The cry baby act of Shweta Tiwari on Nach Baliye this Monday was reality television at its sentimental best (or worst).
With Shweta’s husband Raja Chaudhary hospitalised for liver infection, Shweta danced alone. It seems her husband had told her, “The show must go on.” She used up at least 10 minutes of air-time weeping copiously. The others naturally sniffed into their hankies too.
An actress from a popular K-soap once said, “My woes don’t end on screen. Because my producer thinks that the more I suffer, more the TRPs.” So it’s not just the soap shrimatis who weep but also those on reality television. Even the supposedly bindaas babe Raakhi Sawant sobbed on Bigg Boss to underscore the suffering of an item girl.
Do tears mean TRPs? Comments Archana Puran Singh, who has also shed television tears on Jhalak Dikhlla Jaa, “I am not too emotionally demonstrative. But when I was on the dance show, I was moved to tears a couple of times. I was surprised at myself.”
She adds most women cry on TV because, “There is a flaw. Our directors and actors believe that to evoke a happy or a sad emotion in the audience, you need to make the characters laugh uproariously or weep hysterically. Indians are exhibitionists. We cry as much during weddings as we do at funerals.”
Writer Anirudh Pathak believes there is nothing called reality TV: “The rona dhona of the parents and the contestants at a talent hunt or a reality show is like a saas bahu drama, cleverly woven into the situation. There is nothing called reality television in India, everything is drama and fiction.
“The Indian audience is very melodramatic. We love watching larger than life images. Tears and laughter are part of our lives and television is all about cashing in on these emotions.”
About Monday’s episode, Kunal Kohli, one of the judges on Nach Baliye says, “What you saw wasn’t drama. It was real TV. Shweta was feeling bad. It was not just circumstances that forced her out of the show, but it also happened that Raja was extremely unwell. All these factors added up. Everybody in the studio was moved and it was all for real.”
Evidently, the line between the real and the fictional tears is blurring.