Exposing the Reality of ‘Reality Shows’

Most Reality TV shows today hamper the society’s culture and atmosphere rather than doing something constructive. These reality shows have crossed all boundaries and have broken all rules of indecency, immorality and shamefulness. They fight like dogs, just to win the event. We need also to remember, in this context, that ‘children learn what they see and do what they learn,’ writes SYED KAZIM.


In recent times there has been a steady increase in the number of reality shows, mainly due to the inspiration from the western world. The current reality shows are crossing all boundaries of indecency and immodesty. Where has our morality disappeared? Where has our culture vanished? What is the objective of these reality shows? Why have these reality shows increased such drastically? Who is sponsoring them? Can any one answer these questions for me?

I used to think that nothing worse could happen to the small screen other than the “Saas Bahu” soaps, where extra-marital affairs, household politics and fights between family members were a part and parcel of it. But the current reality shows have proved me wrong. And most of these reality shows are adaptations of the pre-existing western versions. Most of the shows just exhibit nudity in the name of reality shows.

Today, our television channels are crowded with reality shows. Any channel you tune into, at some time or the other you are bound to bump into some reality show. Some are based on singing, some are about dancing, some are based on dating, some are based on chatting, some are based on stripping, some are based on girls’ night out, some are based on staying together and anything under the sun – today’s reality shows have it all. Most of these reality shows are designed is such a way that they promote premarital relationship and sex.

Most of the reality shows are based on topics that have no thought process or concepts. The audience thus gets hooked on to TV shows, which do not really have any intelligent concept. For example, Reality TV often highlights constant fights, disagreements, immoral talks, use of abusive language between a group and even telecasts certain moments not suitable for viewing for a family audience. Reality shows like Sach ka Samna, Big Boss, MTV Roadies, Crunch, Chat House, etc, hamper the society’s culture and atmosphere rather than doing something constructive. These reality shows have crossed all boundaries and have broken all rules of indecency, immorality & shamefulness. They fight like dogs, just to win the event. We need to remember that, “Childrens learn what they see and they do what they learn.”

Many TV channels, programs and shows have also adopted many strategies to increase their TRP, the best and the easiest strategy is to fill the show with lots and lots of obscenity and the crowd will automatically follow. And the best part of these reality shows is they also keep the audience completely involved by asking them to vote and making them a party of the obscenity and indecency taking place. Most of the programs which are aired on television showcase such high rate of immodesty, indecency and vulgarity that it becomes highly impossible for a decent family to sit together and watch. Granted that we are human beings and we need entertainment, the million dollar question is this: can’t we have good entertainment without any obscenity in it?

Of late, MTV has put a greater focus on reality shows, which makes one wonder of it being called as Music Television or ‘Masala Television’. It is MTV which has taken the lead role in producing and promoting various kinds of reality shows. It has come out with a series of reality shows such as Roadies, Rock On, Style Check, Fanta Fantastic Five, Kickass Mornings, Wassup, What the Hack!, Splitsvilla, Stuntmania, Nuon Making The Cut, Gone In 60 Seconds, Stripped, Why So Cyrus?, One Short Plot, VJ Hunt, Girls Night Out, Pyaar Vyaar & All That, Crunch, True life and the latest one, Chat House. What are we trying to achieve through these shows?

Let me speak about one of MTV’s reality show which has landed up in controversies, ‘MTV Splitsvilla’. It is an Indian television reality show that airs on MTV India. Splitsvilla is one of its kind, “hunt-for-love show”. The series is based on the American dating reality show ‘Flavor of Love’. Two boys, find the ultimate girl of their dreams by choosing from 20 girls by putting them through grueling “tests”. The girls battle stress, politics, exhaustion, fear, bitchiness and bad television to be the chosen one and avoid humiliation of getting dumped. The girl who has been dumped will leave the show and move back to her home.

A month after the second season of Splitsvilla ended, some of the contestants claimed that the show’s crew members had engaged in sexual acts with other contestants. Swaagata G Shah, a contestant from Season 2, claimed in a tabloid that there were exchanges of sexual favors between contestants and important people of the production team, including anchor Nikhil Chinappa, to get undue advantages in the contest. Later, contestants Varun Jhamb and Nalini Negi who had been eliminated early on in the show, alleged that ‘some crew members, including the director, had slept in the same room as top contender Joanna Magee, and others engaged in sexual favours, especially towards the end.’

In April 2011, MTV Roadies’ maker Raghu Ram, Rajeev and Rannvijay got a shock of their life when their faces were blackened by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists in Pune. “We sharply protest the foul language used by Raghu on his show MTV Roadies. He is a bad influence on the youth. He is trying to attract the young people, but the youth of this country will only face degradation if they follow people like him. Small children too cannot be stopped from watching objectionable shows,” members of ABVP said in their statement.

The reality show ‘Sach ka Samna’ is another imitation of the west, which is based on America’s ‘The Moment of Truth’. And the best part of it is that Indian courts have suddenly become liberal and have not permitted any action against the show. It is a show where people confess about their sex lives, their marital discords, and their misdemeanors. In fact, these are highly personal and private matters, but they are not matters of public morality. Even people with a decent level of morality hesitate to ask such type of questions to others even in private but this show does it in front of the live audience and also airs it on the television in the name of entertainment and freedom of expression. The show-makers must know what impact they create when they air such a show. The channel owners must be held accountable for their act of omissions and commissions.

Why don’t we use our brains and think of something innovative and creative rather than just imitating and copying what the west does? Why don’t we make programs/shows which give us entertainment and help us build a stronger nation as well?

It is not only MTV that is promoting this popular culture. Reality shows like Rakhi ka Swayamvar, Sach ka Samna, Big Boss, Iss Jungle Semujhe Bachao, etc, are also not behind. These reality shows are designed mainly targeting the youth. The language used, is sometimes not appropriate. Well, when they are making a show, TRP’s are most important and the makers of the program will do anything and everything in their power to make it most colorful and viewable as possible, irrespective of what they show on screen and message they send. They are only worried about filling their pockets. It is materialism and greediness which is leading people to indulge in such type of acts. Their objective is just one, increase TRP, TRP and TRP.

These shows are purely based on sexual exploitation of women. I just do not understand what signals are these shows sending? How is it benefiting the society, especially the youth who are their target audience? Can’t we have good entertainment without any sexual exploitation or without any skin showing? What is the youth learning after watching these shows? Today’s youth are growing up by watching these reality shows, but the million dollar question, what will be their reality in whose hands lies the future of the country? Now the remote is in your hand, what do you prefer? To watch these reality shows which have no sense or watch something useful and meaningful on television and make effective utilization of your time?

Let us remember that God has given us this life, let us use it carefully and constrictively doing something constructive and productive, rather than wasting our precious time and energy watching shows which will neither do us any good nor help us is any way. It is sheer waste of precious time.

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