It is one of the most popular reality shows on TV today. On it, participants conduct sting operations or ‘loyalty tests’ on their real life partners. And it is all rigged.
In an interview to HT City, a girl who participated in UTV Bindass’ Emotional Atyachaar, reveals that not only was she paid by the channel to enact the ‘drama’, she did not even know the boy who was shown as her boyfriend on the show!
Speaking on condition of anonymity, she said, "I am 24 and, like any girl my age, I jumped at the opportunity to be on TV. After making me sign a confidentiality clause, I was told that I’d be given a ‘fake’ boyfriend on whom the show would conduct a loyalty test on camera. I had never seen this ‘boyfriend’, who had been picked from an audition of aspiring models. We were told to say that we’ve been in a steady relationship, and the channel shot footage of us getting cosy to show us ‘in happy times’. Later, they shot a few ‘candid camera’ sequences of this guy making out with the show’s ‘undercover agent’. He was aware that he was being filmed. There was makeup and rehearsed dialogue, too. I was paid R 20,000 by the channel, half in cash and half through cheque."
The revelation was backed by Vibhor Choudhary, 23, a Delhi model, who says, "I was contacted by a model coordinator to audition for the role of ‘boyfriend’. But when I was told that I’d be paid only R5,000, I refused." Sambhav Jain, 24, had a similar experience. "First, they told me that I won’t be paid because of the exposure, but later I was offered R 6,000," he says.
Rajiv Verma, 35, a model coordinator in South Delhi, says, "I get calls from the channel to provide models who would want free publicity and agree to fake a relationship on TV. We provide students who want pocket money. We charge R 2000 for every scene they feature in."
Asked if celebrity episodes are also stage managed, TV actor Bobby Darling, who has appeared on the show, says, “Please don’t drag me into controversies.” Anish Khanna, 26, who has played undercover agent several times, confirms, “It’s all scripted, including the way the girl would cry and slap the boyfriend.”
The channel’s spokesperson defends, “This is bizarre! It is just a tactic by some contestants to gain mileage from the show’s popularity.”
It was ‘fixed’ abroad, too
Emotional Atyachaar is reportedly based on Cheaters, a show that started in 2000 on US TV. On it, detectives follow people suspected of cheating on their partners. In 2002, in an exposé published in the Houston Press, several participants claimed that they were paid $400 to act in the show.
(Some names have been changed to protect identity of sources)
Inputs: Nikhil Taneja