Have you seen Roadies, Bigg Boss, and KBC? Then you are probably familiar with Indian reality shows. Reality shows are television programs in which ordinary Indian citizens get to participate and entertain the audience with their creativity and talent. The controversy and mystery of reality shows in India are that viewers do not know if the show is scripted or genuine. This general confusion sets the scene for exploring the dark side of Indian reality shows.
Teardrops on Cue
One of the reasons people do not believe in Indian reality shows is the number of tears shed by judges, participants, and their families. When reality shows in India began in the 2000s, everyone felt that these were true stories of struggles and teared up. It resulted in high TRPs of reality shows. Since then, the saga of crying has continued on television. People have started questioning the tears’ genuineness and timing thanks to social media and internet exposure.
Poverty Representation in India
Why do people tear up? Because of the introduction of every contestant by a background story in these reality shows. Reality shows in India televise Short videos and pre-filmed interviews of contestants describing their daily struggles in India. Back then, it touched hearts, but soon it got exaggerated to the point that Indians began to question the honesty of these stories. Some accuse shows like Kaun Banega Crore Pati of creating false narratives of contestants’ background stories.
If you have watched shows like Bigg Boss, Splitsvilla, and Roadies, you might be familiar with scripted drama. The amount of controversial drama these shows bring with every season keeps increasing. These shows have often left the audience in a dilemma once in a while. The promos are edited and posted to boost the TRP charts. Contestants get remuneration for their appearance in reality shows. Few participants openly claimed in a few interviews that what happens inside differs from the televised clips, which are mostly edited. Do they cook and eat their food every day? Are the friendships and grudges real? Are the camera clips shown legit? No one knows.
Reality shows in India, especially Indian idols, have been blamed for having cooked up fake love stories to increase their TRPs. Aditya Narayan has also clarified in one incident about rumors of his and Neha Kakkar’s marriage that these were just TRP stunts. Approximately 14 couples are said to have broken up after Bigg Boss. Not only this, love stories between the show’s contestants are pre-planned and scripted. Many contestants who get into a relationship announce breakups as soon as they leave the show. Televised fake love stories for marketing and shipping mutuals have become quite common in Indian reality tv like Splitsvilla.
Is the Money Legit?
Many shows like KBC and Bigg Boss offer serious prize money to take home. In reality, 30% of the money is deducted from the total prize money for tax. Where does the money come from to offer serious prize money? There is no correct evidential answer to this. Sponsors are your best guess for this answer. In shows like Bigg Boss, contestants get remuneration daily to appear on the show.
Some viewers and critics have claimed that the winners of the reality tv are pre-decided, which means the competition and evaluation of the individual performance of the contestants is not genuine. From Indian Idol, India’s got talent, Roadies, Bigg Boss, and Splitsvilla, every reality show in India has a pre-decided winner. Before the finale, factors like popularity among the viewers and the depth of their background story pre-decide the winner. Even if some winners did deserve to take the prize money home, the fairness of their participation is still questionable.
Deaths of Contestants
Pratyusha Banerjee dated Rahul Raj Singh in the reality show Power Couple. They shared great on-screen chemistry. But off-screen, the relationship took a real toll on the actress that she died by suicide. Rakhi Ka Insaaf, another Indian reality show, led to the death of a 24-year-old man. The contestant was upset because the Rakhi Sawant made indecent remarks about him. It led to the contestant committing suicide. Siddharth Shukla died six months after winning the Bigg Boss 13 title due to cardiac arrest. Few other celebrities/contestants have also died in the past. The reasons for their death are not directly related to the reality shows. These shows are said to have taken a toll on their mental health.
Abuse on Reality Shows
Abuse of all forms can get very real, very quickly. Splitsvilla, silver-lined as an incredible, open-minded show, gets more vulgar with each new season. Romantic shots between contestants, although not enjoyed by the contestants, are often screened. Unwanted and unenjoyable romance is indirect abuse of the contestants. Raja Chaudhary is said to have assaulted his girlfriend, Shraddha Sharma. Shilpa Shetty received racial slurs and insults in Bigg Brother. Gauahar Khan was slapped during the finale of India’s Raw Star because she was wearing “inadequate” clothes. Many contestants tend to become violent in reality shows. They verbally and physically abuse contestants or judges. Some are said to be scripted for the sake of TRPs, while some are actual incidents. One thing you can take away from reality shows in India is ‘never trust anyone.’ Be it the contestants, judges, or makers of the shows. Do not get blindsided by the illusion of shipping your favorites or controversial grudges. The lies and facts of the Indian reality shows and their accuracy remain a mystery.