By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: As though Mad In India, Star Plus’ answer to Comedy Nights With Kapil on Colors, was not in trouble enough with its paltry TRP ratings, we now have reports of anchor Manish Paul threatening to quit the show.
However a source from the team laugh off Manish’s walk-out as “nothing but empty threats….He can’t walk out. Koi mazaaq hai kya? He is under contract with the channel. If he leaves he will be taken to court. All these reports of Manish quitting the show are arm-twisting tactics.”
The source doesn’t deny that Manish and Sunil Grover have problems. “It is basically a tussle about the format of the show. While Grover wants Manish’s interviews with celebrities to be part of the comic act on the show, Manish wants the interviews to continue as a separate slab on the show. He wants to be Jay Leno.”
However the poor ratings of the show are being blamed on the show’s meager comic content.
Says the source, “The channel wants the comic element to be inter-woven into celebrity interviews . Manish’s ‘Jay Leno’ act is not working. In fact during the show’s telecast viewership dips during the interviews. Clearly the audience wants the humour and not the blah blah on Mad In India.”
The source say that on several occasions Grover attempted to barge into the celebrity interviews. But attempts to humour up the conversations have not been appreciated by Manish Paul.
“There is a conflict of interest on the show about the format and packaging. The film’s creative team is trying to sort it out.”
Another source says Grover needs to be pulled into the scripting .
Says the source , “Grover needs to be more participative in the scripting. He tries. But the show’s producers don’t allow him.”
After the first few episodes didn’t work, Grover came with the idea of some self-deprecatory humour. On one occasion he suggested they do away with the audience in the studio and quip, ‘Arrey lagta hai sab Kapil ka show dekhne chale gaye.’
The suggestion was shot down by the creative team. Grover also suggested that they show audiences throwing tomatoes on the Mad In India team.
Says the source, “Grover is not too happy with the content. He would like the show to lighten up and not take itself too seriously. As for the Manish Paul factor, Grover doesn’t interfere at all. But the channel is going to take a call on how and where to fit in Paul.”