Was SRK a zordaar host in Zor Ka Jhatka?
Being one of the most communicative celebrities has its perks. Shah Rukh Khan makes use of his natural talent to yak a dozen as the charismatic host of Zor Ka Jhatka: Total Wipeout.
Buzz is he's charging a whopping 2.5 crore per episode to anchor the brand new action-packed reality game show on Imagine TV. Whether that's true or not, the show is quite a pleasant surprise.
Considering the skepticism associated with most celebrity-endorsed television, not to mention the outcome of Khan's previous outing -- Kya Aap Paanchi Paas Se Tez Hain -- this one, based on an internationally popular game show Wipe Out keeps the viewer engaged with its crisp editing, lavish production values, imaginatively constructed challenges and SRK's stock of zeal.
For a winning sum of 1.5 crore including a mega prize worth 50 lakh in the grand finale, 30 celebrities partake in an elaborately staged obstacle course that involves a series of ouch-inducing exercise.
In typical Bollywood style, the show kick starts with a thematic title track, reminiscent of Thums Up (Taste the thunder), a popular beverage, jingle followed by SRK making an expected superstar entry amidst neon green laser lights and some filmi dialoguebaazi, 'Kisi ke paas Katrina, kisi ke paas Kareena hai. Mere paas Khabreena hai.' He means co-host Saumya Tandon who spends most of her screen time on field where the action is, namely Argentina.
If you've caught a glimpse of Takeshi's Castle on Pogo, bolstered with a rocking commentary in Javed Jaffrey's booming baritone, you know how it goes -- narrow ramps, dizzy spinners, tricky trampolines, icky mud pools and numerous water bodies to cross and combat in varying capacities to claim top spot.
Zor Ka Jhatka works along the same lines with SRK lending a starry hand. Only he's not as sympathetic as before. The new format requires him to mock, tease and ridicule every time a contestant bobs his/her head or trips clumsily into the pool.
SRK starts off a tad stiff, trying too hard and hamming his lines but loosens up as the show progresses. Since his job description demands passing taunting remarks at the bumbling contestant in jest, it's almost like a dress rehearsal of an awards function for the actor who's done a great deal of this nature along with Saif Ali Khan.
Apart from name-calling, there's an obvious effort to make naughty jokes that range from coarse 'Sab ke 'balls' ki baat nahi arre arre sabke 'bas' ki baat nahi' or 'Ande toot gaye' (after a contestant bangs his sensitive area into a trampoline) to pedestrian 'GPL yaane Grand Pichwada Laat' or 'Mujhe personally gandi ladkiyan bahut achi lagti hain.'
Image: Shah Rukh Khan
SRK makes the best host in...
By round two of the challenge, the tempo is decidedly more confident and SRK's animated commentary is in complete sync with the palpable energy of the gutsy participants ranging from Raja Chaudhary, Bhakhtiyar Irani, Kushal Punjabi, Simran Muni, Natasha Suri, Debina Banerjee to Manoj Kumar, Kushal Punjabi, Vrajesh Hirjee and Claudia Ciesla.
Frankly, these names don't make any difference. They could be non-entities and still it wouldn't matter as the show's real USP lies in its cleverly planted hurdles and not who's up for it.
The first episode doesn't concentrate on each of them individually but 'Phudku' Kushal, 'Dance Bhakhtiyar' and 'Desi Tyson Manoj Kumar' do make an impression with their good run at the challenges, especially the tough wipeout zone that entails facing 1,000 gallons of forceful water. Desi Tyson, as it turns out, is the man of the moment.
So what's the verdict? After several months of lying low, Shah Rukh packs in truckloads of enthusiasm for a racy show that's a perfect fit, if not extension, of his energetic personality. Zordaar stuff, indeed.
Do you agree with Sukanya Verma's assessment? Or do you think his earlier hosting stint is better? Vote for Shah Rukh Khan's best telly hosting job!
Image: Saumya Tandon and Shah Rukh Khan