Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pick of the Night

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pick of the Night

Article excerpt


Bollywood Star 9pm, Channel 4 Tears, tantrums and talentless wannabes - why look, it's another star-search show.

Yes, following in the footsteps of Pop Idol, Model Behaviour, et al, here is Channel 4's hunt for Britain's first home-grown Bollywood star.

But this variant on the talent-contest theme is eminently more watchable than Popstars and co, partly because of its deliciously bitchy panel of judges, and partly because it's not all about skinny teenage singers - the eventual winner may not be cast as a hero or heroine, but a mum or dad.

Even though everyone from Selfridges to Andrew Lloyd Webber has had a go at the Bollywood thing, and despite the influence of India's all-singing, all-dancing, hyperemotional films on contemporary British life and culture, no Brit has yet made it big on the Mumbai movie scene. But that could be about to change, as the eventual winner of this competition will be given a part in a Mahesh Bhatt film.

Before that, though, there's a tough, daylong audition process, which we see tonight. More than 1,000 hopefuls danced and acted their way through a series of heats, before around 100 were selected to perform for the panel: Radio 1 DJ Bobby Friction, choreographer Honey Kalaria, musician Bally Sagoo and Bombay Dreams star Sophiya Haque (above right).

Now, you may think Simon Cowell is cruel to be kind, but this lot are even more direct. Haque criticises practically all of the acting, while subtle Sagoo tells one poor lad he has "zero talent".

Over the next four weeks, tonight's 20 "winners" will be whittled down to six, who will spend a fortnight in Mumbai, during which they will experience real life by working in a market as well as performing.

It will be an emotional experience for them. Perhaps so emotional they feel compelled to take part in a massive, songmiming dance routine.

Prisoners' Families: the Silent Sentence 9pm, BBC2 Prison sentences don't affect only those behind bars - they are also hard for loved ones left on the outside. Visits are perhaps only 20 minutes long, and often take place in crowded rooms, knocking any chance of privacy on the head. …

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