New Delhi: How much of Reality Television is real? How real are those tears of disappointment and frustrated catfights? Is the popular process of voting for your favourite contestant completely credible?
Einstein rightly said ‘Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.’
"They manipulate emotions and the actor knows. The louder they are, the better it appears, even if they are hated or loved. Play up when the camera is up. I have been told so many times to be a little sad or be a little emotional. How can I be sad if it's a reality show? The paradox is unbelievable,” says Actor/ VJ, Cyrus Broacha.
When it's a game driven by TRPs, there's nothing stopping producers from manufacturing the real.
Actress and dancer Sudha Chandran's abrupt exit from the sets of Jhalak Dikh La Ja despite her popularity did raise a few eyebrows.
"I don't know how she was judged out and someone who could not dance was kept on the show. Sometimes I think if it was popularity then have a popular person dance and everyone will vote for him whether they are good or not. It is dumb,” says choreographer, Shiamak Davar.
“I think judges should be given 65 per cent voting authority. We are professionals. On television, you cannot see everything because they cut and chop and all that. We are there and we can see everything that is happening there. They should leave something to the professionals,” says Shiamak.
"Any intelligent producer will map out a story," says Albert Almeida, Executive VP - SET India.
Allegations of rigging are not new to reality shows, however it's not just the results that can be 'adjusted'.
"They have to create drama. They want to increase TRPs. When I was in Indian Idol with Amit, my interview was taken with Amit. However, when they edited it, it sounded like we were at loggerheads with each other,” says a participant of the Reality Show.
However, Albert Almeida says, “You can inject spice but you cannot script it.”
"When I was at Indian Idol, we reached Mumbai and we were taken to a 7-star hotel and told to behave like we have never seen such a hotel because we are from Bihar,” says Reaality show participant, Rashmi Pandey.
“It should be about music,” adds Rashmi.
"When I participated in Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, the judges liked the way I sang. However, I was kept out despite having been selected. When I approached them for an explanation, I heard Gajendra say this in front of me, ‘This state does not get TRPs’," adds Rashmi.
"These are false allegations. If you are mediocre, we don't have the time to listen to you. If you are not selected, then anyone can put in all kinds of allegations," says Director, Sai Baba Telefilms, Gajendra Singh.
"We know that life is not fair and reality shows are not fair as well," says CEO, Miditech, Nikhil Alva.
While there is concern about overkill, that is certainly not keeping away the minds behind reality TV in India.
"But Reality TV is not going anywhere. It is here to stay," says Senior Supervising Producer, MTV, Raghuram.