What’s the best thing a reality TV show can do for once-upon-a-time celebrities other than pressing loads of cash on them? Get them back into the public eye. So when former India bat Vinod Kambli bared his heart and soul on Sach ka Saamna, a reality TV show, we all sighed and said: “Yes, we are all listening”. In an emotionally-charged show, Mr Kambli said in a polygraph test that his childhood friend and former India captain Sachin Tendulkar didn’t do enough to stop him going down a self-destructive path which ended a glorious career.
Now many among us may want to know Mr Kambli’s dark secrets, after all we are celebrity junkies. But what possesses people like you and me to let it all hang out on telly? We’d have thought that no one would be interested in our humdrum lives. But how wrong we were. There is a great slavering public out there lapping up every bit of discomfort and humiliation suffered by others. And why not? After all, if there were not so many eager to tell all on television in exchange for a bit in the bank, there would be no reality shows at all. We in India are some way from the Jerry Springer type shows so popular among a certain section in the US. Springer, an evangelist of bad taste, stops at nothing to lower the bar on his show. And most often, the contestants resort to fisticuffs on air, much to the delight of the audience. Why are we so interested in the pathetic lives of people we don’t know and never will? Is it that we see a bit of ourselves in their dysfunctional antics? Is it that we want our 15 minutes of notoriety, even if it means that everyone gets to know our sordid secrets?