Reality TV: Reality Shows In India
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Imagine Paris Hilton slogging it out on the farm…Or Heidi Klum having a discussion with you about your upcoming fashion line? These are just a few instances, which might have seemed next to impossible a few years back. Welcome to the era of reality Television, a place where fiction meets reality.
The advent of reality shows can be traced back to the forties with shows like Allen Funt’s Candid Camera that captured candid reactions of people to humorous tricks and prank. TV shows without stringent story-lines, soon became increasingly popular with the audience. Ordinary people captured in real-life situations seemed to amuse the audience, which was hitherto bombarded with ultra-dramatic soaps and movies.
Reality television broke the monotony to create interesting scripts and out-of the box ideas that made them stand out from the run-of-the-mill shows. Although drama-lovers are still glued to their idiot boxes at prime time, reality shows are hogging the limelight big time.
Some of these reality shows are talent hunts, game shows, celebrity shows, documentary-style shows, makeover shows, or some of them are just plain voyeurism personified. However different their concepts might be, all the reality shows, intrinsically run on the same path. They put ordinary people or celebrities in real-life situations and allow peeping toms to enjoy the thrill of watching them!
Besides giving the audience the thrill and excitement of live un-edited action, reality television allows the audience to be a part of the show. Take for example The American Idol, or the moviemakers’ favorite reality show- On the Lot, these shows allow the audience to choose the winner through a voting system. Although the credibility of these voting systems is debated about forever, the interactivity factor definitely fetches the show a lot of following.
Types of Reality Shows
Celeb-Reality: Reality shows with celebrities are a rage with the audience.
Examples: Dancing with the Stars, The Simple Life, and Big Brother
Prank-Reality: Reality shows that involve pranks played on ordinary people and capturing their candid reaction.
Examples:Candid Camera, Punk’d (Ashten Kuthcher)
Game Shows: Reality shows that are based on games.
Examples: Who wants to be a Millionaire?" Hollywood Blocks, Weakest Link
Talent Hunts: Reality shows that are looking for talented people be it singers, dancers or even actors.
Example: American Idol, America’s Got Talent, Star Search
Job-hunts: Shows that are synonymous with live on air interviews are listed under this category.
Example: The Apprentice, On the Lot (Directors), Project Runway (For fashion Designers), The Runway (Tommy Hilfiger), Hell’s Kitchen (Chefs)
Makeovers: Reality shows with make over stories. Be it a personal makeover or a home make over, these shows are very popular with the audience.
Example: Monster House, What-not-to-wear, While You Were Out
Dating-Shows: Reality shows that gave a platform for dating men and women on air.
Example: For Love or For Money, Perfect Match New York
Social Experiments: A relatively new genre of reality television that involves interaction of distinct social groups.
Example: The Beauty and the Geek, Wife Swap, My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé.
Adventure/Fear based shows: A genre of TV shows that challenges the participants with difficult and weird tasks.
Example: Fear Factor, Who Dares Wins
Some reality shows provide artists a good platform to get noticed, some shows help people win money and fame but almost all of them keep the audience hooked on to the action and craving for more!
Some Popular Reality Shows
Allen Funt’s one of its kind reality show that targeted easy victims with wise pranks is legendary. Till date Candid Camera re-runs are fun to watch!
Donald Trump’s famous quote "You are fired", never fails to grab the audience attention. This one of its kind job interview on air is always packed with exciting tasks and rewards for the participants.
The American Idol
The hunt for America’s best singers with the three popular judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul has perhaps been one of the most popular shows in America.
The Simple Life
Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie definitely garnered a lot of attention with this reality show as they tried their hand at various professions.
The ultimate show that shocked the audience with horrendous tasks for its participants, and allowed them to face their worst night-mares and fears. Fear factor is known for its disgusting tasks that often involved eating bugs or worms.
The reality show that created ripples when Indian actress Shilpa Shetty accused fellow contestant Jade Goody of making racist remarks. The controversy generated made the show even more popular than it previously was.
Reality Shows on Indian Television
Studying the international television scenario, the Indian counterpart has promptly caught-up with the latest trends. Reality Television has arrived in India and is here to stay !
Reality shows in India date back to the Channel V’s talent hunt for making of a musical band. The band of girls called Viva that emerged from this show enjoyed short-lived popularity but marked the beginning of reality shows in India. Superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s Kaun Banega Crorepati, which was the Indian version of Who wants to be a Millionaire, was a major hit with the audience in India. What followed next was a flood of reality shows, many of them being adaptations of the pre-existing western versions.
Reality shows in India are a welcome break for many of the audience who were tired of cribbing about the Ekta Kapoor's saas-bahu series that were (and some of them still are) pre-dominant on Indian television. Indian Reality TV is however in its nascent stage and mostly includes desi-versions of the reality shows abroad. However these shows are enjoying tremendous popularity and will definitely give way to more innovative concepts on air.
Most Popular Reality Shows on Indian Television
No one can ever forget Cyrus Broacha’s grinning face and the confusion and bewilderment created amongst his victims. A wicked show with witty pranks followed by loads of laughter.
Kaun Banega Crorepati
Amitabh Bachchan’s stint on television that was perhaps the first reality show on Indian television to garner humongous audience response. The second season of the series was hosted by Shahrukh Khan but did not seem to fare just as well.
This show has been one of the most popular reality shows on Indian television and perhaps due to the voting factor. With boys next-door turning into ultimate singing sensations, this show already has completed three seasons.
Sa Re Ga Ma
What started as a humble talent show hosted by Sonu Nigam soon metamorphosed into an ultra-glam, uber-dramatic reality show with the various celebrity judges like Himesh Reshamiya, Alka Yagnik, Abhijeet and Ismail Darbar constantly at loggerheads with each other.
The Indian version of UK’s Big Brother was the most sensational and controversial reality show in India. Although long forgotten Actor Rahul Roy emerged as the winner, it was people like Anupama Verma, Aryan Vaid (due to their on-air love-affair) and Rakhi Sawant (due to her in-your-face attitude) who got instant recognition from this show.
The Great Indian Laughter Challenge
This hunt for India’s biggest comedian created a laughter riot on air with almost all its contestants enjoying tremendous popularity. Star Judges Shekhar Suman and Navjyot Singh Siddhu enjoyed great following too.
An original concept that involved celebrity couples trained by their choreographers battling against each other in an entertaining dance competition. The show has celebrity judges like Saroj Khan, Malaika Arora Khan, Farhan Akhtar, Kunal Kohli, David Dhawan, Isha Koppikar and Vaibhavi Merchant. The first season was extremely popular ans so was the second one, however the third season seems to be losing its charm.
This was the Indian version of the hit show Dancing With the Stars, which was also very popular. The first season had celebs like Mona Singh, Mahesh Manjrekar and Shweta Salve as participants and Farah Khan, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Shilpa Shetty on the judges panel. The show is currently in its second season with Shiamak Davar, Urmila Matondkar and Jeetendra on the judging panel whereas the participants include celebs like actress Sonali Kulkarni, anchor Mini Mathur and singer Mika.
Reality shows seem to be a huge trend on television, but anything that is popular has to bear the brunt of constant criticism and analysis. Controversies about these reality shows being 'planned and scripted' or the voting lines being a hoax continue to rise every now and then. Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction, they say! Well as for television, don’t be surprised or shocked as of yet…something far more real and far more strange might be on its way…till then...Enjoy Reality TV!
By Uttara Manohar