Reality or scripted reality?

Last Updated : 04 August 2015, 18:48 IST
Last Updated : 04 August 2015, 18:48 IST

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Television kills boredom like nothing can. Sitting on the couch in front of a big plasma TV and surfing the channel is what most people do in their free hours. There was a time when Ekta Kapoor’s high-on-drama daily soaps were the first choice of almost every viewer. And then came reality shows that gave them a choice to enjoy some real action.

From the drama-unfolding fights of roommates at Bigg Boss, to the blockbuster TV quiz show Kaun Banega Crorepati, anchored by Amitabh Bachchan, reality television has thrown ordinary people into the limelight. Though different reality shows have different formats, some of them are surrounded by controversies and their credibility has occasionally been questioned. With allegations that they are not as real as they claim to be, they are often planned to grab more eyeballs and gain higher TRPs.

Pooja Mishra, who was a contestant of Bigg Boss Season 5 shares her experience with Metrolife, “Television is all about entertainment. And shows like Bigg Boss raise the constant itch of voyeurism in the audience. Reality shows are made with the mission of entertainment and when you are out to entertain, credibility takes a back seat. There is a lot of politics that goes on internally.”

“Many times a lot of talented people are suppressed. Judges keep on pushing for their favourites in case of talent hunt shows. Many things are manipulated and there is so much of pressure backstage. They have a very use and throw attitude. The channels are extremely selfish. They see the unique selling point in you, and use you as a puppet to make the show more spicy and entertaining. Even Salman Khan was not spared by them due to which he kicked the show and walked off,” adds Mishra.

Twenty-one-year-old Deeksha Piyush, one of the top 10 finalists in Indian Idol 6, shares similar views. She tells Metrolife, “I made it to the top 10 finalists but was eliminated in the voice quality round. When I performed the judges were all praise for my voice. But that part was not shown on TV. It clearly meant that they wanted me out. Judges support whom they like and only they are able to make it to the finals. The winners are sometimes decided upon earlier, ignoring the viewer’s votes. The one who is able to gain sympathy
from the audience is eligibleto stay in the show.” 

Indian classical musician, vocalist and author Prof Rita Ganguly highlights a different angle of reality shows. “I think that singing in reality shows ruins the lives of young ones. They do not get any opportunity later. They not only grow afar from their classmates but they grow very important for just a few months and after that, there is nothing. Also, some of them end up mimicking which does not help anyway,” Ganguly tells Metrolife.

Marzi Pestonji, who has been judging many reality shows says, “I think reality shows are a great platform for people from everywhere across the country to come and show their talent. These shows give an opportunity to everyone. Also, many of them who didn’t even win are doing really well. Whether it’s performing art shows, dancing in films, choreographing, working in reality shows or setting up their own dance schools, the shows open many doors for them. Their journey really begins once
the show ends.”

Reality shows are extremely profitable, partly since they are very cheap to produce with the participants being paid a nominal compensation. So, it’s understandable that executives love the reality formats.

Kamal Khan who was the winner of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Singing Superstar in 2010 feels that the reality show helped him build a career in singing. “Today, what I am is because of this reality show. I don’t know what people think, but if on stage tol mol ke baat karte bhi hai (measure our words), it is absolutely fine.”

Singer Shibani Kashyap says, “There are stars being born out of these shows. It provides an amazing platform to the upcoming world.

The whole world is watching them and it is up to themto sustain it.” By definition, reality TV is essentially unscripted programming that doesn't employ actors and focuses on footage of real events or situations. But a survey conducted by the portal BT Surveys to gauge customer satisfaction, reveals that 83.5 per cent people felt reality shows are rigged.

“Reality shows are not real at all. It’s all planned as many times when we all expect someone to be the winner, the most unexpected person wins,” says Sonia Rathi, a Commerce student and TV series fan. “To make the shows more interesting and catchy, the channels plan things in advance. And if so is the case how can we call it a reality show,” wonders Sapan Gupta, a businessman. Whatever be the reality of such shows, the truth is that they are most watched by viewers across the country. Indeed, nothing
sells like reality shows in Indian television!

Published 04 August 2015, 16:11 IST

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