Judges with crashed careers, contestants, feuds with lewd language, wild card entries with candid controversies, suspense with bamboozling background score and anchors with less words, more glamour are all the indispensable ingredients necessary to conjure a ‘realistic’ reality show.
The small screen has been flooded with reality shows, namely X Factor, Just Dance, Little Champs, MTV Roadies, Emotional atyachar, Ratan Ka Rishta, Comedy ka maha mukabala, MTV Stunt mania and the list goes on. Whether it is Ratan Rajput choosing a groom for herself, Akshay Kumar overseeing sexy models doing thrilling stunts, Hrithik Roshan bestowing the small screen through his cameo in a dancing talent hunt show or Sanjay Leela Bhansali weeping over some participant’s performance, all reverberate the growing mania of reality TV. More fame and fortunes from just sniggering on national TV than acting on it. It is completely another thing that he squandered all that he earned in making six pack abs and unleashing his own music album. Only with every new season of Indian Idol, we get nudged about the existence of a music director.
Reality shows work more for people before the stage than those on the stage. The judges of these shows become even more popular than the contestants. Therefore, they work in resurrecting careers of the so called forgotten ‘celebrities’. Shekhar Suman, Anu Malik. Aadesh Srivastava, Ismail Darbar, Archana Puran Singh, Daler Mehndi, Adnan Sami and so on, are all those, resurrection of whose careers is attributed to reality shows.
Reality shows have also been a great platform for grand come-backs of forgotten actresses who are seen judging reality shows that are not even near to their forte. Madhuri Dixit, Sonali Bendre, Raveena Tandon, Archana Puran Singh (my apologies for placing her amongst actresses) and many more, all fall in the same league.
Shows like Big Boss, Emotional atyachar, Splilsvilla, Love Lock-up etc. are examples of our growing lust for intrusion in private lives of people and for that matter, even voyeurism. Emotional atyachar’s grand success has shown that how we bite our nails sitting glued to our TV sets seeing people cheating on their partners by making out with hot models. With the Swyamvar series, the institution of marriage has become a farce. Shows like Splitsvilla, Love Lock-up, Truth love and cash and Dare to Date have ridiculed love by turning it into a lucrative business and an easy mode through which a handful of fame-crazy youngsters get over-night few months’ fame. Many youth-targeted reality shows have contestants using appalling lingo to abuse one another, even many a times they lash out at one another physically.
Most faces get forgotten with the end of a season and get replaced with the newer ones coming in the newer season, while a few conspicuous ones end-up doing more reality shows or daily soap operas regardless of what kind of talent they posses. ‘Reality tv contestant’ is becoming a whole new profession in itself.
Tabloid TV is also one form of reality TV. While showing a news-story, reality is constructed, exaggerated, sensationalised and trivialised just as what happens in a reality show. Many a times, fictional news stories are also shown. Nowadays, Hindi news channel even show repeat telecasts of daily soaps and reality shows brutally massacring their credibility as news channels, not entertainment channels.
Scripted jokes, crying for no reason, sensational twists, over-whelming emotions and actions, and trivialised quarrels have become an integral part of our reality shows. How real are these shows, has always been a highly contentious issue triggering many a plethora of debates.