20 March, 2010

The Reality Of Reality Shows!

About 10 years ago, in 2000, India witnessed the start of one of its first and finest reality shows, Kaun Banega Crorepati hosted by Amitabh Bachchan....

...After that, we've had a plethora of reality television shows here in India.

Now, the equation of reality TV is slowly and steadily changing. It is turning to be more manipulative and unreal these days. We have all types of reality shows now. Competition shows, musical shows, challenging shows, talk shows, game shows and so much more...

The latest of the lot, Emotional Atyachar, as we all know, is aimed at taking a loyalty test on partners and their infidelity. Though it may sound a little awkward to expose these stints, it has turned out to be one of the most popular shows among younsters. I don't understand what kind of entertainment is derived by watching someone cheat on his/her partner, and that too, live.

At the helm of reality TV, we also have music shows and competitions. Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, the popular music show has been running for a very long time now. Earlier, when it started in 1995, it was a real thing and devoid of manipulation. But through the passage of time, along with other shows like Amul STAR Voice of India and Music Ka Maha Muqqabla, politics and manipulation has found its way into all this. Results are decided beforehand, partiality has entered, talent is misused and organizers do nothing but mint money.

Look at Indian Idol, it is currently busy in auditions for its 5th series. People participate hoping to expose their talent. But in return, they get looted and cheated badly. An insider source tells me that most of the music competition shows have a procedure for contestants who have passed the auditions. These contestants are trained by the show organizers in light vocal training with a fee of Rs. 3 lakhs. This simply indicates that shows are out to loot people... And what if, those trained contestants don't last for long in the show? Their invested money is all gone...

Another revealing fact is about the method of voting in such shows. When you vote for a contestant by SMS, the cash goes in the pockets of sponsors and show organizers. Even so, reality shows also make up fake voting statistics and award victory to a finalist on their own will. 

It is really interesting to see how reality programmes are turning into a matter of rehearsed commentary and unethical practices. They are on the verge of entering fiction now. 

What are your views about the turning tide of reality television in India? Do you have any further examples to cite about such manipulation? How do you think can we eliminate such weeds from reality television programmes?

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