Back in the day the Nadia Khan Show used to be an unmissable part of my daily routine. That it ended ignominiously and later versions never came close to matching the verve and vibe of the original is a story for another day, but suffice it to say that Nadia Khan is a trendsetter as far as morning shows on Pakistani TV are concerned.
When news of Nadia’s comeback started making social media rounds I wondered how she would navigate the crazy kooky path that leads to high TRPs these days. Dressing up like a valimey ki dulhan, reading bad research off of note cards, playing idiotic games, organizing mehndis and shaadis of already very married couples, asking brilliantly appropriate questions – agar aap real life mein kisi larki ko tease karenge tau kaise karenge – staging dramatic walkouts, faking fights between real life couples, arranging for roohs to visit on cue- all were now de rigueur. Would she or wouldn’t she stoop to these by now standard lows?
Come November 9th, many of my trepidations were put to rest. Yes, there was rustiness but the warm camaraderie and genuine spontaneity made for great viewing, and that she was dressed in everyday clothes was a huge point in her favor. Nadia excels at putting her guests at ease and this was evident as we got to see the usually distant Aisha Khan for the lovely, intelligent person that she is, particularly impressive was her honesty about the drama industry today. Another guest, Sohai Ali Abro, shared more about herself in an hour than she had in the past three/four years combined. Faysal Qureshi and Aijaz Aslam were a lot of fun as well. Of the new segments, I particularly enjoyed the popular food section and would’ve happily given an arm ‘n a leg to have been on set the day they served nihari.
Had I written this at the end of last week, as I had originally planned, the tone and tenor of this post would have been markedly different. I would’ve probably ended on a cautiously optimistic note, highlighting the positives (noted above) and drawing attention to the fact that Team NKS needs to pull up its socks and get current in terms of popular culture references, and that Nadia should be more on point with her research, which would in turn help asking more relevant questions of her guests.
But, chalo, it was the first week, and if I had to hand out a score on Friday, I would’ve rated NKS as a 6/10 with the others trailing far behind with 2s and 3s.
Khair, that was then. This week the Meera incident put paid to any and all optimism I had about the Nadia Khan Show being any different. The packaging might be glossier but set that aside and all you’re left with is sensationalism, the same beast that drives the rest of our entertainment industry.
That Meera was being invited as a guest on the show had already been discussed publicly the week before, we heard the snarky comments about her asking for content approval, etc. It was evident there was no love lost between Meera and Nadia, but that the former was being invited for her Meeraji-isms, which are a surefire way of drawing attention to this old-wine-in-not-so-new-bottles show. Hence, despite knowing that she would be a difficult guest the team still went ahead and invited her. What happened on Monday morning is deplorable and I am in no way condoning Meera’s behaviour, but the big hullabaloo that took place later was even worse.
In addition to the rhetoric of Meera ne hamari producer ko zakhmi kar diya and continued references to the video of the whole incident, which would be shown only after the audience weighed in with their response on facebook, we were provided non-stop commentary on Meera’s whereabouts, even though by then it was obvious there was something pretty wrong with Meera, and I mean seriously wrong.
Tuesday’s show confirmed my hunch that all this was nothing but an beyond sad attempt to garner eyeballs. By now Meera had been nicknamed wolverine by our morning show queen, the #MeeraKiBadmashian hashtag was being hyped up on the show’s official Facebook page, and our entertainment related social media pages were happily sharing and re-posting videos of this incident. Buried under all the name-calling was the fact that nowhere in these videos did we see the strident Meera who was demanding nashta as had been reported the day before, what we got instead were disturbing images of an obviously distraught Meera.
Forgotten in this whole tamasha was the fact that this latest fiasco underscored what many of us had long suspected: there was something very off with Meera. Had it been any other host and any other talk show I wouldn’t have cared two hoots, but the fact that it was Nadia, who has had exposure to the duniya outside and should and does know better, I had hoped Tuesday’s show would be handled with a lot more maturity and this whole drama would be seen as a great opening to talk about the pressing need for raising awareness about mental health issues … magar yahan tau aisa kuch nahin hua.
Rather than inviting psychiatrists or psychologists and having them assess the situation from a professional standpoint, not a single opportunity was missed to diss Meera, the infamous video was milked for all it was worth, and aur tau aur becharey Adnan Siddiqui was also forced to weigh in on this matter. Kudos to him, though, for refusing to indulge his host and infact making it clear, in as many ways as he could, as to where he stood on the matter. To give credit where credit is due, Bunty, director of an older film based show, also pointed out that Meera needed professional help, and Mani made a very pertinent comment as to how chat shows thrived on such happenings and for them to then turn around and complain about such celebs and their issues made no sense.
To say I am disappointed would be a understatement. Heading a morning show is not just about kitty party chatter, snarky gossip and babas, dhongi or not, but also about pinpointing genuine social issues and creating awareness about them. This is what I’d hoped would set this show apart from others, magar ab if the Nadia Khan Show too is going to do more of the same then where’s the point of yet another morning show?
Written by SZ~