REALITY SHOWS IN INDIA: Love It or Hate It, But You Just Can’t Ignore It

Posted on August 25, 2009 in Society

Anshul Tewari

Yesterday evening while surfing the various TV channels I came across this show on Sony Television. The show had a group of young men and women who were made to stay in a jungle and perform various tasks for their survival there. The show had TV actors and prominent faces screaming and shouting at each other, crying and calling each other names. The amount of fight that was shown irritated me to the core and I was forced to change the channel. A few weeks ago, another reality TV show, Rakhi Ka Swayamvar, was finding a groom for the much popular Rakhi Sawant. Although the rumor that the show was nothing less than scripted had spread like fire, it managed to gain the highest TRP’s when it was running. Not to forget, shows like Roadies, Splitsvilla, and Big Boss have created controversies and have also led to the participants gaining a bad name from the audience.

There has been much debate about reality TV shows and whether they are ethical or not, but no one has been able to completely justify themselves. As the television reaches its new era and reality is in demand, people are creating scripted shows and calling it reality.

The main debate about them being ethically correct still goes on. When an actor is invited for a reality show, he/she has just two things in mind, one is publicity and the other is money. These compelling factors often force the contestants to behave in an unusual way, most of it not being a part of their regular life. They abuse others, chuck all their self respect and go to any limits to fulfill their personal goal. A controversy which created headlines and was much talked about amongst the youth was the one related to Splitsvilla contestants. It was alleged that the contestants made their way through the show by having physical contacts, preferably of a sexual nature with the producers and the crew members of the show. Such controversies, even though not 100 percent true, play their role in diminishing the image of the participant.

As far as the TV stars and known faces are concerned, a single controversy is a big hit to their careers. Their unethical behavior symbolizes two things; one, they usually behave like this in real life as well, and two, it is cool to behave like this and talk in the same lingo. These (mis)conceptions also tarnish the image of the actor and might also keep his job at stake.

But how shall we stop the flood of reality shows? How shall we stop the brimming talent shows and what not? These shows and the behavior of such people on the national screen tend to affect us in some way or the other. Either by leaving an impact or a thread which we tend to follow, or by making us feel that this is what everyone is like. All this, no matter how false it might sound, has the power to convert a person completely. I firmly believe that these shows must be regulated if not banned, and there must be a restriction on the use of words. It must be made mandatory to take an undertaking by the contestants saying that “I will not harm anyone’s personal domain, no matter what.”

So what do you think about reality TV. Is it ethical or not? Post a comment below or mail us at You can also tweet us at @YouthKiAwaaz.