Saturday, January 30, 2010

All reality is not lost!

Its quite hard for me to actually sit in front of the television for long. The constant commercial breaks make it hard to fix interest in any program. But every now and then when I have nothing better to do, I do sit staring at the TV in the hope of finding something interesting to watch. I wouldn’t make any fans when I say that I sometimes do watch reality shows. I have myself criticized the reality shows running nowadays because they are so overly melodramatic and manipulate the viewers’ emotions to gain higher TRPs. Channels have managed to make reality shows just out of everything. Right from the simple concept of singing competitions to marriages! Rahul Mahajan comes on TV saying, “I am the first guy for whom a bride will be chosen by whole of India!!” Lolzz! How can shows like these be tolerated?

But I must admit, maybe for the first time I felt that the emotions shown on such shows can be real. I happened to watch a show called Dance India Dance on Zee TV. It is quite the usual show in which talented dancers compete with each other week after week to stay in contention to become the king/queen of dance. Most of the time, participants get emotional after their performance and speak about their family. These moments are showcased in such a filmy manner that you feel as if they are artificially induced. However, this Saturday when I happened to watch one of the episodes, I was actually moved by the heart felt expressions of love and pride shown by a participant’s family. They were simple people who put their thoughts across in such a straightforward manner that everyone listening was moved.

Maybe it is because love of parents towards their children is so unadulterated that the reality show director did not feel the need to add any special effects or thundering music! A candid admission of a policeman father of how he was wrong to have criticized his son because of his interest in what he felt was a worthless activity, an expression of gratitude towards his wife who made amends for his mistake. Reality TV felt real! The mother actually managed to move everyone to tears when she said that being a policeman’s wife, she understood at a very early stage that it was she who had to make compromises and adjustments. She went on to narrate how she got her child back after almost all hopes of reviving the still born child were given up by the doctors. She said her son had made her proud today. The emotions were so natural that I felt moved.

Such scenes are very rare in reality shows dominated by artificiality in the form of the innocent bride Rakhi and victimized lady(?) Bobby darling! Those simple parents showed that if you are very emotional or passionate about something, you don’t need to put up a fa├žade when you speak and you need not try too hard. If you feel very strongly about something and are honest about your thoughts, you will easily strike a chord with your audience!


  1. Being a reality show junkie, I completely agree with you... Sometimes reality shows do get real !! To garner high TRP's, the channels can go to any extent.. I sometimes wonder if any of the stories narrated by the families is real or is it scripted too.. Well, you never know..

    But, the fact remains that these channels script all the reality shows because they know how to make people watch their shows.. They add an emotional touch becase they know the mentality of Indian audience.. How much ever we might blame them for making everything so fake, the truth remains that we do watch them.. :)

    But shows like Swayamwar and Perfect bride are outrageous.. They have made a mockery of the institution of marriage.. And the orst part is people watch them. I was surprised to see my friens watching Swayamwar and having a dicussion on it in office :D.. Crazy !! The channels do know the pulse of Indian Audiene ;)..

    By the way, what surprises me the most is, how can Rahul's show can be called as Swayamvar?? Isn't he look for a Vadhu instead?? Or is it Dostana on TV !! Indian audience cant get that real for sure !! :D :D

  2. Karthik...Did u cry?? Sach bol

  3. Good Karthik..that’s your perspective! Now.. what makes us realy think and analyse is hearing from an another side.. who passionately presents his views. Great script :)

  4. I don't know why everyone's is so frustratingly engaged in debates over TRPs and reality shows and incessant questioning their legitimacy. To not accept it is standing in the way of change, which you know you'll accept eventually. It is a phenomenon a sure footed rather. Period.

    Did anyone notice the gathering storm, which has been moving from email to IM/texting, then to orkut and facebook and now twitter? There has to be line of thinking behind it, in fact there is one. It's a move towards synchronization. The more the audience/viewer/social networker is in sync the greater the propensity to shift towards that channel. To top it up, there's a theory around bandwidth - the lesser the better/convenient (though arguably higher bandwidth effects a greater impact). Email, Orkut and Twitter are low bandwidth games, decreasing in that very order. So email - definately more impactful, but it isn't synchronised (time -gap) so email route is less often preffered than getting to twitter - which is syncronized and a low bandwidth medium.

    Imagine - Askok Kapoor, and Meena Kumari judging a dance competition, circa 1965, and the show being tele casted on February 2, 2010. Will you still shed that tear for the competitor loosing out by a whisker?

  5. @Karthik: Yes, audience is moving towards reality TV..Channels sure do know what rakes in the moolah!
    Now whether many of these shows can sustain interest and remain relevant over a period of time? I am not sure..

    @Romy: I surely do get senti from time to time..but i still maintain that i did not get emotional after watching Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham!!

    @Lakshmi: Good to know that I made sense :)

    @Aman: I was just talking about the fact that being pretentious might not be able to impress your audience..but simple and honestly conveyed story or emotions always do strike a chord

    You seem to have brought in a new angle here..and i surely agree that channels like twitter etc and even the TV has now brought you face to face with people similar to you. These are not imaginary characters and hence u tend to connect better. But if you ask me whether characters in TV serials ever managed to create the same impact, I would say yes..remember shows like Nukkad, Buniyaad?