‘Koffee with Karan’. When this show first aired, it was the first and only of its kind. The celebrities were comfortable opening up to host Karan Johar, being their witty, funny and apparently real selves for the cameras, being on the couch with someone they shared a cordial if not obviously friendly relationship with. However, with the latest season of the show now over, I argue whether the show has lost its appeal among the audiences today.
It’s evident that the world has moved on considerably since the show made its debut in November 2004. With Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and others overtaking the way promotions happen and the level of access and information an average cinegoer has about their favourite star, it often felt in the sixth season that Johar’s show had become obsolete a little. The quotes and incidents that were further reported on about each episode made it known that the show didn’t have the same appeal and the show’s host also didn’t seem to – for want of the better word – fit in as such with the world as it is today. In a very obvious way, he was often out of his depth and sometimes a little rash in the way he portrayed the questions he asked and about the answers he sought from those gracing the show.
When you have a producer-director-actor who has launched so many stars and helped so many make the right career choices, it didn’t sit well with me (as a member of the audience who has watched pretty much every episode of the show’s six seasons) that he was asking such blatant questions about personal equations to so many people. Although there is part of the audience who would be interested in these things, there is such a thing as a real invasion of privacy. When he himself has been asked questions about his personal life, he’s been known to say that he doesn’t feel the need to shout about his reality but that people around him already know. As such, this approach towards Kriti Sanon (asked her about her “intense” off-screen romance with Sushant Singh Rajput), Sidharth Malhotra (asked about his split with Alia Bhatt) and Alia Bhatt (who he pretty much forced into admitting that she’s with Ranbir Kapoor), to name a few. This was one season in which this kind of intrusive questioning was very apparent and I don’t think it particularly went down well for the show overall.
Also, there were certain episodes that left a lot to be desired because it felt a little unfair that Johar invited so many to make debuts on the show because of where they are in their careers. With the likes of Ayushmann Khurrana, Rajkummar Rao and Vicky Kaushal having been around for a number of years, it just didn’t seem like the right thing to see them being invited on the show because they are now being shouted about due to the work they’ve done. They’ve always done great work but just because it’s being recognised now doesn’t mean they should be “rewarded” by appearing on this chat show. However, this “treatment” didn’t stop there.
In the show where Rao shared the couch with Bhumi Pednekar, Johar is seen encouraging them to dance and then makes a comment that the audiences wouldn’t have seen them dance this way before. Again, this is slightly patronising and also shows how much Johar puts people in boxes. Rao has shown his acting talent and just because the first time he was seen dancing was last year in ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’, doesn’t mean he’s incapable of doing so. This goes for Pednekar too who hasn’t done an out and out dance number but this isn’t a prerequisite for the kind of cinema she “should” be doing. Thankfully she did admit later in the episode that she is open to all genres of cinema and would not like to limit herself.
In the episode where Kaushal and Khurrana appear together, there is an introduction of a round where they are “tested” on their acting talent. This again, for two actors who have shown over and over how good they are in terms of fitting into offbeat characters and films. Similarly, in the Badshah and Diljit Dosanjh episode, there is a round where they guess the brands of different items of clothing. Although this was something different that was tried out, they are two musical talents who have clearly struggled to get to where they are and have earned their place to wear whatever they want to wear. Introducing such a round just makes their journey come across as insignificant and makes it all about the branding as opposed to the hard work they have clearly put in in the years up until present day. Also, nobody seems to have spoken about Johar’s hand in the controversy that saw cricketers KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya being suspended from playing in important tournaments for Team India.
It seems the host may have been slightly obsessed with making the headlines and creating buzz (of whatever kind) with his guests and their statements as opposed to the impact it can have on anyone or anything else. Although the guests all looked like they were having the time of their lives, watching them rank people in order in true rapid-fire style just seemed outdated, as did much of the show’s format, despite there being an obvious attempt at being fresh at various points.
Aside from these aspects, the more earthier and joy to watch episodes came in the form of Ajay Devgn and Kajol who provided some great entertainment which wasn’t witnessed before, that too before they marked 20 years together. Saif Ali Khan and Sara Ali Khan were also a great combination to see with one another, especially as the latter was making her debut overall in terms of any interview. Arjun Kapoor and Janhvi Kapoor were also a joy to see with one another because it was a combination that one would never have expected together a few years ago.
To conclude, it’s been evident in this season that without Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan appearing throughout, Johar has tried to introduce new guests. However, the season could arguably give way to the nepotism debate all over again because this is the only time he’s been seen inviting those who he wouldn’t have been seen interacting with previously, or so it seems. With rumours that it could be axed by Star TV for future seasons, it seems this kind of show might just be better off for the online world and being replaced on TV with a chat show which is much more thought out and well-mannered. Could any show hosts not particularly concerned about their own image so much please stand up?
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of this website.