Every channel wants a share of the large reality market that is constantly growing in India
Boy to GOD: Please make me rich and famous in few hours!
GOD to Boy: Son, go and participate in a TV reality show and be a little bit controversial.
Yes, it is true. In India where opportunities always come scarcely, at least there is a shortcut to fame and money. Good or Bad, they do change some people’s luck. From choosing new cheerleaders for KKR to a brand new boy-friend of Rakhi Sawant, there is a reality show for everything and anything running on Indian television. If early 2000 was a season of K-serials the late 2000 is time for R-shows. Reality shows, one after the other. Entertainment never has been this real.
Tune into any television channel, be it Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Bengali, or Malayalam there is a flood of R-shows. Every channel is launching its own set of reality shows. Every channel wants a share of the large reality market that is constantly growing in India.
Gone are the days when people preferred to watch the Saas-Bhau serials, now educated Indian youth want something extra and adventurous to get them out of their boring regular life. So there comes the R-factor to satisfy this extra bit of craving. Reality shows of every genre are running. Music reality shows which are the oldest of all seem to have one aim — to produce singers one after another. Sometimes, I wonder if the whole of India turn into singers, who will listen to the other singers. Some may have benefited but a majority of the aspirants are still struggling to make big even after going through such a long and tough competition. Comedy reality shows are straight forward, entertaining and fun, but too many are spoiling the fun. You always think I have already watched this comedy act somewhere as most acts are repetitive. Then there are new entrants, adventurous reality shows which are ruling the roost. Their magic formula? Put people in a jungle or island, give them some nonsensical tasks and watch them perform or perish. Exploit the contestants’ emotions, highlight them, make it sensational and bag a lot of advertisement. But these shows do become boring and predictable after a while.
No doubt, most of R-shows are inspired or a copy of western R-shows; but some of them are refreshingly fresh like ‘Saach Ka Saamna’. It is the first time people are getting paid to speak the truth. Just imagine our esteemed politicians on the Seat of Truth, is it not interesting? Before every election, candidate should be put through the polygraph test so that people can know their politicians much better. Morality should not come in the way of truth.
‘India’s got Talent’ is another show that again proves that India is full of hidden talent and this hidden talent needs a platform to showcase itself. ‘Rise of Labourers’ from a remote village of Behrampur in Orissa to India’s most entertaining act is truly a slumdog millionaire story. One good thing is that due to media coverage and wide opportunities, parents are encouraging their children to pursue their passion. They have realised that there are good careers beyond the traditional engineering, medicine or law. In India, where it normally takes a lifetime for the aam adami (Common man) to attain a good standard in life, a few can realise their dreams within a few episodes, thanks to many money-spinning shows. We actually need more such shows to eradicate poverty from India. One request to the producers of money spinning shows: invite the aam adami to these shows, not celebrities who have enough money to donate to charity without participating in these shows.
Judging reality shows is new fashion in Bollywood. Expert comments given by judges for which they are paid lakhs are sometimes too critical on the contestants who have come from middle class families. The most interesting part of these shows is to vote via SMS. How can talent be judged on the basis SMSes? But who cares? What matters is that with each premium SMS fills the bank accounts of producers. SMS voting can never be fair in India. In a diverse and complex country like India, where even after 60 years of Independence, language, region, caste, and religion still dictate the voting pattern, how we are supposed to vote impartially in a TV reality show ? The other new fashion in town is promotion through the R-show. Yes, before any new release, you can catch the lead actors, male or female, as a guest judge in a popular reality show.
Promoting a film through the R-show is a new type of publicity stunt and it really seems working better than the boring press conferences. Too much of anything is anyway bad. With so many R-shows, people are confused which to watch. Only those shows which have something different and innovative, will survive the TRP war. Till then, enjoy some good and other average R-shows.