It’s one of those irritating but inevitable things about showbiz. Once something clicks with audiences, copies start pouring out of Mumbai’s dream factories, much like identical sheets come out of Xerox machines. Only when audiences get tired and fed up do things change. Hit shows become flop shows and the copies stop abruptly. (Then of course the cycle begins anew — new copies of the new hit shows begin clogging your screens).
I couldn’t help but think of this – in a rather resigned fashion — when I saw UTV Bindass’s new reality show, Yamaha Dreamride, clearly ‘inspired’ by MTV Roadies. (It’s supposed to be ‘different’ because Dreamride is about couples rather than individuals. How imaginative). I’ve always tried to avoid seeing Roadies as much as possible, but I couldn’t escape entirely. My abiding impressions of the show: (a) there was a man with beard and glasses who was so pathologically malevolent he would have made it to the Gestapo any day; hell, they’d have probably sent him a hand-written invitation entreating him to join them (b) sometimes there were two identical men with beards and glasses who were pathologically malevolent (c) no one could make out what anyone was saying to anyone else because you always heard more beeps than words (d) everyone always looked extremely bad-tempered, as if they were always having a bad hair day (which they definitely were in most of the episodes).
Nevertheless, the auditions clearly revealed that every single aspiring participant possessed a burning desire to be part of the show. The more he/she was abused by the man with the beard and glasses (and his sinister accomplices), the more obstinately he/she insisted, “Bus, mujhe Roadies hi ban na hai!” as if it was the equivalent of becoming a Nobel prize winner.
Anyhow, in Yamaha Dreamride, all the couples have to rescue their partners before they qualify for the show. They have to find their partners who have been tied up with ropes and shoved inside the boot of a car / construction site / cattle shed / water pipe / etc (why? No clue). So they pelt down streets, asking random people, “Ladki dekhi hai?” and these people helpfully point in the correct direction. To say that all this was bizarre in the extreme would be an understatement.
The show is anchored by someone called Sid, who, as far as I can make out, anchors every single programme on Bindass. Just before Dreamrider came on, he was on a show called Two Idiots (for once, aptly named). After Dreamrider finished, he was on a show called Street Dancer. In between, he was in a soap ad. (Maybe — like the chap with the beard and glasses — he too has a double).
So this Sid called the couples one by one and made them stand in an open area strung with so many pieces of red cloth it looked like they were all at a Left rally in West Bengal. Any moment I expected the CPM Politburo to arrive.
They didn’t. There was only Sid who was trying very hard to be rude to everyone in the manner of the man with the beard and glasses.
Finally the couples left the Left rally and set off on their dream ride (or should it be nightmare?) I will try my best to eagerly follow their journey.
And finally. I saw the second episode of Life (Discovery) and was as awe-struck as I was when I saw the first. This one was on reptiles and amphibians and it had some absolutely stunning (and rather terrifying) footage of komodo dragons — battling each other and devouring a buffalo that they had hunted craftily and mercilessly.
Not to be missed.