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When TV stars cooked for Ram Kapoor

Last updated on: January 21, 2013 18:02 IST

When TV stars cooked for Ram Kapoor

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Rajul Hegde in Mumbai
The television channel Life OK's new reality show Welcome-Baazi Mehmaan Naawazi Ki is the Indian version of the British reality show Come Dine With Me.

The new show will feature television actor Ram Kapoor as the host, which is a departure from the original show, which has no host but just a voice over. 

The format of the show is for five celebrities in each episode to play the perfect host. Each of them, in turn, invites the others to his/her home, cooks for them and entertains them. After dinner, each guest gives marks to that particular host on the food, entertainment value, and hosting skills.

The Brit original uses ordinary people, but the glamour-obsessed Indian media must have 'celebrities'.      

Ram Kapoor has anchored the reality show Ratan Ka Rishta and is currently seen on a daily soap Bade Achche Lagte Hain.

Ram says he was looking for something different from acting in a daily soap. "I said yes even though I didn't really have the time. It is a never seen before kind of a reality show. I am glad to be a part of it. I hope the audience will enjoy this experience," he says.

As for his part as the show's anchor, he says, "I think there was some lack of sex appeal to the show so the channel has approached me to anchor for them. Jokes apart, though, I am here on the show to entertain my audiences with the real me. 

"Till now I have been seen playing different characters. Here, for the first time, I will be portraying myself in the show and I will try all means to keep my viewers entertained."

Ram admits he doesn't cook but loves eating.  "All I have to do in the show is to just see and inform about who reacts how in the show. Certainly, I like eating but I don't like to differentiate between food items, whether it's Indian, Chinese, Italian or any other dish, I like eating."

So what is his favourite home-made dish? "Aloo parathe!" he exclaims.

We take a look at the five celebrity cooks for this week.

Welcome-Baazi Mehmaan Naawazi Ki premieres tonight at 10, on Life OK.

Watch: 'It's fun when TV stars cook! '
Ram Kapoor promotes Welcome-Baazi Mehmaan Naawazi Ki

Image: Rucha Gujrati, Debina, Banerjee, Ram Kapoor, Ragini Khanna, Aishwarya Sakhuja, Anupam Shyam, Karanvir Bohra, Manoj Tiwary Amarr Upadhyay, Ajit Thakur and Aman Verma


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Ragini Khanna

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Ragini was last seen in Sasural Genda Phool playing Suhana, a spoilt brat who gets married to a middle-class boy and has to adjust to her new life and the joint family culture.

Says Ragini, "I am an average cook and have never really prepared a meal for so many people (as required to do on the show). I cook for my family sometimes on Sundays. I have learnt cooking but don't cook because my family pampers me a lot after I come back from work. I needed a show like this to make me come out of my comfort zone."

Who is that one actor from the film industry that she would like to cook for? "Hrithik Roshan! I am a big fan of his. I missed my board exams, took my housekeeper and went to watch his newly released film! I happened to see him at the theatre. That was the most memorable experience of my life. 

"After that, I met him at the Star awards function and the VP of the channel made sure that I had some moments with him on the stage. That was the best gift for me."

Watch: Ragini Khanna on food she would like to cook for Hrithik

Image: Ragini Khanna with Manoj Tiwary


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Aishwarya Sakuja

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Aishwarya Sakuja, who had opted out of her daily soap Saas Bina Sasural citing health reasons, will be showing off her 'mehmaan-nawaazi' skills in Welcome-Baazi Mehmaan Nawaazi Ki.

Aishwarya admits that she is a terrible cook. "In Saas Bina Sasuraal, I am shown as a perfect bahu (daughter-in-law). But in this show, people will see that I am not good at cooking at all.

"I used to be a fussy eater and would complain if I didn't like a dish cooked by my mom. After I have started living alone, I realise that cooking is not so easy and doing that every day is a task. 

"I started cooking at a very early age -- I would prepare cupcakes, brownies etc. I wish I had continued with that, but I got busy with my work and didn't have time for it." 

Her favourite food? Kichidi and Chinese. 

"I like reality shows because you don't have to wear a sari," Aishwarya laughs. "Also, they don't last for long like the daily soaps. Being a part of this reality show makes me feel really great and at the same time incompetent as I don't know how to cook." 

She says she would love to cook for Amitabh Bachchan, "but how would I serve him when my hand is shaking? I would rather have people whom I know and am comfortable with."

Image: Aishwarya Sakuja with Amar Upadhyay


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Aman Verma and Debina Boneerjee

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Aman, who played Raavan in Ram Leela, says he considers cooking more challenging than acting. 

"Whatever I did as Raavan was very tough for me but this is tougher. It is very challenging to cook for so many people."

His first cooking experience was "not so good" even though it just entailed frying an egg. 

"My mother had taught me to prepare a fried egg. Oil from the pan splashed on my face and hand. I had forgotten that I should use less oil and stand far from the pan. I still remember that. You realise how and when as you do things; you learn in the process. 

He's now an average cook, and is "happy with whatever I cook."

So how would he woo his girl? "They always say women's weakest passion is chocolates. I definitely know from where and how to get or make the best chocolates," he said. 

Is he a fussy eater? "I don't live to eat but eat to live. I think the philosophy for me and Ram (Kapoor) is different, he smiles.

Ask him to name five people he would like to invite for lunch or dinner and he comes out with: Dilip Kumar at the top of the list, Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone ("I am a great fan of hers") and "I sincerely love Alber Chino (rapper) and of course Sylvester Stallone."
 
Debina Boneerjee

Debina is currently acting in the comedy show Chidiya Ghar on Sab TV. She was popular as Sita in Ramayan. After that she was in the reality television show Pati Patni Aur Woh. 

Of Welcome-Baazi... she says, "It's one of a kind where no set is required since it is in your own home. There is this genuine touch which makes it different from other reality shows." 

Talking about her experiences she says, "I have given more than cent percent in hosting and entertaining my guests. Actually you can go out of the way to entertain your guests. You should make enough food, ensure a variety of food, and that there are equal number of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes so that nobody leaves without eating." 

What is the one dish she cooks that is always in demand by her husband Gurmeet Choudhary? "Shukto is a Bengali dish, a little bitter, with lots of vegetables and less oil. Sometimes we add neem leaves or bitter gourd. It is Gurmeet's all-time favourite dish. Every third day he asks me to prepare shukto."

Watch: Aman Verma on his first cooking experience
Debina Bonnerjee on the Welcome Cookery show

Image: Aman Verma with Debina Boneerjee


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