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Last Updated:  Monday, 17 March, 2003, 12:10 GMT
Living with the Kumars
Donny Osmond and Sanjeev Bhaskar
Donny Osmond went through the Kumar treatment
The Kumars at No 42 has been nominated for three Bafta TV Awards - best entertainment programme and two for best entertainment performance.

BBC News Online looks at the appeal of the spoof chat show.

Perseverance was the name of the game for Sanjeev Bhaskar after his idea for the Kumars at No 42 was rejected numerous times.

But it was eventually commissioned and despite a quiet start, when it was only those in the know that tuned in, the spoof chat show became a hit.

Its success is borne out by the various awards and nominations it has picked up, including a prestigious International Emmy in 2002 for the BBC Two show.

Now in its third year the show has attracted guests, including Richard E Grant, Stephen Fry and Helena Bonham Carter, willing to put themselves through the humiliation of being interviewed by the Kumar family.

The premise is that Sanjeev Bhaskar - as Sanjeev Kumar - presents his own chat show from a studio built in his back garden, and funded by his parents.

Part chat show/part sitcom, Sanjeev is joined in the studio by his mother Madhuri, played by Indira Joshi, and father Ashwin, acted by Vincent Ebrahim.

Added to the family mix is the grandmother, affectionately called Ummi, and played by actress and writer Meera Syal.

Bhaskar and Syal have both been nominated in the Bafta best performance category.

Meera Syal and Richard E Grant
Meera Syal as Ummi cosied up to Richard E Grant
Guests who go on the show to plug their book, film or song must first endure taking part in squabbles and questions fired at them from the "family" - many of which are designed to humiliate.

Some guests cope better under the pressure, while others just look bemused by the whole affair.

But what can be seen as a very British programme in terms of location and references, has been snapped up for a US audience.

But the British-Asian Kumars will be replaced by a Mexican-American family, giving the show its own identity which will have a broader appeal for American viewers.

Bhaskar is now the darling of both the British television and film industry, having first found fame in the comedy series Goodness Gracious Me, which he co-wrote and starred in.

His film roles include The Guru and Anita and Me, which was written by Syal.

Although success came late for 38-year-old Bhaskar, he has now also signed a script deal with movie giants Miramax.

Bhaskar's real-life career is all a far cry from the make-believe land of the Kumars - where he is harried and criticised by the family for being a bad chat show host.




SEE ALSO:
Kumars lead Bafta shortlist
17 Mar 03 |  Entertainment
Bafta TV Awards: The shortlist
17 Mar 03 |  Entertainment
Bhaskar takes the limelight
22 Nov 02 |  Entertainment
Kumars land Emmy award
26 Nov 02 |  Entertainment
Meera, Meera off the wall
14 Mar 03 |  Newsmakers


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