On the other hand we also feel a sense of self pride when television puts ordinary boys like Abhijeet Sawant in the spotlight, changing their lives, careers, addresses and bank balances forever. Our eyes well up with tears whist watching a small town boy dreaming big and achieving it all despite the odds. Tales of Rags to riches, heroic deeds and heart wrenching stories never fail to move us.
Reality TV has obviously understood this contrast and has reeled out hours of entertainment that floods our television screens, taking up a huge chunk of our viewing time. There have been a zillion reality shows based on despicable, degraded voyeurism. Temptation Island was one such show where 14 couples who have vowed to each other to remain together till death do them apart. The stay on the island lasts longer than the vow.
In the name of reality television channels and shows get away with anything, there have been shows on cheating partners, swapping wives, betraying lovers, and one such show is Cheaters (its not telecast in India yet). Among the huge clutter this show definitely takes the cake. The show follows couples closely till their ugly separation, atleast that’s what the case is most of the times. It’s got every element of a bollywood flick – drama, action, comedy, emotion, and melodrama; it’s even got a villan. The only things missing are probably the typical song and dance sequences. The plot is quite simple, you let loose the cheaters team on your spouse. Cheaters with their hidden cameras monitor their every move. And bang! Guess whose bed you found him/her in? Anyone from his beer buddy, to his secretary. The footage is aired as it is; nothing is edited, right from the humiliation, the deceit, the sadness to the break up! Nothing is removed.
I refuse to accept this show as reality. Who, in their right mind would ever want the whole world to know they are being cheated? And how do we know this whole thing is not being staged. Who would want to watch such a show? Obviously I am wrong, much to my shock and surprise a lot of people watch the show with avid interest. The show has a strong viewership.
Watching cheaters is probably like watching a Saas Bahu saga where the drama unfolds slowly, the tension increases with every passing minute, we edge closer and closer to the seat until it all comes to a nail biting finale. We soak-in every detail and discuss it over the phone, in trains and across balconies.
The debate is endless for what is right or wrong, good or bad is extremely subjective. The censor board in India has been raging a war on what can be aired and what cannot be since time immemorial, and nothing really concrete has ever been churned out.
Is India ready to accept a concept like cheaters? I don’t know. The closest we have come to aping the west is with a show called Big Boss. It’s a replica of a UK based reality show Big Brother, the difference being, we have celebrities.
Only time will tell if we are willing to go any length in the name of entertainment. Until then I guess peeping and creeping can carry on, all in the name of good entertainment.