Reality shows have a lot of takers in India, with multiple shows in various formats striking a chord with the audience. The actors who participate in these shows, as a result, also tend to become popular. Now, in what seems to be the latest trend on the small screen, several such stars are opting to return as judges of reality shows they have previously participated starred in, as well as others.
For instance, Lauren Gottlieb, who was a contestant on Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa (JDJ) 6, judged the show’s last season. Rannvijay Singha won the first season of Roadies, and last year, became part of the panel of judges for it. Dancer Punit Pathak, who participated in the second season of Dance India Dance 2, went on to judge the last season of the same show, while dancer Shakti Mohan, who was also a Dance India Dance 2 contestant, turned judge for Remo D’Souza’s show, Dance Plus. Now, Upen Patel and Karishma Tanna, who were contestants on Bigg Boss 8 and Nach Baliye 8, will judge the upcoming reality show, Love School.
The chosen one
Lauren, who has been part of numerous dance TV reality shows abroad and in India, wowed the audiences with her performances during JDJ. She feels that she was the perfect choice to judge the show. Having worked in the field for the past 10 years, she felt her experience in Hollywood was an added advantage. “Ever since I have come to India, I have pushed for dance. I have credibility, and have danced in many Hollywood shows and films,” says Lauren. For Punit, it was his hard work that put him in the judge’s seat.
To judge or not to judge?
While the transition to judging (for a contestant) is a big one, not everyone enjoys it. Lauren, for instance, didn’t like the new profile. “I would have to think if I want to do it again. Being a dancer, I didn’t care about the opinion of others. Dancers are artistes, and they should be celebrated. As a judge, one has to encourage the contestants without criticising them too much,” she says. Shakti, too, found it strange. “I could relate to the struggles of the contestants, be it the judge’s remarks on their act, or the participants’ endless rehearsals. But, I would say both sides were a lot of fun.”
Meanwhile, Punit basked in the positive response that he got as a judge. “I felt I was a better choreographer than a dancer,” he says.
Upen, who is looking forward to judging, also wants to do his best. He says, “I am going to bring the best out of people. Because of my experience as a contestant, I know how it feels to be put in a spot.”
Watch Upen and Karishma here
A ray of hope
With this trend of contestants turning judges picking up, Shakti feels that “somewhere, the audience, and the youth, is becoming accepting of this change”.
She says, “I think there is a shift in the way the audience thinks. They feel that the younger lot can take over this position.” Punit calls this period the second phase of reality TV shows. “The gen next is here. There is fresh talent. This trend is a new ray of hope.”
Also read: Shakti Mohan wins Dance India Dance