Koffee With Karan, the mischievous, irreverent, and carefree talk show hosted by Karan Johar, does what it always does: make headlines. The incestuous talk show, mostly starring Bollywood A-listers or the occasional rising Southern star, has always churned out a line or two that the sensational rags are after. Ironically, in the past one of the most controversial episodes was one starring two non-Bollywood personalities – Indian cricketers Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul. A few hilarious comments got the duo into a quandary that got them suspended and even sent from Australia where they played the Aussies in a series. Proceedings were initiated against her for misogynistic comments. Coincidentally, a court in Jodhpur today dropped the charges against the duo.
The show from this season went on hiatus for three years and was only revived this season starting July 7th. And right from the first episode of the season, which guest-starred Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, there was no shortage of snaps that sparked public outrage for various reasons.
But generating controversy is one thing, gaining viewership is another. Has Koffee With Kiran, now moved to an OTT platform – Disney Plus Hotstar to be precise – grown out of TV (Star World)? In its seventh season, is the show justified in moving to a digital-only streamer?
Streamer claims good numbers
Right after the first show, the streamer issued a press release claiming, “Koffee with Karan became the most-watched show and was subscribed to under Hotstar Specials with the biggest opening on Day 1, across all seasons of the show.”
As with streaming platforms, this Disney Plus Hotstar claim is not independently verifiable. But it doesn’t seem like an unlikely claim. Because the audience of a show like Koffee With Karan—typically an English-speaking, urban audience—has moved to OTT platforms. The show itself is done in a chatty English-Hindi style. It was logical for the show, which is downright provocative, sizzling and controversial, funny and silly, to switch to a streamer where such things aren’t viewed askance.
This season, even by the show’s standards, the questions are more explicit and daring. Karan has boldly classified his guests into categories suhaag raat to sex playlist and threesome.
Gaurav Banerjee, Head – Content, Disney Plus Hotstar & HSM Entertainment Network, Disney Star, said: “The idea behind moving a show to the streamer was to bring it to a larger audience, with the favorite stars up close and personal in an honest and fun set-up .”
So the switch seems to have worked. While we may not have the numbers to prove it, the controversy it’s sparked doesn’t lie.
All advertising is good advertising
In the new season, the show, which starts streaming every Thursday from 7 p.m., has had four different episodes so far. Aside from Ranveer-Alia One, the other three consisted of Jahnvi Kapoor and Sara Ali Khan, Akshay Kumar and Samantha Ruth Prabhu, and Vijay Devarakonda and Ananya Pandey. This week’s upcoming episode will star Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor. Basically, at least one contestant in each episode will have a movie that is awaiting release or has just released one.
Alia Bhatt has darlings ready for OTT. Jahnvi had Good luck Jerry waiting for streaming. Akshay just had Samrat Prithviraj out. Vijay and Ananya will have ligers release later this month. Ditto for Aamir and Kareena, whose Lal Singh Chaddha hits theaters on August 11th.
In a way, the participants are also encouraged to say something sensational that is picked up by controversy-hungry media. Because the oldest saying in film is: All advertising is good advertising. Old or new platform, some formulas are the same.