Vijay Deverakonda spilled the beans about how he had had a crush on Samantha Akkineni when he saw her in Ye Maaya Chesave (2010), in which the latter made her Telugu debut. And that set Samantha off into peals of laughter on the inaugural episode of her new talk show, Sam Jam.
Sam’s cousin-in-law Rana Daggubati seems to have taken a leap via SouthBay.Live, a YouTube channel through which he hopes to engage with actors, filmmakers, and dead artists. One of the initial promos of Why Are You features Ram Gopal Varma, the director of Satya and other blockbusters and numerous other B-grade experiments. He says that his meaningless tweets can be compared to those of the President of the United States. As a wise human once stated about RGV, you can either love him or hate him, but you cannot ignore him. Furthermore, what’s more intriguing about the Daggubati show is that it’s animated.
That’s the thing about television. When celebrities walk down the aisle of the small screen, they get thunderous applause from their fans. In films, the actors may play various roles, but on television, they’re more real, more vulnerable. They pour their hearts out and have fun conversations about their personal and professional miracles with the hosts.
In pre-movie release publicity interviews, the focus is always on the now. However, in talk shows, especially those hosted by A-list celebrities, they get the time and the space to break all the rules, and be themselves. Shows such as Rendezvous with Simi Garewal and Koffee with Karan have survived the test of time not only because the hosts were immensely likeable; they also gave us a peek into the homes and lives of celebrities. We couldn’t have known that Kareena Kapoor Khan loved gossip as much as we did, but for Karan Johar’s coffee confessions.
Now that the idea of a regular talk show has been overdone in many parts of the nation, some celebs from the city of Charminar have taken up the challenge to light the magic candle via technology and games. Sam Jam, which premiered last week on Aha, is quite light-hearted. The setup sticks to the tried-and-tested method of bringing a well-known celebrity (Vijay Deverakonda was the guest for the pilot) and dispelling the myths around them.
Deverakonda and Akkineni had starred together in Nag Ashwin’s Mahanati (2018), and their camaraderie was pretty evident in the first episode of the show.
YouTubers who make irreverent videos about the film industry and add irrelevant thumbnails to spike their views can get a week’s worth of content from that single episode alone.
Coming back to Sam Jam, Akkineni also uses the platform she’s been given to raise awareness about mental health by calling doctors for a five-minute chat, and even lends a helping hand to the needy by giving them laptops and other accessories (including money). These segments are all carefully folded into 55 minutes. It’s certainly a noble thought, but one must wait to see if that energy gets carried on to the upcoming episodes.
Rana Daggubati has always supported innovation in multimedia. Before becoming a full-time actor, he ran an animation and VFX studio for almost half a decade. In SouthBay.Live, though the faces seem like oil paintings, the bodies are made to appear as people from another century. Maybe, in a week or two, our social media timelines will be flooded with suggestions about who future guests should bear a resemblance to.
On the same channel, Lakshmi Manchu has started hosting a show named Coming Back to Life, wherein she talks to celebrities about dealing with the pandemic and getting back to work. Manchu catches up with Taapsee Pannu and Sendhil Ramamurthy and has a discussion on how the two critically-acclaimed actors didn’t pursue careers in the fields they studied in. The host also casually revealed a tidbit about how naïve present-day style icon Taapsee was about makeup during her early days in the industry.
If the shows by Samantha and Lakshmi seem formal, you can tune into Tamasha with Harsha on Aha, as it is more laidback and sort of massy. Recently, Harsha Chemudu got roasted by his double-trouble guests Navdeep and Niharika Konidela. It was evident from the beginning that he couldn’t keep up with the tirade of wisecracks he was subjected to. But, it’s all good in the hood and the verbose commentary, inspired by Abish Mathew’s Son of Abish, is actually the USP of the half-hour weekly entertainment show.