Do you want to take revenge on your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, convince your parents about your love relationship, or shout abuses at people? Call up a TV channel (MTV, UTV Bindass or Channel V, in particular) and you may be the star of a reality show!
Yelling, pulling each other’s hair about trivial issues, silly arguments, public displays of emotion, and manipulative thoughts, are the nitty-gritty of many of India’s reality TV shows. A significant part of MTV Roadies, Dare to Date, Axe Your Ex, and Emotional Atyachaar episodes contain beep sounds that block “innovative” and “out-of-the-box” abuses!! These are the basic ingredients that go into the making of most (so-called) prime-time, reality, shows and an even bigger mockery of Indian Youth!
After the huge success of Indian Idol in 2004 and Roadies in 2005, Indian reality television has made it big and most of its programs target the youth. From how to flirt, to how to axe you former lover, a plethora of shows are up and blaring on TV for the entire nation to watch (and raise eyebrows perhaps).
What’s startling amidst all of this interesting drama is the routine stereotyping of youngsters as violent, loud, obnoxious, and unethical individuals! A completely misleading portrayal of Indian youth, don’t you think? It’s not common to see every other youngster slapping others, shouting lewd abuses, engaging in physical scuffles and doing things that are (ahem) not worthy to be written of! If you think we are exaggerating, you have not watched “popular” TV shows like Emotional Aatyachar, Roadies, Dadagiri, Dare 2 Date, Splits Villa, Love Net, Supestud and Love Kiya Toh Darna Kya!
Here are a couple of upsetting clips from these shows:
Soon, you begin to wonder if it’s all part of a larger campaign to malign the image of Indian youth! We seem to live in a world of twisted realties. Judges, hosts, and participants all get together to put up the grand reality ‘Drama’ (remember we Indians are known for it :p )! Industry insiders and participants say that every program, and every single action of each participant is planned or adjusted for riveting footage. What’s more, it is then carefully edited to create the “best entertainment” value for us. A slap on our face and we have accepted it with a big cheerful smile!
What’s alarming is that the huge commercial success of these shows is attributed to the money earned from viewer votes (thanks to mobile network collaborations) than to the advertising moolah!!
Now think of where all this is leading to – a generation that is self-obsessed with appearance, fame, and money! It is undisputed that the actions of most reality shows influence the views, actions, and desires of viewers. Studies show that as more children watch violence, they become less sensitive and thus create insecurities for themselves.
Why then do youngsters queue up in large numbers to audition for reality TV? Most end up taking part only to ‘experience’ thrill and excitement. Instant fame and money are an added bonus (The fact that they fizzle out after the show is a sad irony in itself)!!
Ever wondered why we don’t have a regulatory body for television like the Censor Board for films? You see, TV reaches a much larger audience and has a greater impact than any other entertainment medium! The government will NOT take action until a controversial ‘reality show scam’ maligns Indian television.
Isn’t Rahul Gandhi now free (rather jobless) after the debacle at UP polls? Why not approach the ‘Youth Icon’ and give him a chance to take up the cause of bad youth portrayal on Indian television? What say folks?