Melodrama does the trick

Melodrama does the trick

In the clutter of reality shows competing to corner eyeballs on telly, another season of another talent hunt is so like those silver screen sequels with the same old scripts served as new wine: Murder 2, Jism 2, Housefull 2 and so on…until it’s all just ‘two’ much to take.

As Colors recently saw the curtains go up on Season 4 of India’s Got Talent, the desi franchise fashioned on the British Got Talent series that had made a debut on our reality stage in 2009, its timing — arriving into a choc-a-bloc primetime space packed with reality shows in the same genre — could almost have made it a blink-and-miss affair. 

So, into this rash of reality dance and music shows, India’s Got Talent (IGT) tamely erupted with its talent-scouting template that seduces into the spotlight skills hidden in all corners of the country. The first Got Talent format show in Asia, whose USP has been travelling to cities across India chasing local and offbeat.

talent, the prime challenge that the new edition of IGT naturally faces is ensnaring eyeballs with edge-of-the-seat entertainment.

Part of this challenge of churning out novelty comes in the shape of celebrity judges who can send the TRPs soaring with their raucous roaring, suspense-suffused scoring and greasepaint gimmickry that saves the show from slipping into the realm of the boring.

And so, Season 4 of the show stages some novelty in the form of judges Karan Johar and Malaika Arora Khan, while Kirron Kher stands out as a staple, having been its official face since the maiden season.

But since these are the faces that keep recycling on the reality judge circuit (KJo concurrently judging another Colors show Jhalak Dikhla Jaa and Kirron also cast in other celebrity panels), the newness that the judges serve on the show comes more from their complimentary wardrobes and their gilt-edged gems than from any pearls of wisdom that they disseminate to the de-glam denizens dishing out their skills minus much frills!

It is thus left largely to the hosts and the participants to bring in the much-needed novelty to the new edition. The freshness quotient arrives in the shape of co-host and comic man Cyrus Sahukar of the Rendezvous with Simi Girebal and Piddhu the Great fame, who’s paired to play anchor with Manish Paul.

Having delivered sterling shows in the spoofing genre, Cyrus’s presence on this platform pales in front of past performances as far as gags go. But as far as grooving goes, the Cyrus-Manish pairing sure scores in the silhouette dance they stage to give the talent template a taste of their ‘dark’ moves.

Coming to the content that drives this talent-hunt template, well, the performances are entertaining at times and edgy at times, driven by TRP-tantalising trickery at times and trying-too-hard-to-be-different bizarreness at times. But mostly, it’s tried-and-tested tricks with a trivial turn and twist. So, there’s a cash-strapped man driven by rozi-roti to pull a heavy car with his teeth. Then there’s a chit of a child churning out rope tricks.

There are also a robotics-and-hip-hop dancer and a silhouette squad staging acts that make the judges dance to their tune. Or, there’s the daredevil trapezing over tubelights.

How then does the reality show snatch or sustain eyeballs? Enter melodrama and tear-jerking tension to do the trick. Time to treat the talent-hunt template to some TRP-triggering lachrymose dripping and heartstrings gripping along with the rope skipping!

So, when a frog eater is feeding the audience some nail-biting moments, there zoom in the cameras to capture the heart-clutching horror and hypertension writ large on the pancake-heavy and bauble-flashing faces of Kirron or Malaika. When in comes a ‘scream’ singer, the show script stages a judge-participant melodramatic face-off, a staple of such shows, as the otherwise calm and cordial KJo himself screams at this apology of an act. Or, when a tiny tot steals the show with his drumming act, sentimentality is cast in a cameo in the shape of KJo, who plucks himself from his pedestal to prance towards the platform all praise and plaudits.

Never mind if the toddler’s trick raises concerns about minors being pushed by parents to drive them into the Hall of Fame or if three-year-old Angshuman Nandi’s act is reminiscent of the Running Budhia Debate that had sparked outrage over the Orissa boy being coerced to chase fame down the marathon lane. All said and done, there’s a major spate of minors’aspirations riding the reality TV-rollercoaster towards 15 minutes of fame!

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