Reality shows-India needs innovation not imitation
By Binu Paul, SiliconIndia | Saturday, 12 February 2011, 02:10 Hrs | 11 Comments
The history of reality shows on Indian television is more or less a story of aping the western shows. From 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' which first appeared on India television in 2000 hosted by Amitabh Bachchan based on the British game show 'Who wants To Be a Millionaire', we saw a series of reality shows that are mere imitations of the western media shows. 'Indian Idol' started in 2004-2005, was an adaption of the Pop Idol format, a spin-offs of which is the American Idol. The Indian version of Big Brother was first aired in 2006 named as Big Boss of which the 4th season was ended in October 2010 that was hosted by Salman Khan. 'India's Got Talent' is the Indian franchise of the Got Talent series and was premiered on June 27, 2009, which is a cooperative effort between India's TV channel Colors and Britain's FremantleMedia. 'Iss Jungle Se Mujhe Bachao' is the Indian version of the popular British reality game show 'I'm a Celebrity..Get Me out of Here!' and was premiered in 2009 on Sony Entertainment Television. The Indian version of BBC's 'Baby Borrowers' was aired on NDTV Imagine named as 'Pati, Patni Aur Who' from 2009 while 'Sach Ka Saamna', the Indian version of the popular American reality show 'The Moment of Truth' was aired on STAR Plus. In 2010, Star Plus screened MasterChef India, an Indian competitive cooking game show based on the original British version of MasterChef. Latest in the series of western adaptation reality shows, 'Zor Ka Jhatka: Total Wipeout' inspired by the American reality show 'Wipeout' is being hosted by Shahrukh Khan and is aired on NDTV Imagine. It is rumored that Simon Cowell will be the judge in the Indian version of 'X-Factor' that is going to be aired by Sony TV which will also bring the popular UK TV show 'Wife Swap' to India very soon.
The increased number of reality shows and their stiff competition reached to a point where the court had to intervene and ban the telecast of such shows during the prime time. This incident worked as popularity building method for shows like the Big Boss which went to the Bombay High Court and brought back its prime time slot for the telecast. The Indian reality shows depend largely on controversies for popularity than its real spirit or authenticity. Sara Khan - Ali Merchant wedding in Big Boss or suicide of a former participant of Rakhi Sawant's 'Rakhi ka Insaaf' are examples for this. The reality shows thus sells and cash on adultery, violence, sex and fraud which by and large hurt the Indian sensibilities.
How long shall we imitate the Western shows? Art ceases to be enjoyable when creativity dies. What we need is more shows thought, created and produced from an Indian perspective than borrowing ideas from the Western world whose culture and tastes are entirely different from ours. Reality shows based on fresh ideas can get away from the grit of popular criticism, so let there be more innovations and not imitations in our television shows.
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