I love Koffee season. And this was another great episode, I didn’t think Ranveer and Akshay would work well (and there were a few draggy parts), but they turned out to have great chemistry!
MOST IMPORTANT NEWS: Hotstar subtitles everything in English, switching between English captions of English and English captions of Hindi without a break. It is delightful and wonderful and another reason that I adore Hotstar and am happily recommending everyone to get a subscription. Really, if you are serious about Indian content, you don’t need Amazon or Netflix or anything else, just get Hotstar.
Moving on, this was a great episode for making both the guests look good. Which is only right, they aren’t being paid to be there, it is only worth their while if Karan helps their careers. Akshay looked better by Ranveer’s sincere respect for him from his 90s career to today, and Ranveer by showing the similarities with Akshay’s hardworking reliable kind of attitude. That was the obvious message, the subconscious message was more for Ranveer than Akshay. Simmba is coming out soon, the title was never mentioned in this whole episode (I think), but it was there in the background the whole time. Ranveer has to sell himself as a Masala action hero, and putting him in the same space as Akshay helps get the audience used to that. And as a bonus, putting Ranveer-Dips in the same space as Akshay-Twinkle helps their relationship. Well, assuming everyone else in the world is like me and totally in love with Akshay-Twinkle after their episode last year. Oh, and I suppose it did kind of help Akshay a little too, being in the same space as Ranveer, considering that Akshay is having one of his worst years at the box office in ages and Ranveer’s sincere excitement over him as a big star helps him still seem like a big star.
Now, my detailed notes of everything interesting in the whole episode! First, of course, Karan’s clothes. Another bright silk jacket with a floral design, but this time no vest and just a plain black shirt underneath. I think it looked better. Although I also think it should have been a bit more fitted, but maybe that would have made it too hard for him to move in.
And then Karan’s intro. Last week it was an overview of everything since the previous season that had happened in the industry, and I kind of thought that would be a one-off, just for the first episode. But no, I guess this is the new format, he gets to say whatever random thing he wants to say during the opening, and then introduces the guests. I guess the equivelant of an opening monologue from a comedian on late night, only Karan isn’t a comedian, so it’s just him talking about whatever. Reminds me of his memoir and his talk about debate team, when you had to speak for 5 minutes on any topic. This week, it was his mother. How she is the most important person in his life, and keeps him grounded by never expecting too much of him. And he also mentions how she is a wonderful “co-parent” for his kids. Which I thought was really nice, that he acknowledged her officially in that role, not just as a grandmother but as his fellow parent. I am sure she is in that role, sounding board and helper and co-decision maker and so on, and Karan is lucky to have her, single parenting must be so terrifying when you are truly alone, no one to just talk things over with.
And then it is time for the weekly intro of the two guests. Not terribly balanced, Ranveer is introduced with a discussion of his fashion choices, while Akshay gets his social message films talked about. Oh well, that’s the persona each of them has picked for themselves, Karan is just going along with it.
And then Ranveer and Akshay come out with music going and surprise Karan by making him dance with them. Another sign (of many) that this show truly is improvised and unscripted. Which is also why it is the only Indian talk show I can stand to watch. Everything else is that slightly scripted thing that feels like bad lying and makes me want to throw things (I don’t mind lies, but bad lying just feels like insulting my intelligence). Last week Alia and Dips came out holding hands, this week it was music.
And then Ranveer and Akshay continue the rule breaking by sitting on the back of the couch instead of right on it. Karan tries to get them to sit down for the sake of the camera, Akshay and Ranveer argue that the camera can just move, and then finally give in. And this is the conversation where I first notice that a) the subtitles are going back and forth between Hindi and English seamlessly and b) Akshay is constantly going into Hindi but Ranveer isn’t. A sign of generations more than anything else I think. Akshay and Ranveer both grew up in Bandra/Juhu in wealthy Punjabi families, but in the 70s that meant speaking Hindi/Punjabi and in the 80s that meant speaking English.
And then we get into the meat of the show, Karan answering the question of why these two together. He goes back to that photo Ranveer posted on twitter of Ranveer as a child with Akshay and uses that to dig in how Ranveer looks up to Akshay and why. And it works, just like the Dips/Alia episode we don’t have to believe they are the closest friends in the world, and they aren’t trying to sell that, we just have to understand that they work in the same industry and they know each other and appreciate and enjoy certain things about each other.
More than that, they are from the same city. The backstory of that photo, it has nothing to do with Anil Kapoor being Ranveer’s uncle or anything like that. At least, not directly. Ranveer had girl cousins visiting from Canada and they were desperate to meet Akshay Kumar. So his Dad did some kind of mysterious Dad thing and learned Akshay was filming at SNDT college in Juhu and took the kids over to meet him. So, it happened because Ranveer was already living near Juhu where all the movies filmed, and because if you live around there you probably know someone who can tell you the best way to meet a star (this is before social media remember so you don’t have them constantly tracked). Could have been his brother-in-law Anil Kapoor, could have been a friend who was a professor at SNDT, could have been a random producer he knew from a party that he called up and asked a favor, and then he made a few calls. But the point is, it’s not impossible, now or then, for just a random person to find out where a film shoot is happening. Heck, that’s how one of my friends got to meet Aamir Khan. It’s the advantage of simply living in the right area of a city.
Anyway, Ranveer’s Dad took them to SNDT college and Raveena and Akshay were filming, and Ranveer was stunned by Ranveena. So he’s watching and watching and she gets irritated, because she is wet and in a sari and all that, and orders them to clear this kid off the set. So the security guard comes and starts to take him away and he is all upset, and then he feels a hand on his shoulder, and it’s Akshay. And he gets the security guy to back off and is just so nice, and takes photos with him and the cousins and was wonderful, and Ranveer has been his fan ever since.
(It’s this song, you can see how Akshay is wearing the same outfit as in Ranveer’s photo)
And then they go on with explaining all their connections, and its cute, and very similar to the Dips/Alia episode where you get this idea of just constantly spending time together, like any other group of co-workers. It starts with Akshay and Karan teasing Ranveer for how much he dances at weddings, even when he is just a performer, he is the last to leave, always there. Karan casually mentions a wedding he was “hosting” in London, and how Ranveer just kept staying and staying, and Akshay confirms talking about other weddings he has been at. Somehow it never occurred to me that a wedding might not have just one of these people at it, but someone might spring for multiple performers, giving another way for all these people to interact outside of film roles. Oh, and this story is also the only time that I noticed that the English subtitles fell down on the job. They translate “suhaag raat” as “going to bed” which isn’t quite the same. I believe it is the “first night” meaning the consummation of the marriage. Which makes Ranveer still dancing and holding it up much funnier.
Anyway, Ranveer is remembering that years ago, when he was first starting out, he and Akshay were talking at a wedding and Akshay said “son, I hate to see money getting wasted. Every weekend, you should be working. Wedding, you dance. Birthday, you dance. Head shaving ceremony, you dance!” Akshay is a little embarrassed by the story, but not really. I like that about him, he’s not going to apologize for working for the money. Nothing to be ashamed of, dancing at a wedding. And his lessons worked, because Ranveer is also not embarrassed to talk about working weddings.
And then Karan pulls up his new “instagram” segment, which is much less natural this episode than the last, in the last one it was about confronting Alia and Dips with how they are so open on social media but pretend privacy in interviews. In this one, Akshay apparently isn’t even on instagram, and the only thing Ranveer has that is interesting is his clothes. Although, it does lead to a really fun reveal. Karan points out a couple of outfits Ranveer posted and Ranveer’s reaction is “YOU GAVE ME THAT!!!!”
(It’s this track suit)
And yes, Karan admits it, and now we learn that Karan pays for this shockingly expensive outfits and then doesn’t think he can pull them off, so he gives them to Ranveer. In fact, Ranveer’s whole outfit on the show (silk shirt with gold chain pattern, funky oversized gold glasses) is a hand me down from Karan. !!!!!
I like this first because it’s another clue to how close the industry people are, even people like Karan and Ranveer who wouldn’t consider each other their best-best friends, still trade clothes off like this and it is invisible to the public (except on Koffee, which is why I love it). And second because it was a little reference to how, practically speaking, Karan is much much richer than Ranveer. Ranveer is a movie star, Ranveer is famous, Ranveer and Karan appear at the same events and all that, it feels like they are equal just in different professions some times. But no, the reality is that Karan can afford to buy clothes that Ranveer cannot, can afford to waste money on clothes in a way Ranveer cannot. And his “handmedowns” are not insulting, but incredibly generous, like a king giving away his jewels.
There is another segment here, when Karan surprised Akshay and Ranveer with interviews with the people who “really” know them, who are not celebrities. For Ranveer, it is 2 completely non-famous friends who joke about him being scared on roller coasters, and his crazy fashion sense. I don’t find anything they say as interesting as the fact as their existence. Ranveer and Akshay are friendly and happy together from weddings and other shows. Ranveer and Karan are a little closer, socialize together a fair amount and have inside jokes and share clothes. But there is another side to Ranveer, the truly deeply personal side, and that is not part of the film industry at all.
Akshay, again, I am more interested in the very existence of the people talking about him than in what they say. Karan didn’t go to his friends, he went to his top three staff members. I imagine Akshay has those same inner inner circle people, but he’s a lot older than Ranveer. That inner circle is going to be so inner at this point that Karan couldn’t ask them to talk, they won’t be friends from college by his wife and his kids and his mother and mother-in-law and like that. That’s what happens when you get older, those college friends become a lot less important. I’m guessing 20 years from now Ranveer’s inner circle will be Dips and their kids and everyone else will be on the outside.
(This is Akshay’s inner circle now, and 20 years from now if Ranveer is very lucky, his inner circle will look similar)
I am interested in Akshay’s group not just for what they aren’t but also for what they are. For one thing, they are all women. Which Karan points out as well. This was filmed before #MeToo remember, before Akshay’s occasional director Sajid Khan got revealed as an abuser. So it wasn’t a defense or anything like that, it is just what it is for Akshay. His chief assistant is a woman, his trainer is a woman, and his second assistant is a woman. And they love him and trust him, the assistant says that she loves him and wants to work for him for the rest of her career and he knows that and Akshay kind of smiles and nods while watching like this is a conversation they have had. The trainer jokes about how he will do anything for her, but he won’t give up sweets because he says he is a Punjabi and he can’t give away his sweets. And the second assistant (I think) is a very young seeming woman who simply says that she feels safe with him and he takes care of everyone who works for him. This all makes sense to me, Akshay is a wonderful supportive husband to a working wife, makes sense he would have no problem with a female staff. And he is imminently professional and organized in his work life, makes sense that it would be pleasant to work with him.
After the talking head portion, Karan pulls out one of the challenges he tried last year, giving Ranveer and Akshay a scene to play together. It’s fine, not that fun, mostly a sign that Karan knows these two aren’t necessarily going to be bubbly and talkative enough on their own without games. By the way, this episode is also about 16 minutes shorter than the last one. Which makes me think Karan films these straight and they are whatever length they are, and Star adjusts the schedule around it because they know it is pure gold no matter how long it is. So in this episode, it’s all good, but it’s also all short, a little talking, a little instagram, a little filmed statements from friends, a quick acting challenge (“be two brothers in an 80s action film, Ranveer dying in Akshay’s arms”), and then right on to a very short lightening round.
The lightening round is pretty dull. Ranveer is so outrageous in his fashion and so on, but he really doesn’t get very personal or groundbreaking in interviews, a few slightly off-color jokes but always about people it is safe to joke about, and nothing really about himself or the forbidden topics. Akshay is smooth and also avoids the personal and the critical of big names. So I can see why at the end Karan ended up declaring it a tie.
The big interesting thing for me is how Ranveer managed to slip in soooooooo much promotion under cover. He talked about “Sara” as being the one who says things that aren’t true, a reminder of him co-starring with Sara Ali Khan in Simmba. He talks about how excited he was during the narration of Takht. He talks about how Vicky is so promising he can’t wait to work with him in Takht and how he can’t wait to work with Nawazuddin in ’83. Oh, and there were two mildly interesting things if you are a shallow fangirl type. First, Karan asked what would get Shahrukh to leave a party abruptly and Ranveer declared there is nothing that would make him do that, he will be there drinking and talking until the last guest lives even if it is 5am. And second his suggestion of Arjun’s Tinder profile statement “Hung like a Haathi [elephant]”. So, for those of you who care about Arjun, there’s a thing to think about.
(Apparently, hung like an elephant. So, good for Malaika! I guess. And might explain the mystery of why a sexy older woman is interested in him. And why he is so strangely relaxed and confident about life in general. Okay, maybe I am overthinking this)
For Akshay’s rapid fire, a couple of minor similarly funny things. Karan asks him about the worst text he ever got from Twinkle, and it is pretty amazing, “I don’t care, take me to dinner”. Which was on the night his film was releasing, he told her he couldn’t come home because his movie was premiering and her response was “I don’t care, take me to dinner”. There was another of those “huh, everyone really is connected” moments when Karan asked him who he would rather spend time with, Hrithik or Sajid Nadiawala, which seemed random until Karan explained that they live in the same building as Akshay and Twinkle, one above and one below. And then a really odd answer, Karan asks the last time Akshay had to stand in a line and he says it was for a Visa. Which isn’t that odd of an answer except that Karan and Akshay carefully don’t go into any more detail.
You see, Akshay was introduced as the king of the social message films, and earlier Ranveer had talked about how wonderful he is and how he should be Prime Minister or President, and now Akshay mentions waiting for a Visa. But, Akshay’s Canadian. He has Canadian citizenship. Heck, even way at the beginning when Ranveer was talking about his Canadian cousins that could have come up. But we don’t talk about that, we pretend Akshay is a patriotic perfect Indian who should/could run for Prime Minister one day. So weird, so frustrating. I don’t blame Akshay, I just want him to own his choice, say “I didn’t want to pay taxes, I didn’t want to lock my family into a third world undeveloped country, so I got Canadian citizenship because Canada is better than India and I like having a quick escape route built in”.
(It first came up when he was detained at Heathrow while using a Canadian passport. Imraan Khan, by the way, is American and Alia is British. But that is by birth and because of their parents’ nationality, Akshay gave up his Indian citizenship as an adult and opted for Canadian)
And then the quiz section! Finally! Get some life back into this thing! The whole quiz is 90s films based, which helps with Akshay becoming a legend and so on, and is also interesting for how very well Ranveer knows all of them. Karan joked about it earlier, that Ranveer remembers everything, and I guess he does! Just one of those minds, Ranveer and I should have a movie-remembering competition. There was one interesting comment during this section, Ranveer had to name 3 SRKajol movies and didn’t remember DDLJ and Karan was surprised saying “You are a Yash Raj person and you don’t know DDLJ?” So, first, Ranveer is a Yash Raj person? Like, that’s how he is known and accepted in the industry? Despite his most successful films being with Bhansali, it is the YRF studio that still owns him so far as everyone is concerned. And second, DDLJ is considered the big flagship most important YRF film still, part of being a “Yash Raj person” should be a constant awareness and memory of DDLJ.
And then the episode ended with the call test. This time Karan just had them keep dialing to see how many they could get. Ranveer got it first with Arjun Kapoor answering right away. Then Akshay also called Arjun and they tied. Then Ranveer got Dips, and Akshay got Twinkle, and finally Akshay won by getting Ritiesh Deshmukh. And in case you were wondering, Ranveer says “I love you” when he says good-bye to Arjun Kapoor, but not to Dips, although he does call her “Baby”, which is sweet. The best part by far though was Twinkle. She answered right away, Akshay put her on speaker, and told her to say “Hi Karan it’s me” and she said “Hi Karan it’s me I was supposed to give you an award and you didn’t show up what….” and you can hear she is about to go into a long rant when Akshay takes her off speaker and hangs up on her while the rest of them crack up. I love Twinkle!
And that’s it, that’s the end. It ends with us all being reminded how much more fun it would be to see Akshay and Twinkle again instead of Akshay and Ranveer, nice though they are.
(I love them so much)
That Arjun insight was pretty spectacular! And does totally make sense. Not the best episode for me…just kind of boring, but I do love the phone call game…my favorite part. Also loved Akshay doing the Madhuri hook step from Devdas. He’s still got some cool dance moves left in him:)
It’s not as bad as the Aditya-Jacqueline episode from last year, my current low water mark. But it was only so-so, I’m glad it was shortened, I think any more time would have killed the little energy they were able to create.
and that Arjun reveal is the only thing I will be able to think of now when I see him onscreen. It just makes so much sense! Of, like, his whole life!
On Sun, Oct 28, 2018 at 10:00 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Arjuna is dating MUNNI! OMG. ISNT that like dangerous with him and arpita splitting up and now he is dating salman’s ex-sister in law.
Yes to all of this! It’s still not confirmed, but it’s been rumored for years now. Which I guess must mean the Khan family is okay with it (if it is true) since they’ve stayed friendly-ish with Arjun through it all.
I suspect that Arbaaz wasn’t faithful during the marriage and so she gets a free pass. But now there are marriage rumors for Arjun and Malaika?! If so, they should totally do their thing and not care what others think! I saw her on Neha’s BFF Vogue show and I thought she was poised and sexy in that I have never had a real job in my life and can spend all of my time focused on my appearance kind of way. I’m also just going to say it. Arjun Kapoor may have some unresolved mommy issues because of the tragedy of his mother’s death and because of his strained relationship with Sridevi. And if anyone in Bollywood looks a bit like Sridevi, maybe Malaika does a little bit?
Arjun also just generally feels mature, I could see him with a divorced single Mom more easily than some of the other younger actors.
On Mon, Oct 29, 2018 at 8:56 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
She was an MTV VJ back in the heyday of MTV VJs, so she was hip-cool (and working) before becoming a Khan.
Funny enough, some of us of a certain generation might be thinking “Wow, Arjun landed an OG MTV VJ!”
I think of it as “Oh wow, Arjun landed one of the best item dancers who hasn’t missed a step (literally) 90s to today!”
On Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 9:44 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:
They have been seen holding hands last week so it’s half confirmed now.
I have been a regular reader of this blog for more than. A year now. I wonder about how much you know about India and Indian film industry. Being an Indian and a mild film buff, I don’t even know half of the stuffs you know. At times this blog has helped me understand some films better. Always wanted to thank but never did. However there is something in the post which is wrong on so many levels which needs to be addressed.
“I didn’t want to pay taxes, I didn’t want to lock my family into a third world undeveloped country, so I got Canadian citizenship because Canada is better than India and I like having a quick escape route built in”.
The term Third World was originally coined in times of the Cold War to distinguish those nations that are neither aligned with the West (NATO) nor with the East, the Communist bloc. Because many Third World countries were economically poor and non-industrialized, it became a stereotype to refer to poor countries as “third world countries”, Even countries like India, China and Brazil (?) Which thrive on industrialization come under this.
I could imagine you (A Well-informed astute person) giving this statement if it was US and not Canada. However there not much when we are comparing Canada and India. Huge fan of Akshay. He went there to save taxes. That’s all.
Please don’t get offended. Not meant to hurt you in any sense. Just a little bit disappointed at that blanket statement coming from some one who is so well informed.
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Thank you so much for commenting! I love new comments.
“Third world” is interesting because of how language shifts. Technically I suppose my usage is correct, since Canada was aligned with the “first world” in Cold War terms. I am resisting switching to “global south” which is the new terminology generally used but has it’s own gaps and illogics, but as you point out that would really be more accurate at this point.
What I intended was to compare India, as a developing country with massive infrastructure issues, versus Canada which has one of the highest qualities of life in the world and some of the best infrastructure.
hey! this is so minor but i was also thrown off by the “you’re a yash raj person” comment and so i looked it up. ranveer is apparently managed by “yash raj talent” which seems to mark him in the industry as a yash raj person when that isnt how the public knows him anymore. here’s the link if you want to see the rest, there were a few i was surprised by!
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That is super interesting! Thank you for the link. And for commenting, don’t make it the last time 🙂