Shows with a disclaimer

FALL IN LINE Reality shows now focus on health and fitness

FALL IN LINE Reality shows now focus on health and fitness  

Reality shows now want to boost TRPs banking on fitness and makeovers. Experts, however, are cautious

First we lapped up the Indian version of American Idol, called it Indian Idol and made it a successful series year after year. Next came Jhalak Dikhla ja, on the lines of Dancing with the Stars. Along with Nach Baliye, the show made youngsters queue up to dance schools and learn salsa, jive, merengue and samba.

Wanting to serve up more than entertainment through song and dance or at the most, bickering inmates in Bigg Boss’s home, reality television wants to change the way you live. Health and fitness and makeovers are the new territories television is exploring. Biggest Loser Jeetega (inspired from The Biggest Loser on ABC) is on air and in a few months, participants from different walks of life will go under the scalpel for Extreme Makeover (an Indian version of the international show on ABC).

Awareness about plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery has grown in the last few years, doctors welcome the concept but are cautious at the same time. Dr. Bharatendu Swain, plastic surgeon of Apollo Hospitals, explains, “If the show is handled well, it can dispel misconceptions and increase awareness. Certain television serials in the recent past have shown plastic and cosmetic surgery in poor light: an actor undergoes surgery and reappears with a new face. We’ve had candidates asking us for such face change, which is not possible. Deformities can be corrected and features can be enhanced but if you want to undergo a complete face change, the thought and lack of self-confidence behind that motive needs to be addressed.”


Sony Television remains guarded in airing its views and maintains that the show transforms lives of people who’ve been victims of accidents and other such cases. “A burns victim can be treated and cured to a large extent, but he may or may not look like what he did before the accident. Likewise, plastic surgery cannot erase scars. People need to know that there’s more to plastic surgery than cosmetic changes,” adds Dr. Swain.

Extreme Makeover is scheduled to go on air by the end of 2007 with the vivacious Mona Singh (Jassi) as the anchor. Biggest Loser Jeetega is being hosted by actor Suniel Shetty, a sticker for fitness routines.

The participants here are divided into two teams and their diet and fitness routines monitored by fitness experts, dieticians and cardiologists. The teams are then tested for weight loss and the team that has collectively knocked off the least weight eliminates one candidate.

Upping TRPs

The ability to knock off a few kilos varies according to individuals. Kalyan Sundaram, programming head, Sahara One, rules out possibility of viewers trying to ape the show. “The participants take up cardio workouts in a gym.Viewers who want to follow such a routine will have to enrol in a gym and an instructor comes into place.

Only the affluent might have their own personal gym and they would know that precautions need to be taken. A small segment of the show aired on Sundays has the trainers showing you simple means of staying fit and eating healthy at home.”

Reality shows have upped the TRPs for channels time and again, it’s no different this time too.

The only difference is, there’s a disclaimer and you cannot hold the producers of the show responsible for any after effects of following similar fitness routines.

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