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True picture

A reality TV performer plays himself of herself in a television serial. It is usually a contest in which participants have to strategise and keep themselves in the show to win a grand prize.

education Updated: Feb 08, 2012 12:43 IST

The lowdown
A reality TV performer plays himself of herself in a television serial. It is usually a contest in which participants have to strategise and keep themselves in the show to win a grand prize. One or more participants are eliminated every week if they are not able to achieve certain scores. Usually, there is also a system by which viewers of these serials vote the performers “out” of the show through SMSs. Such shows are generally action-packed and/or high on drama. Shows like Bigg Boss, Roadies, Splitsvilla, Dance India Dance, Khatron Ke Khiladi, India’s Got Talent and Sa Re Ga Ma Pa have become very popular. It’s a very hard, a very harsh life. There is no consistency. You will be at the top one day and at the bottom the next. You have to put in long hours of work

Clockwork
7am: Buzzer goes off on the sets. Wake up
7.30am: Hand over tea and biscuits to co-participants
8.30am: Duties for the day are discussed and allocated.
9am: Breakfast is served by team members
9.30am: Prepare costumes for the contest in the evening
12noon: Have lunch, rest
5pm: Contestants have to act out roles assigned to them
9pm: A contestant is eliminated amid drama and a flurry of emotions

The payoff
Depends on how popular you are. If you are a celebrity, you get paid for your celeb status. A very popular contestant can get around Rs 5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh a week. Other contestants can get around Rs 3 lakh to Rs 4 lakh a week. If you end up winning the show, you get fame as well as a handsome amount as prize money. It can also help you bag roles in other shows after producers notice you

Skills/TRAITS
* Confident in front the camera
* Good with people and able to work in a team
* Go-getter and ready for any kind of adventure

Getting there
Watch out for ads in papers put out by TV channels before a reality show and apply if you think you can make the grade. Training in acting helps. You must be confident in front of the camera and have the ability to conduct yourself gracefully. You have to be game for anything in a show. “It’s important to identify your talent before choosing to participate in a reality show. It doesn’t make sense to take part in a singing show if you don’t have the talent to sing well,” says Siddharth Bharadwaj, MTV Splitsvilla winner and VJ.

Institutes and URLs
* National School of Drama, Delhi
www.nsd.gov.in
* Film and Television Institute of India, Pune
www.ftiindia.com

Pros and cons
* Good money
* Instant fame
* No guarantee of long-term success

India has a huge market for reality shows. It’s important to stick to your basics Siddharth Bharadwaj, finalist of Bigg Boss season 5