Mumbai, March 12: My
husband will kill me for saying this, but whenever he watches Indian
Idol, he says, ''Why aren't there any good-looking women on your show..
err.. besides you that is?''
it's Indian Idol, Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge or any other talent hunt, my
theory is simple. A woman is evaluated on more parameters compared to a
a male contestant is judged on his vocal talent and the X factor, for a
girl, the audience will also note whether she's wearing too much or too
little, got attitude, if her hair is too straight, or whether her
eyebrows are plucked.
me, I've been a TV presenter for years. I get feedback on my sari,
earrings and hairdo. They are even discussed on blogs for heaven's
sake. How come people never notice what Aman (Verma) is wearing?
(Khan) hit the nail on the head when she spoke about Meenal's chances
on the result episode: ''Because she's good-looking and sang a song
that is unusual and sexy, she probably won't make it.''
people watch a girl who's well groomed and articulate, they think she
doesn't need the help. Antara, a small town girl, got loads of votes
after her makeover. In Season one, on the other hand, when Prajakta and
Aditi wore Western outfits for an episode, they looked fabulous, but
emerged at the bottom of the list. This made them paranoid that people
hadn't voted for them because they'd worn Western outfits, and stuck to
certainly not because girls lack talent. I watched Sa Re Ga Ma Pa...;
Himani was by far the best, better than both Debojit and Vinit. I was
stunned when she was voted out. On Idol this time, we even ensured
there were enough women on the top list but the results were the same.
On television in general, men tend to have a better profile and it
extends beyond music and reality shows.
isn't there an Indian woman stand-up like Ellen DeGeneres or Whoopi
Goldberg? Why are there no women on The Great Indian Laughter
Challenge? When I joined MTV, I spoofed Simi Garewal and the channel
thought they'd finally found a ''female Cyrus.''
hello! We did so many shows with my ''funny stuff''. We had discussions
for years, but something just didn't look right. A funny woman who
looked hot? Naah!
be funny, I had to look funny, or worse look like ''one of the boys'';
I even cropped my hair. But I looked too radical, even by MTV
about it. A woman comedian's physicality plays a huge role. Think Tun
Tun, Guddi Maruti, Delnaz Paul or Archana Puran Singh (only when she
goes into asexual mode). Find something? There is a deep dichotomy
here. The joke has to be on us. Not by us.
Woolf called it ''the politics of appearance''. My deepest desire is to
do stand-up on TV using content I have written. But till I don't look
reasonably asexual, I'll just never know where to pitch it.
found acceptance as a presenter when I play by the rules: look
feminine, with coloured hair, off-shoulder corsets—all of us becoming
clones of each other.
was part of The Great Indian Comedy Show for a day. All the characters
played by the women were peripheral, like a dumb bar dancer, where the
joke was on them. No one was deliberately discriminatory; it's just
that all humour on TV is sexist. But it seems to be changing now, and
trust me, I am smiling.
in fiction serials, which are touted as being woman-centric, I find a
lot of woman-bashing. The ''virtuous'' ones wear silk saris and stand
behind their men and watch them eat parathas. The ''fast and easy''
types are easy to spot—they are wearing jeans! And of course they
frequent discos and get pregnant too. Ha Ha! Pure entertainment, I say.
Just because you have a Ba heading a family, it doesn't make the show
has nobody interested in her, but at 65, Mihir has five women vying for
his gaze. Even Jassi, who gave me hope, had to become beautiful to win
over Armaan. If she had won him in her old avatar, I would have
think the audience enjoys watching women weep on screen. It makes them
feel sorry for the protagonist and happy that their lives are just a
wee bit better.
have a sneaky suspicion that it's the women voters themselves who are
unable to make a choice, that they're the ones saying, ''Oh, I love her
sari... I'm sending her a vote.'' Here's to being a woman, I say.
(The writer hosts Indian Idol)