If you are fan of reality TV or not, you can not escape it these days. Almost all television channels depend completely on reality TV. Despite all of these shows people are taken far away from reality but that is another point. May be some other day.
I have been keenly following some of the music competitions for quite some time now. Earlier it was Hindi Saregama which then turned into Saregamapa. I lost interest the day my dear Sonu Nigam left that show. Shaan did a decent job after couple of other hosts but it really did not get my eye balls like earlier. I followed Indian Idol for few episodes and I am sure you all must be following some such show or other. My top favorite these days is Zee Marathi Saregamapa Little Champs and it is but obvious from all my previous posts. What I have observed in the last so many seasons of this program and like wise other programs is that now the times have changed so much that if you are from a well to do family, have got good upbringing, you are well natured, well cultured in short you have the best one can ask for in life, you should not participate in reality television. They will not only hate you, they will hide that hate, they will praise you to begin with because they cannot ignore you but finally they will dump you like trash. Also remember, if you are not one of these and you win, you become part of the creamy layer and then they will dump you.
Now to support my arguments just have a look at these examples: 1. Zee Marathi Saregamapa season 1 – Anagha Dhomse had a personal tragedy. She show courage to stand up to that and I really appreciate it. But was she really the best of the lot? I still feel that Anandi Joshi was really good. But she was consistently hammered by the judges. Same may be case with Mangesh Borgaonkar 2. Saregamapa’s last season – Sayali Panse and Sayali Oak both got lower numbers to some extent due to their good background. 3. In current Little champs, Shalmali, Arya, Prathamesh are getting hit because of their background. Prathamesh is not really hit that hard but Arya is definitely. Kartiki is getting promoted to some extent because of her background. Same is case with Rohit Raut.
I definitely *do not* want to say that the fault lies with the contestants. They are really great talent and they are putting their best foot forward. I have not seen any of the contestants in Zee Marathi taking advantage of their background yet. May be there are some persons spending on the SMSes to promote the non deserving but then that is what is the point. The situation in Hindi is far worse. I have recently started following Hindi Saregamapa once again primarily because of Vaishali and Shankar Mahadevan. To my surprise, I found the story of Vaishali, her husbands illness and her tearful eyes all being used to promote the serial. In earlier days these were part of the media news and gossip but today it has become part of the mainstream event. I am not sure if all this was done purposefully or is it real. But how come every show has such story? It is no longer just the music competition. You have to compete on your background, your family, your emotions. In short it has to be a complete competition. What is the reason for Asma Mohd. Rafi to be in Hindi Saregamapa? She is a complete package of entertainment. Who cares about how well she sings? She is from a gulf country, she is from minority community in India, she makes you laugh, she has fought with her mother to participate in this competition, she can also sing without being ashamed of her bad sur and still has will to be in the competition. What more masala you want for a reality TV?
I don’t have to really write about how SMS and the commerce around it has changed the television industry. Ample has been written and will be written and nothing will change till people get sick of sending SMS and stop sending them. What hurts me more is that there is no place for a person with smooth life who has equal will power, has taken equal effort and has equal talent to survive in this situation. I am not able to forget the expression on Arya Ambekar’s face when one after the other, Suresh Wadkar, Vaishali and Avadhoot started dissection of her beautifully sung “Jahalya kahi chuka” [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oDfvjYme7A&hl=en&fs=1]May be she was half note high, may be she was little fast but she did not lose control of that song even a bit. I never felt what Suresh Wadkar felt while I was listening. For her age she is just too good. I have been to my daughter’s annual social and I just could not stop appreciating these little champs (All of them and not just Arya) after I heard the school’s best talent singing. Not that the school children were bad but these little champs are ALL OF THEM are well ahead of the crowd. When you have gone miles ahead and only one of you gets beating for not doing that last one centimeter of the 100 meter race, I feel that it is unjust to do it in public. They could have done it after the show. I also feel same was the case with Prathamesh as well but not as serious as Arya.
Now the question is should I vote for Arya or not? If I will, I am paying the telcom company and not sure if the channel really cares about it. If I don’t I am not supporting my favorite little princess sent by God. What are you doing? Do we have enough evidence to trust Zee Marathi? I don’t have it for any other Hindi channel at all but being from my Marathi culture, I would like all Marathi channels to build that trust that they are driven by principles and not by money. If they care about our votes, they should care about our emotions too isn’t it. They are not like politicians… or are they??? I am confused…