Anubhav Singh

Developer. Writer. Dreamer.

Reality Shows

Feb 092017


Reality shows - Big Boss, Kaun Banega Crorepati, Emotional Atyachar, ETC – where ETC stands for Endless Television Crap. From shows that bring out the next dancing sensation of the nation to the ones who sieve out the swag king or the drama queen, reality shows show us the ‘reality of the society’. Like really? Since when did we start getting locked up in a house with beauties competing other hunks for their affection by lying in a container full of ants?

They’re all very good to see, kill time on, choose a favorite, debate over them at social gatherings and often take a step forward to vote for them. But, what are we voting for?
Or if we were to reframe the question – what is the reality behind the reality shows that the present generation is wasting their unforgiving time over? Shorter still, the question boils down to – is our reality not real enough that we need to look for it on the television?


What goes into making a reality show? What is the formula that makes a reality show work? Will it be good enough if only reality were to be shown in a reality show? Or do we need to spice things up a bit? And if we do need to spice things up a bit…just how big should that bit be?
I agree the core idea of some rare reality shows is actually good. No doubt, a 7 crore cheque is a life changer for a guy who could not afford a new saree to his wife. The idea of recognizing the best singer among the common masses of India is fairly novel. We’ll come back to these family safe ideas later, but for now let’s talk about the major set of the reality shows which contains names like Big Boss, Rakhi ka Insaaf, Emotional Atyachar, Dare to Date, Splitsvilla, Shaadi 5 crore ki, etc.
I’m like, is there any limit to the nonsense Indian youth is offered to watch? And if that’s not enough, they show us Rakhi ka Swayamvar and Rahul ki Dulhania. For god’s sake how is the nation even tolerating such stuff?

But then, that’s what sells. Those channels are showing us what we love to watch. They’re showing us the reality which is spiced up brutally enough to lure the viewer into having a second look, and then a third, and a fourth and it goes on until one crap of a show ends only to make way for another better crap.

The people we see in those reality shows – how are they chosen? For shows which aim to sieve out talents, how do they make the choice of who to mark as talented? One can answer that, actually – they have judges. ‘Judges’. Since when did a pulp fiction writer from the IITs get qualified for judging contestants dance shows? Writing, and dancing, frankly speaking from my view, makes no sense in a pair. That’s Chetan Bhagat for you on the Nach Baliye judge panels.
Even till date it amuses me what exactly is the role of Archana Puran Singh as a judge at almost all those comedy shows except laughing at any joke, sentence, word, anything.
Coming to the participants – let’s talk about Roadies – rich sons and daughters of rich moms and dads competing to prove their level of swag and arrogance. Coming to Big Boss – people who never had any talent enough to be in the limelight in the media, pay the producers to make a show out of their derogatory skills and one actor whose presence made a black buck shoot itself acts like their father.
I cannot emphasis how relevant these contestants and judges are to the actual Indian society.

Well by now we have reached a point where we can raise a finger on the validity, or say, the real reality of reality shows. Say Mr. X wins the next season of Indian Idol. How did he win it? Votes. The public voted for him. Yes? Prove it.
And you cannot prove it. The producers will never prove it. Because sometimes it important for the show to remain popular that unexpected events constantly take place. Once upon a time, actually, almost everytime in any reality show, a very deserving contestant is eliminated from the show to make way for a Wild-card entry episode, where their followers are urged to vote even more than they had previously done to keep their favorites in the show.
If you’re going to choose the better talent based on the number of votes they received, what have you kept judges for?
What makes Dolly Bindra or say Swami Om a suitable candidate for Big Boss? Because they create a scene – they keep the show running. They are the antagonists – no one votes for them, mind, and yet they survive the show episode after episode. How? Actually, why? Because a drama is never complete with only the protagonist – an antagonist is crucial.

As promised earlier, we now come to the novel reality shows – Kaun Banega Crorepati, Dance India Dance and others of the like.
Watching these shows, one may wonder – why do all the contestants in these shows are in a dire need of money? For example, I have never seen a contestant on KBC who would come up and say – sir I am a businessman with so so and such decently large business empire and I just came here for fun! Yes, I can imagine switching the channel right away because I do not fancy seeing a rich brat winning any money on KBC. Instead, he should donate a few crores.
Yep, here is how the reality show propaganda machine works – every contestant in such novel reality shows in dire need of the help winning that show could provide! I wonder if India is entirely composed of the lower middle class Indians or the poor section. Or every dancer or singer in India has come through a great hardship? Unlikely. Very.
Fake background histories of contestants are created so that the viewer would connect to their hardships and continue watching the show. Yes, even the common man you see on such shows, is not a truth.

Where have all the stars gone? Is it a cloudy night? Yes it’s a cloudy night, dark and sad. We all may remember Abhijeet Sawant…the Indian Idol. I wonder hardly anyone in this room knows what his last song was.
Yes, these reality show stars disappear once the show is over. The producers are done making money out of them, poof!
But then as always, there are exceptions. Arijit Singh, but he didn’t win the show! He wasn’t the money cow of the show makers – he was talent. Ayushman Khuranna, Tochi Rana, yes, these were talents the reality shows gave us – but can you actually call it a wheat bag if you find 3 grains of wheat in a rice bag?
So the rest of them reality show winners are nowhere on the radar of the media. They came, they made money and they went. In course of this, you spent your time, your votes, your affection and received – nothing.

I guess after all the discussion the term ‘reality show’ has lost all its lustre and looks pretty ugly. And it is so. A show which is completely scripted to churn money, is filled with alluring nonsense and has no relevance to the society is aired as a reality show – is fathoms away from being one.
In the world of increasing pulp reality shows its very hard to find decent shows as options to watch on the television. A reason which occurs to me for this is because once upon a time when we knew less about them, we believed in them and we felt they were making a positive change in the society.
We conclude here, and leave it up to you to watch the upcoming reality show on your television, at the cost of your own time and energy.




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