tv show

Chat show ‘Vogue BFFs’ falters as it tries to showcase celebrity friendships

There is not a lot on offer for those who are hoping to learn new things about their favourite stars.

The public relations pitch of Vogue BFFs, the chat show on the Colors Infinity channel, promises “intimate moments and secrets of your favorite stars with their favorite people”. The view from the sidelines looks inviting: celebrities show up with their best friends, professional collaborators and family members, and share confidences.

A closer look, however, reveals a half-baked attempt at unmasking celebrity lives. The show is hosted by Indo-Canadian model and actress Kamal Sidhu on a set that resembles a loft and is replete with extravagant knick-knacks and yellow lights. Then it is time for the celebrity to knock on the door and be bombarded by rapid-fire questions. The second guest comes in a little later, so to bide time, Sidhu asks question after question as the celebrity walks around the set, taking in the view.

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Kajol and Mickey Contractor on ‘Vogue BFFs’.

Friendship is loosely defined on the show. The pilot episode featured Deepika Padukone with her stylist and, surprise, surprise, show sponsor Vogue magazine’s fashion director, Anaita Shroff Adajania. (Details on Padukone’s look from the episode were later posted on the Vogue site.)

The episode on Kajol was with one of her oldest friends, makeup artist Mickey Contractor. Arjun Kapoor was accompanied by his uncle, Anil Kapoor. Another episode included Kareena Kapoor and designer Manish Malhotra. (Sample: “My husband always tells me, ‘I don’t like size zero,’ he likes the more curvy, rounded kind of women, the typical Indian, Kamasutra-ish kind of woman.”)

The setup feels rather jumbled, as the charming Sidhu makes earnest attempts to establish a deep conversation while including random games to test the friendship and questions posed by fans. There is sometimes a lot happening, and the show barely scratches the surface in its attempt to cover too much ground in a short period.

Some elements feel staged. Kajol expresses her desire to see Contractor and hopes that he is the guest who has been invited with her. There are revelations about the actress that will not be new to hardcore Kajol followers. It was Contractor who played a pivotal role in retaining Kajol’s signature unibrow look at the beginning of her career. Audiences are also told about what the actress has been up to lately and her decision to get married in her early twenties. However, we never hear much about Contractor, and he is asked absurd questions, including “How much does he charge for bridal makeup?”

The answer: “Priceless.”

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Arjun and Anil Kapoor on ‘Vogue BFFs’.

The two Kapoors, on the other hand, have a little fun with each other. Arjun discusses how his uncle is always the centre of attention. There is no room for genuine insights or difficult conversations on say, Arjun’s big shift to the movies. He does talk about the one pet peeve that so many people have with star kids’ privileges, and explains that many of them wither away over the years.

Compared to other talk shows that have been popular, such as Rendezvous with Simi Garewal or Koffee with Karan, Vogue BFFs fails to leave its mark. One reason might be that Johar knows his guests a lot better than Sidhu. There aren’t enough memorable anecdotes or insights into the lives of the celebrities, and rushed segments such as the one tracing their fashion evolution do not help.

Kareena Kapoor and Manish Malhotra.
Kareena Kapoor and Manish Malhotra.
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Young Indians now like their traditional food with a twist

Indian food with international influences is here to stay.

With twenty-nine states and over 50 ethnic groups, India’s diversity is mind-boggling to most foreigners. This diversity manifests itself across areas from clothing to art and especially to food. With globalisation, growth of international travel and availability of international ingredients, the culinary diversity of India has become progressively richer.

New trends in food are continuously introduced to the Indian palate and are mainly driven by the demands of generation Y. Take the example of schezwan idlis and dosas. These traditional South Indian snacks have been completely transformed by simply adding schezwan sauce to them – creating a dish that is distinctly Indian, but with an international twist. We also have the traditional thepla transformed into thepla tacos – combining the culinary flavours of India and Mexico! And cous cous and quinoa upma – where niche global ingredients are being used to recreate a beloved local dish. Millennials want a true fusion of foreign flavours and ingredients with Indian dishes to create something both Indian and international.

So, what is driving these changes? Is it just the growing need for versatility in the culinary experiences of millennials? Or is it greater exposure to varied cultures and their food habits? It’s a mix of both. Research points to the rising trend to seek out new cuisines that are not only healthy, but are also different and inspired by international flavours.

The global food trend of ‘deconstruction’ where a food item is broken down into its component flavours and then reconstructed using completely different ingredients is also catching on for Indian food. Restaurants like Masala Library (Mumbai), Farzi Café (Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru) and Pink Poppadum (Bengaluru) are pushing the boundaries of what traditional Indian food means. Things like a kulcha pizza, dal chaawal cutlet and chutney foam are no longer inconceivable. Food outlets that stock exotic ingredients and brands that sell traditional Indian packaged snacks in entirely new flavours are also becoming more common across cities.

When it comes to the flavours themselves, some have been embraced more than others. Schezwan sauce, as we’ve mentioned, is now so popular that it is sometimes even served with traditional chakna at Indian bars. Our fascination with the spicy red sauce is however slowly being challenged by other flavours. Wasabi introduced to Indian foodies in Japanese restaurants has become a hit among spice loving Indians with its unique kick. Peri Peri, known both for its heat and tanginess, on the other hand was popularised by the famous UK chain Nandos. And finally, there is the barbeque flavour – the condiment has been a big part of India’s love for American fast food.

Another Indian snack that has been infused with international flavours is the beloved aloo bhujia. While the traditional gram-flour bhujia was first produced in 1877 in the princely state of Bikaner in Rajasthan, aloo bhujia came into existence once manufacturers started experimenting with different flavours. Future Consumer Limited’s leading food brand Tasty Treat continues to experiment with the standard aloo bhujia to cater to the evolving consumer tastes. Keeping the popularity of international flavours in mind, Tasty Treat’s has come up with a range of Firangi Bhujia, an infusion of traditional aloo bhujia with four of the most craved international flavours – Wasabi, Peri Peri, Barbeque and Schezwan.

Tasty Treat’s range of Firangi Bhujia has increased the versatility of the traditional aloo bhujia. Many foodies are already trying out different ways to use it as a condiment to give their favourite dish an extra kick. Archana’s Kitchen recommends pairing the schezwan flavoured Firangi Bhujia with manchow soup to add some crunch. Kalyan Karmakar sprinkled the peri peri flavoured Firangi Bhujia over freshly made poha to give a unique taste to a regular breakfast item. Many others have picked a favourite amongst the four flavours, some admiring the smoky flavour of barbeque Firangi Bhujia and some enjoying the fiery taste of the peri peri flavour.

Be it the kick of wasabi in the crunch of bhujia, a bhujia sandwich with peri peri zing, maska pav spiced with schezwan bhujia or barbeque bhujia with a refreshing cold beverage - the new range of Firangi Bhujia manages to balance the novelty of exotic flavours with the familiarity of tradition. To try out Tasty Treat’s Firangi Bhujia, find a store near you.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Tasty Treat and not by the Scroll editorial team.