Wednesday, June 5, 2013

MasterChef India ~ Reviewed!

I have been following the journey of a thousand contenders from twenty states across India since the past twelve weeks. Such is the excitement of the show MasterChef India Season 3 aired on Star Plus! The show is now in its final few weeks & because the judges keep live tweeting pictures of who gets eliminated there is no way I can miss any episode. That explains why over the past few days I have been fighting with a very slow speed Internet connection to somehow stream the episodes on Youtube and watch them as they happen! Why can I not record the show as usual on my DVR and watch it at ease after dinner you ask?; because I am travelling at the moment and the connection my dad has provided us, in literal meanings, sucks!

The show began on March 11 2013 with the first good news ready for me; one of the judges from the last season who I disliked had been replaced! Season 3 is being judged by Chefs Vikas Khanna, Sanjeev Kapoor, and Kunal Kapoor and no doubt my favorite out of the three is Vikas Khanna (from left to right in the image above). The reason why I like him more than the other two is simple: He's more soft at heart than the other two! *laughs* Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and Chef Kunal Kapoor can sometimes be REALLY rude when they begin judging somebody's dish. I agree that it's a competition and to some of the contestants they are literally fighting for a lot more than just the title .. but I really feel sad sometimes! I try to think what I would have done facing SUCH horrible criticism and that is where I absolutely die with fear! Chef Vikas Khanna however, likes to criticize but in a positive or I should say, 'less' horrible way. Being the softie at heart that I am it is obvious I would like the softer criticism rather than the other two.

The first few weeks of the show go by fast every season; they have too many contestants so they have tasks which eliminate more than just one person. The excitement really begins to unfold when you reach the Top 12 contestants of the game show! The game really begins to spice up at this point. Of course, this being a review on my behalf I will point out in the end who I think should win, but before that let me point out a few people who I disliked & was super happy when they got eliminated!

Before any sane person can move to the contestants, picking likes and dislikes, it is of utter importance that the pantry is mentioned. The gigantic pantry by Amul (Indian Brand) is jaw-dropping awesome. The picture above is just a mini version of the real thing from a single episode, the big full pantry is just too awesome. Varieties, choices, quality, quantity .. everything is found in HUGE numbers. If I was left inside such a pantry I would probably be so happy and then so confused of what to pick and what not to pick, I might just end up in a mental/anxiety fit! For me, even the fact that each contestant is hardly given a few minutes to run inside the pantry and choose ingredients for their dishes is a challenge in itself!

Now on to the contestants ... out of the Top 12 the first person to be eliminated was Ishrat Ali (on the left). Honestly, she was talented but something about her made me dislike her. Maybe the way she was teaming up against this other lady in one of the group tasks, or maybe the fact that I don't like people who try acting innocent to make their way around things.
It's a personal opinion obviously, I'm sure a gazillion people in the world must have been super upset when she was eliminated, but for me it was nice to see her go because I wouldn't have liked her as the final winner.

The next person to go was Jehan Bomi. Again, one of the people who went away rightfully; he was a banker, clearly not as experienced in cooking as the other contestants, weaker than the rest, less able to deal with pressure, and not as passionate. His goals were more about providing for family and his son whom he loved dearly rather than the obsession to be called a Chef. I guess there were better contestants compared to him, so it was okay to see him go as well! Nothing personal against him though, unlike Ishrat who I wanted eliminated!

Khoku Patra was the next one to go and MAN WAS I HAPPY when that happened. She was really nice at cooking and everything, but sympathy taking people forward is one of those things I absolutely hate. She was always using sympathy to carry herself forward if there was an issue and I had the strongest feeling ever that the judges were clearly keeping soft corners for her. Other than all those personal judgments from me, the biggest issue with her was she couldn't read English. A lot of the tasks were impossible for her without assistance and I always felt that a Masterchef must have at least some qualifications. It is true though that once she won and had the money she could have taken up an English language course, but then compared to others she knew very little about international food. I guess to be a Masterchef she needed to know more than just Indian authentic dishes.

Next in line for elimination was Happy Singh. In his case I had a mixed reaction from the start of the season to his end. He began as a very jolly person, loving, caring, and friendly to his competitors. During one of the group tasks where they were given a cake to bake (tiered and fondant) he showed immense support to all his team members, was an excellent team leader, and extremely calm despite the pressure. His Punjabi fun attitude made me laugh, enjoy the show even more, and support him although his food was just fine compared to the other contestants. Then he completely switched over another kind of person; he became rude, he started showing a lot of over confidence, and kept making statements that were clearly harsh about other contestants. Again, I am the softie remember? Even his Punjabi happy-go-lucky nature couldn't keep me from hoping he'd get eliminated, and I was happy when Happy was out of the game!

Devyani Bhati was the next one to follow Happy Singh out of Masterchef India's door. She was talented, good at baking (being a bakaholic that was a big deal), and quite innovative. She was very competitive as well and I thought super diplomatic too. So she deserved being in the Top 12 and also staying in the game thus far, however I had my personal grievances against her; she was the same sympathy type woman which pissed me off but other than that no issues! She was one of those few who were given a second chance through a wild card entry and honestly she disappointed me severely after that; I mean, she thought making a cheese omelette would get her back in the game? Err, I think not woman!

Aditi Madan was the next to go. I was glad! She was extremely competitive but I thought compared to others she lacked innovation, style, and variety!
Also when the episode aired that had their family members work alongside them, her brother showed up saying he was the one who cooked excellently but the family had sent Aditi to the show instead of him, she being the apple-of-the-eye! That was infuriating, and honestly I could see how he was doing most of the work and she was just following along. So technically she should have been eliminated that day, right?

Ooo then followed Yasmin Shaikh; a good cook, a decent lady, quick to work, competitive, not rude at all BUT extremely annoying! The lady was a live walking talking water fountain! You give her a task and there she is crying. You tell her the time and there she is crying. You tell her the dish is not nice and there she is crying, okay that is justified but here's another one: You tell her the dish is extremely wonderful and there she is crying her eyes out again! You can't just cry all the time when you're competing with such strong people alongside you. It shows how weak you are! I mean, what if she became Masterchef, she'd keep crying no matter what she did in life?
The last task she attempted was a major disappointment to. It wiped off the little bit of support I had for her; in an hour she couldn't even come up with a properly fried kachori! How difficult is that?

If there was anybody who least deserved being in the Top 12, it was Sachin Naik. He was a weak link since day 1. His auditions weren't the best yet he got selected because the judges said they thought he had the passion. He was the first and probably the only person who's dish was so horrible that it got thrown in the dustbin once but he was lucky enough to evade elimination. He was then eliminated but brought back through a team task (where he was saved because of Ripu, another contestant) in a wild card episode. Following his re-entry he was given another team task which kept him going till he reached the top 5! It was seriously undeserving, he wasn't experienced, he didn't know a lot about food, he couldn't come up with variety or innovation, and he just was .. NOT okay.

With these people out of the show currently there's the Top 4 left!! I can already feel a great season coming to an end and one person's life being changed forever! This week will be VERY crispy!!!
I'm thinking of saving my top 4's review for another detailed entry! It'll only be fair to add to the suspense, wouldn't it? It will, indeed!!

So until next time .. here's my super detailed review on Masterchef India Season 3! To everybody else who's following the show, hang on tight!; This game is going to become SERIOUSLY difficult and exciting now!

- S. Ali

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