Mumbai: Call it the short cut to fame or a money making gimmick – reality TV took India by storm in 2006 and by the looks of it, it is here to stay. But what is it that makes reality TV so luring?
Limelight has a strong lure - those who want it don't mind the costs. And now with reality shows, many have tasted the fruit of instant celebrity. Be it Abhijeet Sawant of Indian Idol, Qazi Touqeer of Fame Gurukul or Sunil Pal of The Great Indian Laughter Challenge – all share the common saga of nobody-to-somebody-special just in a flash.
But it's not the first-time stars who hunger for recognition. Despite the tears, even actor Shilpa Shetty will agree that this is perhaps the highest her popularity has soared.
Looking back, last year clearly belonged to reality TV. Whether it was Nach Baliye 2 or Jhalak Dikhla Jaa, viewers were in tune with the talent-hunts that went beyond talent and into the insecurities of the contestants.
Sony's Bigg Boss seemed to take this test of nerves to another level.
The Indian viewer, who earlier rejected shows like Kamzor Kadi Kaun because it was rude, is now lapping up the nastiness of the Bigg Boss contestants.
The smiles and tears, the fulfillment or rejection of the aspirations of everyone on the small screen is now the main means of mass entertainment on the Indian tube. And even celebrities who are otherwise guarded about their private lives think this is acceptable.
"It was an innocent bond (between Aryan and Anupama). I was aware of what was happening. In fact Anupama’s company kept my sanity intact in Bigg Boss,” says model Aryan Vaid.
Controversy partners reality TV, whether it was the much-talked about 'walking out' of the three judges of Indian Idol last year or the controversy arising out of SMSes in Nach Baliye 2 and more recently Shilpa Shetty's brush with racism on Big Brother.
However, TV analysts insist that such things are normal.
"You put people in one room and there is bound to be drama,” CEO, indiantelevision.com, Anil Wanvari explains.
Whether the proceedings on reality shows are scripted or not is debatable but what cannot be denied is that any news seems to be good news in the voyeuristic world of reality TV.