It’s getting attention, receiving backlash, being debated but at the same time, earning high TRPs. The new face of reality television in India, Emotional Atyachar, is taking voyeurism to the next level.
The show conducts loyalty tests on unsuspecting spouses, who are tempted to cheat on their girlfriend/boyfriend by good looking models, even as the entire proceeding is caught on hidden cameras. The girlfriend/boyfriend have themselves approached the show to conduct the test on their spouse.
Love or voyeurism?
Indrajit Ray, chief creative officer, UTV Television justifies, "People may think it’s about the voyeurism or the TRPs, but it’s actually about the emotions. Youngsters go through several heartbreaks today, and we help them deal with it. It’s not that we are looking for cheaters — we just haven’t found anyone loyal so far."
As usual, purists don’t buy the story, sparking off a raging debate about what is right and wrong when it comes to broadcasting ethics. Smriti Irani, television’s beloved bahu, scoffs at the show’s content: "Suna tha TRP ke liye kuch bhi karega, par aaj dekh bhi liya. That the audience wants this is just an excuse. The desire to be controversial is obvious."
But Anil Wanwari, owner of Indiantelevision.com, has another viewpoint to offer, "Who are we to judge what is right and what is wrong? It’s gritty stuff, and there’s an audience watching it — if they don’t have a problem, why should we?"
VJ Cyrus Sahukar says, "We’ll say it’s bad for us, but when it’s playing, we’ll shout, ‘On karo, on karo’."
Another question on peoples’ minds is whether it’s fair to tempt people and then record it on hidden cameras. However, Ray makes a startling revelation — people who’ve cheated are made to sign a consent form after being shown the footage. “Our tempters never make the first move, we blur faces of the women who cheat and we get them to sign consent forms.
We are not being unfair.” Sahukar puts things in perspective: “I feel that if you put people under a magnifying glass, they are bound to look ugly.”