The genre of ‘reality shows’ can be broadly divided into three main categories. In the first, the viewer and the camera are passive observers following people going about their daily personal and professional activities. This style of filming is often referred to as "fly on the wall". The famous 'Big Brother' series work on this concept.In the second type, hidden cameras are rolling when random passers-by encounter a staged situation. The reactions of the passers-by can be funny to watch, but they also reveal the truths about human conditioning. The very watchable MTV Bakra is an example of this category. In the third type, the so-called "reality game shows", participants are filmed intensively in an enclosed environment while competing to win a prize; Kaun Banega Crorepati being an example.
In India the success of Indian Idol marked the turning point of reality television. Abijeet sawant the winner of the Indian idol must be thanking the reality genre. The show that was a direct rip off from the American Idol has changed his personality, fortunes, address and bank balance. He's moved into a five-bedroom flat in posh Vile Parle and is an icon of sorts for millions of Indians. His album ‘Aapka Abijeet’ sold about 5 million copies. The album was pitted against Nigam's Chanda Kee Doli at the recent MTV Immies and won hands down in the best album category. The reach of Indian Idol was unbelievable.
When it comes to production costs these shows are a huge money guzzler Karun Prabhakar, director operations at Siddharth Basu-owned Synergy which produced KBC, says: "A reality show can cost above Rs 30 crore (Rs 300 million) - an amount a channel spends for a year of programming."
However, even a meticulously crafted financial plan can fall flat on its face if the creative concept goes wrong. A hugely successful KBC or an Indian Idol cannot rub off the failures of the Govinda-anchored Jeeto Chappar Phad Ke (Sony) and Madhuri Dixit’s much publicized matchmaking show Kahin na Kahin Koi Hay (Sony) from the small screen. So, caution is the key word for any new show.
For those who seek adventure there is the MTv Roadies 3 and those who think they are going to be the next super model of India there is Channel V get gorgeous 3. Phenomena of Reality TV has taken the Indians by a storm there are shows that test your intelligence, skill, humor aptitude, talent or merely your physique.
For so far, successful Indian reality-programming has been more or less only about recognising abilities — not about despicable, degraded voyeurism: cheating on partners (Temptation Island), betraying competitors (Survivor), hitching on to eligible millionaires (Joe Millionaire), swapping spouses (Wife Swap). This is the first stage of the life cycle of Indian reality genre as the audiences mature more formats of reality will finds its way into the tube.
Sources: Agencyfaqs, Amrita Sarkar SIMC