Monthly Archives: February 2007

The Return of Karamchand

I was waiting to catch the first episode of Karamchand starring the carrot -chomping detective played with such freshness by Pankaj Kapur in the 1980s.

The ads before the episode were full of tempting questions:
<i>Where had he been all these days, gosh! – 20 years.
What had he been upto?</i>

Unfortunately the question was not answered by the end of the first episode. It tried to make it sound as if the intervening years had not happened at all. And that the leap of 20 years (that Ekta Kapoor strives to add in her serials) had never taken place at all. Kapur strives manfully to breathe the character back to life. However, too much water has flown under the Nizamudding bridge for us to accept Karamchand back with the same fondness, as we had missed him.

First, Kapur looks old. The typical Karamchand mode of dialog delivery, hand gestures that made the 1980s detective seem so different, looks depressing on this fifty-something detective. Of course, in the 1980s we saw Jeremy Brett play Sherlock Holmes on Doordarshan too.

Karamchand was the exact opposite to Jeremy Brett’s cool and composed take on the great detective (one of the best in an impressive list of actors to play the 221B Baker Street resident, IMHO). Karamchand would run out of exact words to say, a stark contrast to Sherlock Holmes, who always found the right words to express himself. Of course , it did not make him seem like a bumbling idiot, but rather as someone whose words could not keep up with his thoughts.

And then there was the carrot. In the non-health conscious 80s, Karamchand ate carrots – and I guess convinced a fair number of until-then dubious school children like me about the virtues of the vegetable. Popeye hadn’t yet smashed his way into the Indian TV screen to extol the virtues of spinach yet, and therefore Karamchand seemed like a radical contrast to the pipe-smoking (and occasionally opium smoking) Holmes.

However, today Karamchand seems like an anachronism of that age. Like VP Singh trying to make his presence felt in UP.

Kitty, for example. The new actress who plays the dumb assistant to the detective has little or no effervescence to not turn the character into a caricature. And the only thing she seems to be there for is to say the predictable last sentence to her boss “Sir you’re a genius” to which he will invariably answer “Shut up Kitty”.

Or take Pankuj Parashar’s direction. In the 1980s when the camera hardly moved, Parashar’s unusual camera angles and use of shadows and lighting marked him out as a different talent. He took that talent to mainstream Bollywood too, with Naseeruddin Shah as hero (!!) in <i>Jalwa</i> (remember the giddy camera movements during the title song sung by Remo Fernandes?)

However, the same camera angles look childish today.

In all, the context has changed and sadly by the look of the first episode nothing much by way of content has changed on Karamchand. The second coming of the detective does not take the show to another level, and therefore disappoints one even more. All that it has done, is awaken our memories of the past and make it more painful for us.


links for 2007-02-23

links for 2007-02-17

links for 2007-02-16

Are these even true?

Again from email forwards:

Things You May Not Know

1. Money isn’t made out of paper, it is made out of cotton.

2. The 57 on a Heinz ketchup bottle represents the variety of pickles the
Company once had.

3. Your stomach produces a new layer of mucus every two weeks otherwise it will
digest itself.

4. The dot over the letter ‘ i’ is called the title.

5. A duck’s quack doesn’t echo, no one knows why.

6. Forty percent of McDonald’s profit comes from the sales of ‘happy meals’.

7. Every person has a unique tongue print.

8. 315 entries in Websters 1996 dictionary were misspelled.

9. On an average, 12 newborns will be given to wrong parents daily.

10.During the famous chariot scene in “Ben Hur”, a small red car can
be seen at a distance.

11.Warren Beatty and Shirley Maclaine are brother and sister.

12.Chocolate affects a dog’s heart and nervous system. A few ounces will kill a
small sized dog.

13.Most lipsticks contain fish scales.

14.Donald Duck comics were banned in Finland because he doesn’t wear pants.

15.Ketchup was sold in the 1830’s as a medicine.

16.Leonardo Da vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the
same time.

17.There are no clocks in the Las Vegas gambling casinos.

18.There are no words in the dictionary that rhyme with orange, purple and

19.A tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion will make it go mad instantly and sting
itself to death.

20.By raising your legs slowly and lying on your back, you can’t sink in

21.American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each
salad served in first class.

22.Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying.

23.The glue on Israeli postage stamp is certified kosher(halal).

24.Guiness Book Of Records holds the record for being the book most often stolen
from Public Libraries.

25.Astronauts are not allowed to eat beans before they go into space because
passing wind in a space suit damages them

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