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Reality shows-India needs innovation not imitation

By Binu Paul, SiliconIndia   |   Saturday, 12 February 2011, 02:10 Hrs   |    11 Comments
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Reality shows-India needs innovation not imitation
Bangalore: India's not so real reality shows have a long history of imitating the western shows and are now marked by crass street language and violence. The fight for viewership has gone to such a level that the Indian television channels are ready to air any form of shows even at the cost of the culture and values of the nation. Hollywood B-grader Pamela Anderson's short term splash in Big Boss or the profanities and cuss words used by Rakhi Sawant in her show are just examples of this alarming trend.

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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Reader's comments(11)
1: Sunilkumar Shinde
SunC India...
Let me introduce one innovation in reality show which is not imitation.....
Posted by:Sunilkumar Shinde - 30 Jul, 2011
2: I think we still have some good innovation - we have made movies like Munna Bhai (haha) which are quite good.

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Posted by:jaya - 18 Feb, 2011
3: I remember, Antakshari was one reality show, which was truly Indian. In that program Annu Kapoor was marvellous and gave very entertaining, emotional and unforgettable episode. I hope that should be started again.
Posted by:Shekhar Gupta - 18 Feb, 2011
4: hmm u r right, but where there is innovation, there is no field in which they have innovation, everywhere Imitation....
all talented guys study in IIT and settle in USA... how u expect innovation in India...
Posted by:ravi - 16 Feb, 2011
5: An apt article to remind us of where we are heading to. First-of-all why are we Indians slowly becoming like Americans? In fashion, accent, lifestyle, culture, food etc? Aren't we supposed to be proud to be an Indian and stick to what our heritage is? Shame on the greedy media and all those greedy celebrities who shamelessly appear for such shows.

Btw, the Americans don't spit on the road, they follow strict traffic discipline and are courteous...why don't we imitate that?
Posted by:John Manoah - 13 Feb, 2011
6: Bollywood and now tollywood is thriving on imitations except for the pathetic soap opera's. It is shameful to see Shah Rukh Khan in Imagine a poor copy of Wipeout. Even the hosts including SRK are hopelessly moronic in their comments. The biggest moron of all is Javed Jaffery whose voice over of Takeshi's castle is most of the time full of slander,, his comments are no where near the Japanese commentator's version. We have become copy cats as we want to become millionaire overnight. The originality of Indians is not visible even in the new future. The latest joker is the host of -India's minute to win it-. The guy has nothing to yap about while there is no IPL. DD used to have really good shows which could be related to real life. Where have those guys gone.
Posted by:JB Padhi - 12 Feb, 2011
Ultimately it our fault also as we have increased their TRPs. Fact is Indian audience still watch these shows and there is a large section of people who likes it.
Arpit Replied to: JB Padhi - 12 Feb, 2011
You are right. Does imagination mean M-rs. Tendulkar- and other such infuriating serials like - life bina wife -. The thought behind it is sickening and the atmosphere at home goes up in smoke. The husbands work for 8 hours and travel for at least 2-3 hours so why should not they have a quite week end. Sick play writers, wonder whether even if they are educated at all.
JB Padhi Replied to: Arpit - 13 Feb, 2011
9: correct....it's time stop imitating west and create some original Indian based shows....there were shows like Surabhi, Ragoli..which were real and authentic have died out in today's shows which are mere scripted copies in the name of reality shows...and not natural at all...
Posted by:Abhi - 11 Feb, 2011
The best among them was HUM LOG where in everyone could relate their life to it. Today you find serials with huge bunglows, expensive cars, etc. which can't be related to our lives in anyway.
JB Padhi Replied to: Abhi - 13 Feb, 2011
totally... we had nukkad and dekh bhai dekh and many such shows as well.. times have changed..
sneha mehta Replied to: JB Padhi - 19 Feb, 2011