Aaj Ki Raat Hai Zindagi: Sorry, But Big B’s New Show Is a Big Bore

Amitabh Bachchan’s return to TV with Aaj Ki Raat Hai Zindagi fails to impress.

3 min read
Amitabh Bachchan and Kapil Sharma on the sets of Aaj Ki Raat Hai Zindagi (Photo: Twitter/<a href="">@KapilSharmaK9</a>)

When I switched on the TV at 8pm on Sunday night, what I really wanted to see was that 73-year-old superstar, who mesmerises everyone with his voice and sheer presence, do his thing. After 15  years, Amitabh Bachchan was hosting a show on the Star network – a historic alliance that started way back with the first season of Kaun Banega Crorepati in 2000.

It’s no secret that Big B’s television ventures last year, be it him hosting the 8th season of KBC or his much talked about debut fictional drama Yug on Sony, did not get the TRPs racing. But burying the past in the past, I was glued to my TV set hoping that something magical would unspool on the small screen yet again with Aaj Ki Raat Hai Zindagi.

And so the show began. Big B was smartly dressed a classy maroon velvet jacket and his chunky black glasses completed his perfect learned-gentleman look. The concept of Aaj Ki Raat Hai Zindagi is adapted from the British show Tonight’s The Night – a celebration of life of the real heroes of our country. It features stories of those people who with their small but significant efforts are trying to bring about a change through the nooks and corners of our society. The first episode showcased stories of six such people who have been exceptional in their humanitarian ways of giving back to the country. Bachchan then did his bit to give these superstars a gift… a token of appreciation by fulfilling one of their little dreams through the show. But, is it just me or do you also feel that Big B’s new show is Satyamev Jayate revisited? Though Satyamev Jayate was far more serious, and definitely a more toned down version of Aaj Ki Raat...but apart from the celebrity performances and the ‘celebration’ feel of it, the overarching feel of AKRHZ reminded me of Aamir Khan’s frequently teary ‘crusader’ talk show.

As much as I love the thought and the whole idea of propagating optimism it today’s seemingly pessimistic world, the show lacked the required grip to hold me until the end. And the end seemed so so excruciatingly far. I wouldn’t really blame the audience for not sitting through a two hour telecast.

There was nothing in this show that you haven’t seen before. There were guest appearances (Shilpa Shetty, Alia Bhatt, Arijit Singh, Kapil Sharma and the likes), there was singing, dancing, a sprinkle of teary-eyed moments and what not. Among all these done-to-death things, if there was one element that really caught my attention, it was the ‘Hands of Hope’ wall. All the role-models were to leave their hand prints on a wall to serve as a beautiful memory and a source of inspiration. But even that emotion was ruined when I saw that the so-called wall was a large digital touch-sensitive pad! Too clinical and detached a way to store humanitarian gestures, I thought and it killed the remaining bits of hope that I had for the show too. So yes, eventually it was just Big B’s grace and extravagant Hindi which kept me going until the end of the show.

What the producers of the show need to do is to create an impact with the extraordinary stories that they want to highlight because under the whole façade of celebration, the spirit and the underlying act of heroism gets comparatively ignored.

Bachchan’s blog dated 17/18 October said:

A flow occurs on the AKRHZ matters move a bit sooner and more efficiently, the order is restored for most parts of the show, but...
The apprehensions of its receiving or rejection are foremost in the mind... attendance for any celebration of the product, is mercilessly cut through the body... it is far too much to be in the presence when broadcasts explode upon the TV seasons .. one would rather sit in its quietude and pray and hope that the semblance of a disaster is avoided...

Big B’s apparent skepticism about the show may not just be him being jittery about it, the superstar might have had an idea of the things to come.

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