and it turned out to be a good decision. Bedi was her natural, policing self, solving family disputes of people from lower socio-economic groups. She could talk down to them, with many being illiterate and most seeking desperate help.


The show worked and made Bedi a popular face in a generation that may not have known much about her till then. The second season didn’t find much favor with the audience, for both content and time-slot issues. But if Bedi indeed ends up achieving anything significant in her political career, she has enough reasons to thank Aap Ki Kachehri (and hence Star and Big Synergy).


My respect-for-Bedi bubble burst when she did that one ghoonghat act at the Ramlila Maidaan in 2011. I was least offended by what she said. What irked me was that it was just not well performed. She did that act in the same Kachehri policing tone, much like she gives all her interviews these days (before the ‘voice rest’). It’s like an actor who impresses you in her first film because of her unique style, but then goes on to perform every character in the exact same way thereafter.


Style apart, her content has not much going for it either. If BJP can pull off the Delhi elections with Bedi at the helm, it would be their toughest win in the last two years. Much as I’d like to be entertained for the next five years by her, I’m tempted to think of my original home Delhi first, and wish that this entertainment ends on February 10. Side-actor Kejriwal can take over then.


Post a Comment 

Comments are closed.