Will Simi Garewal’s Rendezvous still be relevant today?

Elegant. Graceful. Style personified… She can actually be called the first lady ‘chat’terati of television hosting. In fact, a few decades back, she had pioneered ‘the chat show’ revolution — a format that the Indian viewer had never seen before.

At that point of time, her show was quite a rage on television as she invited on her show some of the biggest ‘n’ best names in Bollywood, politics and the social circles. Indeed, her name evoked sophistication, classy chic and grace, and the crème-de-la-crème of the film world or otherwise took it as an honour to appear on her show.

No prizes for guessing who we are talking about…She is, but obviously, the incredibly chic Simi Garewal. And though some may smirk or make snide comments that at the age of 70-plus she’s way past her prime, more so with so many claiming that other celebrity chat show hosts like Karan Johar (Koffee With Karan), Neha Dhupia (BFFs With Vogue) and Kareena Kapoor (as RJ) had pipped the First Lady of TV chat shows at the post long way back. And, how!

In fact, over the years, many took pot-shots at the lady’s obsessive pristine white wardrobe or her ‘simpering’ style. Many including the hilarious show hosted by Cyrus Sahukar did a ‘laughathon’ spoof on Rendezvous With Simi Garewal. But that didn’t dim or rust the virginal white gleaming halo that Simi Garewal’s reputation sported. In fact, it kept her show alive in the memory of the people.

So a TV chat show legend she may be but Simi Garewal cannot be relegated to another dusty page of History…not yet. In fact, she’s making her comeback soon, and this time ‘round, she insists that it won’t be on any TV channel or social platform. Instead she will be hosting it on her own YouTube channel.

Ask Simi why the comeback, and she says that she had released all the five seasons on her YouTube channel some time back and the phenomenal response she had got prodded her on to come up with a new season. Simi further averred, “I give complete credit to Rendezvous With Simi Garewal for keeping me relevant.”

No wonder, the stars — even the ‘popcorn’ newbies — apparently still consider Simi’s show a landmark. This time around supposedly, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh will make a joint appearance in the first episode.

…And that has already created a furore on the escalating wireless paths of the net. But is she truly relevant especially in these times where the digital paths have paved a way for a more ‘in-your-face’ culture? Let’s analyse…

Agreed, the lady is a vision in white and is known for her elegance and sophistication, but despite the rich — some may say OTT icing — it is a fact that she has always connected with the viewers extremely well. Proof of the pudding? The five past seasons of the show that Garewal posted on YouTube recently garnered over 100 million views within a couple of days.

And that’s not all, mind you, she also busted many scoops…many more than the idiot box news channels that scream ‘Breaking News’ at the drop of a hat.

For one, do you remember how John Abraham (at that point he was in a relationship with Bipasha Basu for the past nine years) spoke his heart out to Simi about how he and Bipasha didn’t connect any more. That was the first inkling that something was rotten in the city of Denmark. Shortly after that episode was aired, the couple broke up and went on their separate journeys.

It was also on the 100th episode of Rendezvous With Simi Garewal that Rekha publicly admitted that she was in love with Amitabh Bachchan. Rekha confessed, “He was something I’d never seen before. How can so many good qualities be bestowed on one person. I’m not a fool, I’m intelligent or so I’d like to believe. When I see a good thing, I can recognise it.”

Simi then prodded on whether Rekha fell in love with Big B while filming the 10 films they starred in together. To which the reclusive actor answered, “Absolutely. Duh, that's a dumb question. I have yet to come across a single man, woman, child who can help but fall completely, passionately, insanely, desperately, hopelessly in love with him. So why should I be singled out? What do I deny? …That I'm not in love with him? Of course I am.”

And the skeletons in the closets of stars kept popping out at regular intervals on her show. The list was never ending — whether it was politician Jayalalitha to the now Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, they all revealed details of their lives to the dazzled public who had never heard of their pin-up stars speaking so candidly. And the TRPs rose alarmingly high…Rendezvous With Simi Garewal was indeed a blockbuster hit.

But the moot question that keeps popping up is… will Simi Garewal manage to do the same with the comeback season of her show? Will she manage to get the newer stars to bare all? Will she even connect with them? “I think so,” says Bhupender Mukherjee, TV analyst, who avers, “The best thing about Simi’s shows were that they were extremely well researched and if her new episodes are also on the same lines then she has nothing to fear.”

Will her “simpering style” appeal to the new bold and fearless gen who prefer to talk straight? Mukherjee says, “If you check the old episodes, you’ll actually notice that despite her simpering ‘Lady Of The Manor’ way of speaking, Simi is actually very articulate and to the point.

In her charming manner, she also asks the most probing questions which her guests invariably fall prey to and bare all before the camera. And that anyway is the sure-fire recipe for a great TV show.”

Garewal’s comeback announcement has definitely grabbed eyeballs — a definite sign that she is still relevant. Of course, we will have to wait and watch whether it causes as many fireworks as it did decades back.

It was also on the 100th episode of Rendezvous With Simi Garewal that Rekha publicly admitted that she was in love with Amitabh Bachchan. Rekha confessed, “He was something I’d never seen before. How can so many good qualities be bestowed on one person. I’m not a fool, I’m intelligent or so I’d like to believe. When I see a good thing, I can recognise it.”