Reality in the Reality of the Reality Shows

We witnessed its embarkation years back when ability was given a required platform to showcase itself facing cut throat competition. With gradual passage of time, it got revamped and more felicitous. Along with it, the fads that had arrived with the advent of modern civilization got attached. Today, however, reality shows indicate battle for dexterity blended with the prejudice of the arbiters and the predicament of the fighters concerned.

Has talent been dissipated in this sudden boom of talent hunts or has it not yet been doomed to a sordid existence? Almost every alternate day, a reality show camouflaged as a ‘talent hunt’ is launched. Have we not noticed that these talent hunts can at times be even more illusory than fiction? At one point of time, two persons are busy fighting with each other showering one another with all the expletives in all the languages they speak – and the very next minute they are capable of behaving like long-lost friends, hugging, kissing and even touching each others’ feet, all in stark contrast to the blood-thirsty wolves they were just a minute back! Not to forget here the famous “vote for me” plea. First they impart the audience the authority to adjudicate their future and when the audience turns out to be dogmatic or things don’t turn out their way, they don’’t waste time and.instead resort to abusing the audience and lo! It works! After all, what are wild-card entries for?! You can also emotionally blackmail the audience by swearing by the state you belong to or revealing that it is your birthday and you crave for votes as gifts.

The multitudinous shows demand manifold skills like making the audience laugh (by the way you can laugh uproariously at the silliest jokes), sing and make the “dil ko chu liya” (touch the heart) thing happen, dance your way to the prize money and so on. Again in some other reality show, you can also fetch yourself a brand new girlfriend! Variety is the spice of life, no wonder! At a time when the nation is enduring the problem of inflation and is hoping against hope to curb it, you can also win an amount up to Rs.10 crores in a reality show which surprisingly does not demand much of aptitude or genius. And we call ourselves a Third World Country!

I have nothing personal against reality shows. In fact, these shows furnish budding talents with a platform to fulfill their agendas. The concept seems to be honorable. But does talent get enough room to prove itself in them? I am not being sardonic here. I want the answer from you. I feel our vision is clouded due to emotional blackmailing. Emotions overpower logic here. Do you think the reality shows deserve to be applauded or are they going to turn monotonous and lose their charm eventually? There is this show which gives the plain Janes, a makeover. Plastic surgery, personal trainer, stylist, meetings with celebrities, at times even internships for preferred courses etc. are all provided. Why, then, isn’t such an exemplary show as popular as other reality shows which promise star-studded nights every episode? Simple, here there are no catfights, gossips, politics or backstabbing. Too bad people depend on such vulgar political tricks to woo the audience.

It seems to be the season of reality shows but are they really gaining anything out of this? With a new reality show every alternate day, are we really going to find out the time to watch them all? Are we ready to bear testimony to the judges walking out of the show (only to re-enter the very next episode) yet another time? Do we need the perpetuity of the regular postulate and procedure forever? Are all the voices and faces not beginning to sound and look similar? Soon, such repetition will cause suffocation. It is time we stopped aping the west so unapologetically. We urgently need a breath of fresh air.

In a country like India, with over 100 crores of inhabitants, I am sure there are more such shows to come. My only prayer is that talent and worth should be the deciding factors so that the concept doesn’t become boring or a nuisance. We could start with reducing the number of such shows so that we do not compromise in terms of quality for the sake of quantity. In the same vein, the World Cup would not retain its charm if it were to be held every 6 months instead of once in 4 years. Hence for these shows to sustain their fundamental allure, the producers must cease hankering after T.R.P.s and walk their talk of providing the unprivileged with prerogatives.

Ananya Borgohain

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