Since there’s very little I can bear to watch on the Hindi general entertainment channels, I decided to watch – for the first time – Zone Reality (a reality entertainment channel). Maybe I’d stumble upon something vastly entertaining. You could say that I may as well have watched any of our Hindi news channels, since they are more reality TV than news, and you would be right. However, having been there, done that; I decided to try something new.
And immediately wished I hadn’t.
What I saw were very, long, very boring programmes on murders and ghosts. The murder had happened in Australia and everyone on the show spoke in such strong Australian accents, I needed sub-titles to figure out what was going on. (Of course, none were forthcoming). The main point of interest was that it was a very gruesome murder – and of course, we were given all the gory details. Frankly, do I want to watch a never-ending programme on a murder in New South Wales, in an English accent I can’t even understand (“He didn’t ‘hyte’ anyone”), with fuzzy photos of the dead man?
The programme on ghosts, called Creepy, was a Canadian production, so all the ghosts were Canadian. There was a witch from Quebec, some fellow who built a castle in Ontario and haunts it till today, a nun and little girl who flit around some other place in Ontario — and all the stories were told with detailed reconstruction (actors, sets, background music; so much for the channel’s claims about no acting, no scripting etc etc). Besides, all those scenes of vaporous ghosts floating down staircases were more giggle-inducing than scary.
Then I watched Cheaters, a jaw-dropper of a show which carries reality television to new heights (or do I mean new lows?). This is how it goes. If you suspect your partner of cheating on you, call the channel. They will secretly trail your partner and if he/she is genuinely cheating, they will bring back incriminating footage. Armed with this footage and accompanied by the Cheaters crew, you can then confront your partner and have a showdown with him/her (for some reason these confrontations seem to happen on the road or in car parks, in full view of sundry passers-by). And would you believe it? They never seem to be short of people who suspect that their partners are having a bit on the side (rather, people who suspect their partners and actually call the channel).
Meanwhile, back in the world of our own homegrown reality shows, Star Plus’s Amul Star Voice of India is finally, finally coming to an end. This must rank as one of the most marathon talent hunts ever – it began in May this year! And immediately after the winner is announced on the 24th November, the show moves on to a new talent hunt featuring little children. Kids have already surfaced in Zee’s Lil Champs version of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. Watching small children being told “Now today one of you will get eliminated…” is not my idea of enormous fun. But presumably there are enough pushy parents keen to thrust their offspring into such shows and presumably there are enough viewers who like this sort of thing. So happy viewing to them. But I’d probably watch such shows at gunpoint (come to think of it, I watch a lot of stuff on TV at gunpoint).
After several months of catching fleeting glimpses, this week I actually saw some of the horoscope shows – Tarot Tell on Headlines Today, Tez Taare on Aaj Tak and Teen Deviyan on Star News.
All of them have fully made-up women who tell viewers about their luck that day. (“Something very good is going to happen to you... be creative, express yourself...”) And so on. Strictly for the credulous.
And finally. Though 9X has been launched with much fanfare, I’m still not getting it on my set.