Amitabh's Blockbuster Presenceby Piroj Wadia April 9 2014, 6:35 pm Estimated Reading Time: 3 mins, 27 secs
Undoubtedly, Comedy Nights with Kapil is Colors’ channel driver. The demand to get on the show as audience, also paves the way for that brief time to be on camera and ask a question, some times silly or repetitive as the host Kapil Sharma remarked last weekend: Did I not ask the same question? Or maybe I didn’t do it correctly! But the fans do it for those few minutes of fame.
The show’s popularity is such that fans are clamoring to be in the audience. A few enterprising touts have cashed in and posing as audience agents have earned few quick bucks from unsuspecting star crazy people. Over the weekend, a message ran at the bottom in Hindi and English during both episodes that audience entry is free and by invitation only. That no agent stouts should be entertained.
Last weekend, it was a blockbuster telecast on Colors as the celebrity guests was the lead cast of Bhoothnath Returns. Boman Irani and the film’s precocious child actor Parth Bhalerao who plays Akhrot set the ball rolling. But all eyes were trained on the entry points for Amitabh Bachchan, who called attention from the floor above.
Kapil Sharma, the otherwise vociferous host, was pretty tongue tied. Among all the chaos on stage and excitement in the audience, we got to sample Mr Bachchan’s legendary prank. At some point, Chandan Prabhakar who plays Raju the servant, and Kapil were indulging in a bit of banter with Mr Bachchan. A little later, serious faced, the latter got up made towards the way out, saying he was leaving, as he didn’t want to continue with the show. Kapil and Prabhakar were stunned, you could see it on their faces; the audience too was hushed.
After a few minutes, Mr Bachchan, had the last laugh, as he revealed to Kapil and Chandan that he had pulled their legs. Chandan Prabhakar took time to regain his composure, before he went. Mr Bachchan then narrated a prank he pulled on the sets of Naseeb on a senior actor having the latter tailed by a junior artiste, playing a drunk.
Colors couldn’t have asked for a better weekend turn — Amitabh Bachchan’s towering presence in Comedy Nights with Kapil, a first for the show.
It wasn’t just the weekend that was dominated by Amitabh Bachchan. From Saturday night Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma too was stirring with supernatural activity. Tapu Sena’s youngest member Gogi alerts Tapu Sena and the Gokuldham vaasis about his ghost sighting on the terrace. Champaklal Gada’s missing dhoti quells their fears and everyone goes back to their respective homes, but not without their characteristic debate about: Do ghosts exist? Gogi puttar is no sher; the bhooth has assured him that he will return soon. Come Monday night, Bhoothnath visits Gokuldham Society as promised to Gogi. The first victim has to be Jethalal and family who see a driverless car entering the compound, door opens and closes, and footsteps; there’s no one around and the car vanishes. Taarak and Anjali Mehta, scared out of their skins, rush to the Haathis; here Bhoothnath plays a cruel trick leaving a plate of laddoos at the doorstep, as the father and son try to pop them in their mouths, the laddoos vanish. Popatlal, the Iyers, the Bhides and the Sodhis are soon to receive a visitation.
Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma, a daily sitcom has been a port of call for pre-release promotions, not just the newbies but marquee names like Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgan and more. Amitabh Bachchan had this one frontier to cross.
Both Comedy Nights and Taarak Mehta are channel drivers, and will have achieved unimaginable viewership with the Bhoothnath Returns specials. Amitabh Bachchan is known to have rewritten television history with KBC. Will he do it again as a guest for television’s two most valuable properties?