The reality of Superstars..


Amitabh Bachchan can be credited with creating a revolution of sorts for reality television in India when he appeared in the KBC series ( format from the successful “Who wants to be a millionaire?” ) on Star plus in 2001. At that time, Amitabh Bachchan had broken all norms and went on to pair with Star TV to create a show that would stop the country every weeknight. Post KBC, the power of the small screen was better understood by those who were wanting to maximize their reach in every nook and corner of the country. From TV channels, to sponsors and the film stars themselves. Most parties were cashing in on sky rocketing TRP’s and laughing their way to the bank. I think they all laughed until 2005 or thereabouts. By then, every channel had a reality show, if not in multiples from singing, to dancing , to daring , to quizzing to the bizarre. Reality TV was not limited to superstars alone, anyone could join the bandwagon and they all did. Reality TV had slowly but surely become a yawn. Successful formats of the west were squeezed and dried over and over in various regional languages. Brand valuation of stars previously limited to hits and endorsements now had another parameter, a very real one.

We are now post four years after the first official dip in the graph of popularity of reality TV but big stars are still at the helm. Reality TV continues to steadily lose its popularity and some shows have become sleazy, weird and outrageous. Reality tv has to be realistic? But how realistic is the fact that the stars are actually the most erudite lot, smirking at the wrong answers , passing judgement on situations that they have no experience in or uncharacteristically synchronizing themselves in order to appear so in touch with reality! I blame some of the bizarre concepts that have been developed by the creators of the show with no motive other than to create sensationalism. Various permutations and combinations were tried, most failed and then somebody somewhere down the line realized that the best way to win the TRP game is by making an unreal aspect real. This is why we have couples marrying on TV and a dozen mad hatters living in a house.It works to some extent. Abuse which is both verbal and physical is not censored, in fact they become the selling points for the show and in contrast we have stars pitching morals or trying to enlighten participants in a sugary sweet manner.

Two things now sell in reality TV, sensationalism and a “superstar” endorsing it, they go hand in hand. No one is really excited to see the run of the mill film stars judging song and dance shows anymore, the viewers want to still see the “superstars”, that elite lot who do not appear on any mundane “naach gana” show to pass a verdict put get paid a couple of crores per episode to jump up and down or break into a dance in the middle of a game show. Viewers want to see their “superstar” sit on a pristine white leather couch to evaluate the moral values of mediocre contestants who never had any in the first place. The fifth standard quiz show which one “superstar” tried unfortunately did not click, because it was not sensational, after all no kid in the quiz game hurled a duster at the teacher! If they did,  the show would have gone on.

There will come a time when superstars will lose their midas touch on the small screen. The TV audience are a different breed, they get bored in haste unlike the seasoned cinema goer. The TV audience have no sense of loyalty, they can flick a superstar off with a click on their remote.I for one would like to see the superstars back to where they belong and realistically create some magic and realistically get some hits!

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16 Responses to “The reality of Superstars..”

  1. […] Read the rest from HERE […]

  2. Dear Sharmila,

    Your observation is absolutely correct. With your permission I would like to add that reality tv means readymade content for the channel, sensational and voyeuristic material for the viewer and big bucks for the superstar. So everybody is happy and content.

  3. Dr.Vikas Kathuria Says:

    Hi Sharmila,your’s is astute observation.At the outset everything sells endorsed by a celebrity of value on the television as it has the widest possible coverage. the content if unreal but sensationalised sells and the TRP swells.AB has truly created history in television and pushed all to follow his footsteps, it was the need of the hour for him ,others follow him blindly but where do they land…ha..ha BB3 content wise is crap but even i wish to see when AB visits..that’s the closest example i can relate….look at Tiger woods now his popularity is 50 percent down and so is GOLF and the products…

    • Dr Vikas – thank you for your comment. yes, AB was the trend setter here.KBC was a very classy program which engaged all the viewers despite the age groups and plus there was good content. BB3 is not appropriate in my humble opinion for somebody of his stature. And yes, Tiger Woods is stuck pretty bad!

  4. big boss 3 is going hit just because of amitabh power.

  5. Hi Sharmila,instead of astute i meant appropriate in my comment above.apologies for that.

  6. Anand Khare Says:

    As commented earlier on BigB blog, It is really difficult to tolerate reality games like Big Boss on TV. I don’t know what is the logic of the game and what qualities winner is supposed to have over other participants.

    You are absolutely correct that if super stars like AB and SRK continue with shows like Big Boss and kua aap… their charisma will take a dent.

    As of now Indian TV is carrying all types of bad contents that include all current soaps on STAR,Zee,colours etc. NDTV imagine has got some real worst stuff like Pichchale janm ka raaz and one with the rakhi sawant. I dont know what values or knowledge or training they want to give to younger generation.No social responsibility.

    The only good channel which show select movies and light entertainment is SAB Tv. Kudos to them for standing differently in this crowd. And you will be surprised that they dont have any celebrity containg show on their channel.

    • Anand – Thank you for your comment and good to see you here. Yes, content in most channels has hit rock bottom with the exception of very few. The best reality shows are now on National Geographic, Discovery and History which I tend to watch more. The animal kingdom appears more realistic.

  7. Anand Khare Says:

    Yes, I agree but all these are international channels. i also enjoy them more often.

  8. masterpraz Says:

    brilliant piece here Sharmila..

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