Who sizzled and who didn't on Koffee With Karan
Slander, salaciousness and self-congratulatory smiles.
Karan Johar's talkshow has a simple motif and it sticks loyally to it, though this season he seems committed to make every episode about a particular revelation, an angle getting increasingly tiresome with every passing Sunday.
It's also just a big tease, because despite much winking around, nobody really 'fesses up to anything. Then again, maybe Salman Khan will come change everything.
For now, here's a look at the episodes so far.
Ranbir Kapoor and Imran Khan
Ranbir grinningly showed off his swagger -- and his player persona -- on Karan's couch, something that would bite him in the derriere the very next week.
Imran, meanwhile, played it vanilla safe. Except when the boys fake madeout, that is. Johar probed and probed to try and get Kapoor to confess something to lend credence to the Katrina rumours, but -- kicking off a trend that would define this Koffee season -- there was no revelation, only smirks.
Image: Ranbir Kapoor and Imran Khan on Koffee with Karan
Sonam Kapoor and Deepika Padukone
Meow. As if to prove that princesses can have claws too, Kapoor and Padukone giggled their way through an evening full of potshots and constant Ranbir-bashing.
Deepika, starting off casually enough about her breakup, dug her fangs into her ex with vicious glee.
Sonam, on the other hand, ripped through more than just RK, though her peals of laughter while speaking of seeing him naked couldn't possibly be flattering. Having sharpened her talons on her Saawariya colleague, she poured snark on everyone from Shobha De to Sanjay Bhansali to Kangna Ranaut -- all the way down to Padukone herself, wickedly enough.
Far too much plastic giggling and significant incoherence, but at least the juvenilia was quotable.
Image: Sonam Kapoor and Deepika Padukone on Koffee with Karan
Rajkumar Hirani, Imtiaz Ali, and Farah Khan
Nowhere near as interesting as it could have been, this episode started off dull and never crackled into anything of interest. Johar went on and on about how hot he finds Ali, while Raju was his usual self-effacing self, clearly a man who lets his films do the talking.
Farah predictably denied that she and Shah Rukh Khan have had a falling out, and ranked her Om Shanti Om heroine Deepika as Bollywood's least talented.
Yawn. Tell us something we don't know.
Image: Imtiaz Ali,Rajkumar Hirani, Karan Johar and Farah Khan on Koffee with Karan
Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan
Throwing modesty to the dogs -- and looking bloody breathtaking while at it -- Kareena sat back and called herself Bollywood's top heroine.
Cockiness seems to be a constant theme on this Koffee season, actors and actresses evidently convinced arrogance is an attractive colour on them.
Kapoor's narcissism seemed least affected, however, as was her tragic fumbling with the English language and knowledge of life outside her own mirror. (She called Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway To The Moon' (very sic) Saif's favourite song)
Khan, on the other hand, was relatively witty even though clearly overcompensating when in self-aggrandizing mode. And I agree, an Akshay Kumar book should indeed be called Black-Belt Bhatia.
Image: Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan on Koffee with Karan
Anil Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt and Kangna Ranaut
Clearly too old to care about how they come across, both Kapoor and Dutt acted their age and were refreshingly candid.
Taking fun snipes at each other -- Kapoor at Dutt's court cases and Dutt at Kapoor's legendary hairiness, for example -- the two also slipped into confessional mode, as Dutt hinted at the age-old Madhuri Dixit rumours being true, and Kapoor claimed to be jealous of that pair.
Ranaut, more than slightly out of place, was frank and genuinely engaging, though she was sidelined by the two men.
Still, it's hard to complain when one of them -- Kapoor The Fearless, natch -- dissed Johar's own My Name Is Khan.
Image: Anil Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt and Kangna Ranaut on Koffee with Karan
Priyanka Chopra and Shahid Kapoor
Are they dating? Are they? Are they? Johar dove into the question like Barkha Dutt on ecstasy, but all his breathlessness couldn't penetrate Ms Chopra's defenses.
She dodged salvos with intentional ambiguity and evident glee, enjoying watching both Johar and her rumoured boyfriend squirm, the latter out of sheer helplessness.
Kapoor, looking hungry for the cred of being Mr Priyanka, played up to Johar's queries while the lady herself gushed about Shah Rukh Khan instead.
The main problem, however, was that Johar's single-point agenda -- that big are-they question -- just wasn't interesting enough.
Image: Shahid Kapoor, Karan Johar and Priyanka Chopra
Amitabh Bachchan and Shweta Bachchan Nanda
There only because of how much the nation adores her daddy, Shweta was cool and unflappable. Not that Johar was aiming for gossip this time, of course.
This was the episode of genuflection, as Johar went on about the legend while the Big B himself sat there, both bemused and befuddled but characteristically dignified throughout.
We were given insights into how the Bachchan family's domestic habits -- how each Bachchan ticks their name off a checklist when reading a magazine -- even as Johar impressively refused to yawn and tried hard to look interested.
Oh, and Amitabh still can't get over people not replying to his texts.
Image: Amitabh Bachchan and Shweta Bachchan Nanda on Koffee with Karan
Shah Rukh Khan
In one of the most embarrassing television shows in recent history -- pipped to the post only by SRK's own vulgar new gameshow -- two buddies sat down for a cuppa, one coaxing the other to reveal his weaknesses while the other articulately stated that he had none.
Despite Shah Rukh's silver tongue, not much he said on the show made sense, overemotionally lamenting his lack of genuine friends and his apparent inability to reach out to people.
Maudlin and mushy, Khan's trademark wit only made one fleeting appearance: when he humbly apologised to the Big B for not returning his texts, and then apologised again because he said he always ends up doing that with Bachchan.
Image: Shah Rukh Khan on Koffee with Karan
Rani Mukerji and Vidya Balan
Clearly having made its peace at becoming just another show that promotes upcoming releases -- as opposed to one where the filmmaker host flexed his star-muscle -- Koffee brought on the No One Killed Jessica actresses who tried far, far too hard.
Rani was irritatingly smug, even as Johar interrogated her about her alleged relationship with Aditya Chopra.
Balan, on the other hand, was occasionally clever, even mock-challenging Gauri Khan in a battle for SRK where she joked that she'd be more than content being his second wife.
And then, in a poorly planned reprisal of her saucy Ishqiya scene, she sucked on Rani's thumb. Um, okay.
Image: Rani Mukerji and Vidya Balan on Koffee with Karan
Lara Dutta and Mahesh Bhupathi
A pretty girl, a nice guy, clearly in love. Johar doggedly tried to play scoopman again, but here the two just answered him straight, revealing February marriage plans.
Ill-informed about sports, Johar didn't have much to ask the cleancut Bhupathi about his career, and Mahesh stayed cucumber cool throughout.
He did, however, look puzzled to be where he was, as were we. Far more Simi than Koffee, this.
Image: Lara Dutta and Mahesh Bhupathi on Koffee with Karan
Hrithik and Suzanne Roshan
Seemingly taking a cue from Kareena's irksome boasting about her perfect Saifoo, Suzanne saucily -- and puzzlingly pointedly -- declared that Hrithik belonged to her waist down, and, well, yay.
The hero himself was humble and diplomatic and terrifically yawnworthy, yammering on about how his work was a mission to find his own potential and how his movies were his babies and needed him to protect them.
Again, not much to see here.
Image: Hrithik and Suzanne Roshan on Koffee with Karan
Visibly intimidated by The Man Without A U In His Name, Johar spent an hour tentatively asking questions soaked in flattery.
Clearly enjoying himself -- but too cool to let it show -- Devgn, the most successful actor of 2010, sat back and lived up to his laconic image.
The alpha male in the room, he showed an unexpected spurt of aggression in the rapid-fire round, but he was still quite a misfit on the gossipy, soundbite-loving Koffee.
Johar, meanwhile, squirmed constantly, trying to cover up the fact that he's running out of guests (and one guest per show makes him more money) by tossing hyperbolic praise Devgn's way.
Image: Ajay Devgn on Koffee with Karan