I have never been into reality shows. Well, except AXN's Who Dares Wins, years ago. And a couple of episodes of David Blaine: Street Magic. There's this huge number of them burgeoning left, right and centre and I generally cannot stand the incessant amount of overly dramatic acts that they put up, just to keep their audience hooked.
But you know what their USP is? They create enough emotional drama to cause even people like me, who actually think that it's all humbug, to be emotionally involved with the show. As I have recently come to discover.
These days, my mom is completely hooked on to Indian Idol because one of the contestants used to be her student. (No, she does not teach music. Never did. She taught him English, just like a million other students and two of her own kids.) Now, since there's not much else I feel like doing around the house in the evenings, two evenings a week, I end up plopping down in front of the TV with her, and often with the rest of the family as well. And guess what? I cheer when one of the contestants I like sings well. I feel disgusted when one of those I don't like doesn't sing well. I feel even more disgusted when the audience votes for him, in spite of his totally off-key performance. People seem to vote for contestants based on their region, their gender, or other such irrelevant factors. It really puts me off. And then, one of the more deserving contestants has to be eliminated. Only twice did I watch these episodes where they announce which one of the contestants was not going to go to the next round. On both occasions, I felt that the girl did not perform all that well in the immediately preceding round, but has been doing really well, persistently, and there were others who did a lot worse than her in that particular round, and she did not deserve to be eliminated. Oh, and if you noticed, I used the pronouns in the feminine gender, because the audience seems to like throwing out the girls. In today's show, the hosts were talking about how it has always been so at Indian Idol. The audience has never voted strongly enough in favour of the girls.
Okay, I don't want to digress and launch into a feminist discourse over here. All I really wanted to say was that I wish reality shows were more real. Like Who Dares Wins used to be. That they showed things just as they are, without adding superfluous elements of drama, emotion, and suspense. Don't we get enough of all that stuff from our movies? And oh, from Ekta Kapoor?