Until a few years ago, television channels were popular for soaps and film-based shows. Of late, such programmes have taken a backseat with diverse reality shows being aired on nearly all channels. With talent shows turning many commoners into celebrities, youngsters are also eager to showcase their skills.

For many, participation in talent shows is a life-changing opportunity and offers instant stardom. Gabriella Charlton, who was the title winner on Vijay TV’s ‘Jodi No. 1’ (Season 6), said: “I got offers in films after my first dance show. But reality shows gave me more fame. It is so overwhelming when people call from other countries to congratulate, and Facebook fan pages are created in your name.”

Curiosity to test his mettle as a singer drove him to take part in reality shows, said engineer-turned-singer Syed Subahan, who didn’t mind the long hours and travelling that came with being a part of the ‘Super Singer’ show.

“I gained a lot of confidence after the continuous training on the show. Such programmes are a launching pad. After that, it is hard work that shapes our career,” said Subahan, who is now set to go on a foreign concert tour.

Sometimes, reality shows influence trends in films too. K.S. Arun, an aspiring director who is part of the ‘Nalaya Iyakunar’ show on Kalaignar TV, said, “It is easy to convince people about my talent through short films. The show gives me freedom to experiment with different themes.”

*********

It’s a simple idea, but one that 23-year-old Himadri Chakrabarty thinks could work wonders.

The postgraduate student of Madras School of Economics has always wanted to do something for the education of less-privileged children, and so, he came up with the idea of a ‘paper drive’.

“Every school can ask its students to bring in 10 old newspapers each month. The school can then collect them and sell them at a local mart. The funds raised could be sent either to the State or Central government to fund the education of needy children,” he said.

According to Himadri, if every student in every school in the country contributed, the money collected would be equal to five per cent of what is currently spent by the Central government on education.

“It does not have to be restricted to schools. Colleges and universities across the country could be involved too. It would also give students a sense of achievement and make them realise the importance of working towards education for all,” he said.

More In: Columns | Chennai