Sunday, July 26, 2009

Reality TV faces its Sach Kaa Saamna

Samajwadi Party MP Kamal Akhtar has got it all wrong when he says reality TV promotes obscenity and family values. The typical beeped cuss words that we hear in reality shows are something that we all have grown up with. There is no Indian who has not heard colorful language. So the question of bad words used is totally uncalled for; it is a part of our culture too. Has Mr. Akhtar not heard about bawdy, boisterous songs sung in full public in north Indian weddings? That is also a part of our culture. Let’s face it; we are talking reality elevision, so you cannot have the participants being la-di-dah and using poetic language. That does not happen in reality, does it?

Moral policing is not required. If at all, you feel some content is objectionable, switch off the television; it is as simple as that. Do not care about how it will affect other people; they are smart enough to mind their own business. The youth is finally returning to television. Believe it or not, the youth bade bye to television long ago from the time Nukkad, Buniyaad and Hum Log went off the air. These were shows of real people that connected with everyone. With the deluge of saas-bahu serials, the youth went back to movies which had something to look forward too. Thankfully, for the first time in 20 years, television has made movies look regressive.

It is not the question of vulgarity; it is the question of quality content in your programs. Saas-bahu serials were plain stupid, with women wearing expensive sarees to bed, having their second husband resurrected thanks to dropping TRPs and melodrama that would put many to bed early. Okay, we credit them with the last bit; they did promote a good habit.

Smita Mathai whose reference is taken up by Kamal Akhtar, when citing about denigrating family values through reality shows; has herself said that her family had been fully aware of her emotions and have supported her. Since she said nothing wrong has happened between her husband and her, why are we so concerned? We are concerned because as a nation we are voyeuristic. Reality has always turned India on. Movies like Satya, A Wednesday, Shoot out at Lokhandwala and Mumbai Meri Jaan have clicked because we identify with reality.

Reality television has given people so much fame and recognition that many secretly vie for. People like Sambhavana Seth, Raja Chaudhary, Marc Robinson, Ishq Bector become so much popular after Big Boss and Iss Jungle se Mujhe Bachao. Guys like Nauman Sait, Ashutosh Kaushik and Alina Wadiwala are now household names. People like Ranvijay and Palak have come from nowhere and are now doing movies. Reality shows have made people carve their own niche and become popular. Rakhi ka Swayamvar, the show which everyone has something to comment, on has more than 5000 fans on Facebook.

It is sad that politicians target reality shows when a fact is that someone from their clan, a politician like Sanjay Nirupam received so much popularity, support and love after he appeared in Big Boss. Not many know that the concept of reality show was started by the sacred daddy of all channels, Doordarshan, when it would telecast live parliament proceeding 15 years ago in the morning from 8:30 to 9 every morning. That one had MPs behaving in the most uncouth manner, swearing and insulting mercilessly.


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