Simply Me

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I was reading this book a few months ago called 'Chart Throb' by Ben Elton. The book is about this guy who accepts a challenge from his almost-ex-wife that he makes the 'Prince of Wales' the final winner of the Chart Throb program. Basically 'Chart Throb' is the top music talent show. The idea is to get max TRPs for the program and in the end no one quite cares who wins, right? It’s all about getting the max people to watch and vote... Wrong... Calvin has a lot to lose if the Prince doesn't lose... namely half his wealth to the manipulative female whom he married... Calvin is no angel; you come to know as you read along... The whole book deals with his manipulations to make the Prince win...

...But this post isn't about the book... This is about how close it seems to the reality of the 'Reality' TV talent hunt shows...

The biggest example I thought of this was Ruprekha winning 'Fame Gurukul'... I mean may be I was one of the few people who thought she sang utterly crappy but then I honestly felt Rex deserved to win... But let’s keep my opinions aside... Javed Akhtar, one of the judges on the shows, would extol her to such heights; you would think she was a martyr... There was this episode when the two highest rated contestants had an opportunity to either chuck out one of the two remaining contestants or keep them both safe till the next episode... The other guy, I forget his name, decided to let both the others through... So did Ruprekha... You should have heard Mr. Akhtar go on and on and on about how great Ruprekha was by not chucking out the others... I mean get a grip, man... It was utterly absurd listen to him being so blatantly biased....

In more recent shows comes the Marathi 'Sa Re Ga Ma
Pa.' The judges kept praising one of the contestants to the skies during the last episode... I don't remember his name... The guy's voice was a typical folk singer's voice... he has that specific influence over any of the song he sings... Nothing particularly spectacular or bad... just not an all-rounder voice... I really have nothing against the guy to be honest... Today were the finals of the show... I didn't feel like watching... But last time they announced who was leading; he was the one who was leading among the guys...

Then there is 'Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar'... I wonder if Farah Khan has some vendetta against Himani... She wasn't the best singer in the last episode... Still the champions voted her as the best and she joined the champions... All three judges criticized for a whole 10 minutes after the votes were declared... And then when she finally sang, again she wasn't the best... Farah said she was sure that Himani wouldn't be able to sing... If there was any poetic justice at all, she said, Himani wouldn't sing well and that is what happened... Himani had made a deal with the champions to vote her, she said... Himani ended up weeping and saying she was not at fault... blah blah blah... I think the champions just voted for the worst of the three so that they would all be safe when the audience voted... That has seemed to be their strategy since they probably found out the power they had according to the game format... I mean last week they voted Amit Sana who has almost consistently been the weakest of the challengers considering he was really one of the most likely people to make it big after Abhijeet Sawant after Indian Idol 1...

I couldn't care less... What gets to me is the extent to which the judges go to build up a contestant they love or sabotage a contestant they hate... Very few people remember Ruprekha now... I am not sure where the 'Sa Re...' guy will end up... I am not even sure whether he won or not... Amit Sana will go back to oblivion as he did after he lost Indian Idol... Himani will definitely lose next week if the trend is anything to go by... she's the only girl left in the show and she had definitely performed way better in Sa Re Ga Ma... so she has a good chance to lose anyway...

Maybe winning and losing is a coincidence... However, I feel that when you are judging a reality TV show, you really should keep your personal feelings aside and judge on the basis of how well the contestant has performed.... But then... if there were no controversies, maybe people wouldn't watch them anyway...

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posted by Tejaswini Shenoy at 11:54 PM


Hi Tejaswini,
I agree with you here completely. I also used to hate the way farah khan would talk to contestants in Indian Idol 1. I mean you can express your dislike in a much decent way. I also liked other posts of yours.Especially the one about fear for love, commitment etc.
BTW This is Surashree. I was in your school..if u remember.. :-)

May 26, 2008 at 12:48 PM  

Reality shows.. how much real and how much scripted.. Only those people know..
and in the end - As you mentioned in the beginning- its all about TRP :-)

May 26, 2008 at 8:38 PM  

They care a damn, Tejaswini. I mean do you think they "judges" are really interested in searching for talent?? You think Channel wants new talents??I don't think so. As far as I have noticed, judges are just selling their popularity and channels want to increase their ratings by hook or by crook. How many times they sob/ cry, say it's their mother's dream/ Father's wish/ financial crisis?? where does all this come? I thought competition was about competing with others, presenting your positive point.

Last time I saw 'Jo jeeta'... everyone else was praising/ talking something about Farah's triplets and OSO. I def do not see any connection betwn these stuff. First of all tell me what Farah is doing in a singing contest?? She has been critizing the contestants for the lack of X factor. That's all I've heard her blabble about, whether in Indian Idol or this jo jeeta...

The show that I used to see w/o fail was SA re gA ma children special. It wasn't completely devoid of controversies (Anamika wanting to quit/ other guy's dad calling the voting unfair. et al)But atleast Sonu Nigam and Suresh Wadkar never fought and I thought that they were really guiding the children.

Every channel has it's talent hunt. And we think they are in serious need of talent. Ever heard of Abhijeet Sawant sing a Bollywood track thats been a chartbuster?? Others perform locally and they are happy. Where's Quazi Tauqeer? Aditi Paul? 2 months after the contest and you are scanning your brain to place the guy when u hear his name.

Further more, yes! I too think that the judges are biased. Of course, I can't claim to know a great deal about music like they do. But one can see the stark difference of the way they "guide" one participant from the other.

Take my word, swith your channel to NDTV good times/ Travel n Living... they have some wonderful programs all free of drama.


May 29, 2008 at 7:33 PM  

Well, sometimes i feel as if everything is scripted but sometimes when I see the contestants at their wits end just standing there in front of a million people and digesting all the crap the judges have to throw at them and letting their ego drain looks as if it is not a way the channel and the judges are sealing of their future and losing their popularity..


May 30, 2008 at 1:04 AM  

@Surashree: Its not just Farah you know... The whole idea of these shows is trying to find controversies... Had you seen Sa Re Ga Ma on Zee? The Himesh and Asha Bhonsle controversy? Controversies are all that brings the show TRPs...

@Aparna: I am not sure whether these shows are scripted or not... But half the time, it seems like either of the judges keeps promoting his/her own music or movie or whatever...

@Purnima: What Farah is doing in the show is beyond me too... But I remember an interview she had given before 'Jo Jeeta...' Her comment was, 'Most people wonder what I am doing judging a Music talent hunt... This causes controversies' I don't remeber the rest but I think I remember the gist was, controversies make good telly... And you are correct.. her comments are usually... 'Sur thode idhar udhar hue... par tumhari performance mindblowing thi..' And then she gives 9 or 10... I mean is the show about performing and loking good singing or actually sounding good and doing justice to the songs????

@Ajan: As I sed, I doubt the entire show is generally scripted, but I think, they decide who needs to be eliminated and then really keep hammering the contestant till they breakdown and brainwash the audience into NOT voting for the contestant...
**Thanks for the comment... Me lovez the look too ;)**

June 1, 2008 at 11:16 PM  

OH MY GAAAAD... HAWWWWT new blog page design(are they called page designs?)
How do you do it? I cant get past that vanilla version of mine and I'm BORED of it!
Btw, my email id is Lemme know how you do it:)

June 2, 2008 at 9:06 PM  

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