Sharon Prabhakar: desi Lucy
* It’s rare, very rare. But sometimes dd does pull off surprises. This time, it’s upped Star TV again. There’ll be over 110 hours of Barcelona coverage, much of it live, DD’s just been lucky: their agreement with Asia Broadcasting Union gives them the Olympics package for less than $60,000, according to Deputy Director-General, DD, Chitra Narain. Last time the Government raked in over Rs 1 crore in advertising revenue-and that too for only five days of Wimbledon. This time it’ll be a fortnight full of ad revenue.
* The I Love Lucy show used to be the standard joke about dd recycling old American sitcoms. But Lucy’s obviously an endearing and durable character. There’s now going to be an I Love Lucy – Indian style. Nadira Babbar’s adapting it as a series for ATN, the satellite channel. And Lucy is being played by singer Sharon Prabhakar. Says Babbar: “It’s got a lot of potential to be adapted into our culture.” Naturally, there will be a desi Desi – Arnaz.
A still from Poirot: Sunday suspense
* One good thing about the serial scam – which has held in abeyance sponsored serials – there’s lots more time for rivetting programmes such as Agatha Christie’sPoirot, being aired every Sunday with the marvellous British actor David Suchet playing Poirot, funny moustache and all. Suchet read over 30 Christie mysteries to get into the character, which fortunately is less hammy than other Poirot avatars like Albert Finney’s and Peter Ustinov’s. And for once, dd’s not serving warmed-up left-overs: it’s current in the UK, too.
* In December 1989, Britain’s Channel Four interviewed freelancer Hilla Sethna, who now also does public relations, for a documentary on Parsis in India. Known for her tongue-in-cheek frankness, Sethna said, among other things, that Lord Zarathustra would have been unhappy to see how his religion was being “mispractised” were he to come down to earth. The film, Eye On Asia – The Parsees, shown by Star TV a few weeks ago, now has the Parsi community all set to take Sethna to court. The bubbly Sethna, however, lashed back in print, and the battle continues. “What they are really upset about is the fact that they were shown in their middle class best.the smaller Parsis exist but they don’t acknowledge them,” she says.
Sethna: perturbing the Parsis
* Something is decidedly fishy about the proposed Metro Channel. The green signal’s been given to allot time slots to independent producers. But keeping it off limits to cross-media appears to be a muddled decision. Or, certainly a contradiction. The cross-media – companies which have print media concerns as well – are already present on the main channel, HTV, Times Television and Business Television – among the other companies which do current affair programmes for DD – are also part of larger media houses. The Rajiv government first thought of these restrictions-they even brought over documents from Australia where there are cross-media restrictions for television. Why is the Government wary of the print barons? Do they feel that they will be able to control independent producers with greater ease? As for the Broadcasting Council, it’s still not clear who will be the members. Some like Girish Karnad have refused because they are interested in making programmes for television.