Reality Shows – How real are they?

After watching saas-bahu sagas for over a decade or so, something that the audience wanted badly was a break from these daily soaps full of dramatic elements. What better could have come to the rescue of the audience but ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’? It certainly was one of its kind during that time. Something as phenomenal as KBC was never witnessed before by the Indian audience. The anchor in true sense, ‘Amitabh Bachhan’ was the reason for people sitting glued to their seats. The magic started sharp at 9:00 p.m. and ended after an hour, leaving the viewers spell bound. The TRP’s were high, infact they sky rocketed. That was incentive enough for our TV producers to switch their fields and then what followed is in front of all of us.

Every fourth show on television is now a reality show, promising to be something different, something spicy and something new. Reality means something real being showcased on TV without manipulation and everything happening spontaneously. But, just to serve ‘Masala’ and gain TRP’s, channels have stooped too low in the name of reality shows. These shows depict everything but reality. Most of them are scripted, fake and have no authenticity.

The recent example being the ‘reality show host cum drama queen’ Rakhi Saawant’s show – ‘Rakhi ka Insaaf’ which claims to be a show providing justice much like one that was started by Kiran Bedi. The very first episode bears testimony to the fact that reality TV is no longer real. Every little action, every little sentence was mocking the truth. No one could be trusted and everyone was there to be a part of the non-sensical drama. What else can you expect from Rakhi Saawant who gets married with a man on one show and breaks up with him in the other? On being questioned about the same, she answers, “Hey Mister! Don’t interfere in my personal life…” Now! That’s funny… personal is what she calls her life!

There are many shows that compliment the types of Rakhi’s show. One of them being ‘Raaz Pichle Janam ka’ which is a class apart in increasing the superstition that dwells in the minds of the ‘already so superstitious’ Indians. This show was the height of insane drama. The worst is yet to come – Raaz Pichle Janam Ka-2’.

There is then a different category of reality shows all together. The kind which comprises of shows like Roadies, Splitsvilla, and Get Gorgeous etc. which according to me lays just one condition on their participants and that is- they should know all kinds of slang from all languages. Back-biting, cheap usage of language is what you can get familiarized with, if you are a regular watcher of these shows.

The producers can go to any extent to increase the TRP’s of their shows. They do not mind and do not consider the kind of stuff they are delivering to their audiences. All that matters to them is their show’s publicity. Emotional Atyachaar is one such show that fails to establish its credibility. If you do not trust your girlfriend/boyfriend, do you really need national television to expose this truth to you?

There are not these few, but many shows of these kinds being broadcasted on TV nowadays. But the irony lies in the fact, that these are the shows most watched. And the surveys show that the younger generation is the one, who give these shows their high TRP’s. Young people are so trapped and engulfed in this whole network that they even watch repeat telecasts in spite of already having watched the show once. The explanation that one such student gives is, “there is so much excitement happening everywhere on the show, that that one watch is just not enough for it.” It’s not that today good shows are not coming or that producers don’t think of making good reality shows, but money gains precedence over everything. A non-spicy but decent and true show will never get those record viewerships. So why not make something that pleases the eye of the viewers and the pocket of the producers. The whole concept is wrongly embedded in our minds.

These kinds of shows definitely have an adverse effect on its viewers and each one of us is forced to admit it. All that television needs right now is Revival and freshness with some fresher, cleaner and neater shows. Hope to see some more of them again with the coming back of Amitabh Bachhan with his very own KBC-4.

Juhi Gupta

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