Koffee With Karan, the talk show run by Karan Johar with mischief, irreverence and lightheartedness, is doing what it always does: Garner the headlines. The incestuous talk show mostly featuring Bollywood A-listers or the occasional rising star from the South has always produced a line or two that sensational rags are after. In the past, among its main controversial episodes was the one that featured, ironically, two non-Bollywood personalities — Indian cricketers Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul. Some amusing comments landed the duo in a soup that they were suspended and even sent from Australia, where they were playing in a series against the Aussies. A case was filed against them for making misogynistic remarks. By chance, a court in Jodhpur dropped the charges against the pair today.
The show from that season went on hiatus for 3 three years and was only revived this season starting July 7th. And since the first episode of the season, which featured Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt as guests, there has been no shortage. of snapshots that provoke outrage among the public for different reasons.
But provoking controversy is one thing, and getting an audience is another. Koffee With Kiran, who has now switched to an OTT platform — Disney Plus Hotstar, to be more precise — from TV (Star World) has grown a lot? In its seventh season, does the series justify the switch to a digital-only streamer?
Streamer claims good numbers
Shortly after the first show, the streamer released a press release in which he stated, “Koffee with Karan has become the most watched and subscribed show on Hotstar Specials. The inaugural episode, featuring the electrifying Bollywood duo – Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, recorded the biggest opening on Day 1, in all seasons of the show.”
As is the case with streaming platforms, this Disney Plus Hotstar claim cannot be independently verified. But it doesn’t seem like an improbable claim. Well, the audience for a show like Koffee With Karan — typically, urban English-speaking crowds — moved to OTT platforms. The show itself is in an English-Hindi speaking style. It made logical sense for the show, which is decidedly provocative and exciting and controversial, funny and silly, to switch to a streamer where these things aren’t viewed in any doubtful light.
This season, the questions are, even by show standards, more explicit and bold. Karan has been maliciously rating his guests on the topics of suhaag raat to the sex and threesomes playlist.
Gaurav Banerjee, Head – Content, Disney Plus Hotstar & HSM Entertainment Network, Disney Star, said, “The idea behind transitioning a show to streaming was to bring it to a wider audience. This highlights how our viewers want to know their favorite celebrities up close in a candid and fun setting.”
So the change seems to have worked. Even if we don’t have the numbers to prove it, the controversies it generated, however, don’t lie.
All publicity is good publicity.
In the new season, the show, which starts airing every Thursday from 7pm, has had four different episodes so far. In addition to Ranveer-Alia, the other three featured Jahnvi Kapoor and Sara Ali Khan, Akshay Kumar and Samantha Ruth Prabhu, and Vijay Devarakonda and Ananya Pandey. This week’s upcoming episode will feature Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor. Basically, at least one participant in each episode will have either a movie awaiting release or just one released.
At first, Alia had Shamshera to release then. jahnvi had good luck Jerry waiting to broadcast. Akshay just finished Samrat Prithviraj Outside. Vijay and Ananya will have liger release later this month. Ditto for Aamir and Kareena, whose Lal Singh Chadha will hit theaters on August 11.
So the participants, in a way, are also encouraged to say something sensational that will be picked up by the controversy-hungry media. After all, the oldest movie saying is: all publicity is good publicity. Old or new platform, some formulas are the same.