Indian TV personality and actor Sidharth Shukla dies
A HOUSEHOLD name in India – actor and presenter Sidharth Shukla died in the early hours of Thursday (September 2) in Mumbai and the sudden death drew a huge outpouring of grief and sadness.
The 40-year-old was cremated yesterday after succumbing to a sudden heart attack in his sleep.
Shukla really made his name by winning India’s version of ‘Big Brother’, ‘Bigg Boss’ in February 2020. The show remains hugely popular in India and is fronted by Bollywood megastar, Salman Khan.
Khan was among several Bollywood stars who paid tribute to Shukla and his talent.
Khan tweeted: “Gone to soon Sidharty…u shall be missed. Condolences to his family.”
Shukla had first broken through via a magazine talent content in 2004 before going onto feature in several TV ads and then TV dramas – including a lead role in ‘Babul Ka Aangann Chootey Na’. He also appeared in the Bollywood film, ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania’ (2014).
He was a presenter too and among his credits are, ‘India’s Got Talent’ 6 and 7 and he was often seen an emblem of reality TV talent.
Upcoming actor Kartik Aaryan summed up the mood. He tweeted: “The way Sidharth made a huge place in all our hearts with his smile, his graceful personality and just being himself is so inspiring. Can’t fathom this. Truly heartbreaking.”
Star director and chat show supremo Karan Johar also commented: “I want to always remember your warm smile and your kind heart. RIP dearest Sidharth.”
Veteran Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt was also moved to lament, “Deeply saddened by the sudden demise of Sidharth Shukla. My condolences to his family and his fans, all over. Om Shanti.”
Seen the ITV drama – ‘Stephen’ – yet?
THIS powerful and well-acted drama picking up events 13 years after Stephen Lawrence’s murder at the hands of a racist gang in South London in 1993, is available to watch on ITV Hub now.
This story, while still revolving around his Indomitable parents – Doreen (Sharlene Whyte) and Neville (Hugh Quarshie) – introduces us to Detective Chief Inspector Clive Driscoll (Steve Coogan), an old school cop and very decent chap – who begins to sift through all the evidence again with a view to mounting a successful prosecution. Remember that the first investigation was shoddy and totally inadequate – the subsequent Macpherson Inquiry into the botched police investigation damned it as institutionally racist and said Britain had to do better as a country in addressing racial discrimination.
This drama lets the police and honest ‘coppery’ go to work and DCI Driscoll is a hero to salute along with the Lawrences as always…
They gave their blessing to this production and it’s very absorbing and well done and a reminder that the road is long but a start has been made because of the Lawrences’ courage and determination.
Well worth watching. TV personality Adil Ray plays the Lawrences’ solicitor, Imran Khan.
The first episode aired last Monday (August 30) and the remaining episodes go out on consecutive Mondays – with the next on ITV on Monday (September 6) at 9pm and the concluding episode at the same time on Monday, September 13. You can watch it all in one go on the Hub (UK only) https://www.itv.com/hub/stephen/10a0537a0001
We are Lady Parts and Tan France open up at TV festival
THE GOOD, the bad and the ugly were very much all on recent display at the recent four-day virtual Edinburgh International TV Festival.
Among the headline appearances were four women from Channel 4’s ground-breaking and original comedy drama, ‘We are Lady Parts’ – about an all female people of colour British Muslim punk band.
Written and directed by Nida Manzoor, the show has been much praised and at the festival, Manzoor was joined by actors Sarah Kameela Impey (Saira) and Faith Omole (Bisma) and production company Working Title producer Surian Fletcher-Jones.
The four spoke about how important the music was for the show and representing the diversity within the British Muslim community itself.
Manzoor – who has written for television before but in her first solo scripted work – revealed that her brother wrote original songs for the show and that she had always loved music since being given a guitar by her Dad as an eighth birthday present.
The four were in discussion with the TV festival’s first international editor Tan France – who grew up in Scotland, but has become a global media personality for his appearances on the hit US produced Netflix show, ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’.
The five (France in full unashamed fan boy mode) were engaging, funny, smart and show that new comedy is alive and well and such dramas with a British comedy sensibility can and should travel well internationally.
Away from the good and the beautiful was France’s own admission of struggle within British TV – he simply couldn’t get anything commissioned despite being a global TV star.
In conversation with Fatima Salaria, who is the executive chair of the TV festival’s board, France said he had pitched ideas for shows here – but had not got an encouraging hearing. He told Salaria, who has held senior TV executive positions at the BBC and Channel 4, that had any one of his other co-presenters from Queer Eye pitched something in Britain they would have been welcomed with open arms. Ugly and shocking when one of the most recognisable faces on TV is not heard in his own country.
Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Connolly (Lifetime Achievement Award) and Greta Thunberg were among the other headline particpants. Writer Jack Thorne presented the keynote James McTaggart Memorial Lecture, and focused on TV and disability; while comedian London Hughes presented the alternative McTaggart Lecture.
The festival also featured: Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Rita Chakrabarti, Raisah Ahmed and Navdip Dhaliwal.
These live streamed sessions that were broadcast for accreditated delegates between August 23-26 will be available to everyone on Youtube (also a festival sponsor) at some point.
James McTaggart Memorial lecture – https://youtu.be/oxUZPMBRIPU