The scroll at the bottom of the screen was puzzling. According to it, the channel “neither endorses, encourages nor supports” the behaviour of the contestants. On second thoughts, the words were not as much puzzling as they were a bit of a joke. So here’s the deal.
The show in question is the incredibly, amazingly, enormously exciting MTV Roadies (according to MTV of course. But that’s only to be expected, the channel is hardly likely to describe its own show as incredibly, amazingly, enormously disgusting.) Anyhow, the scroll suddenly appeared on the TV screen just as a Roadies contestant named Suchit began taking off his bathrobe in front of an audience in Brazil (that’s where the contestants of the present edition of Roadies have gone. But if you thought they’re imbibing any local history, you may as well believe that Paris Hilton has a PhD in rocket science). What they’re doing in Brazil is taking off their clothes in public because that’s one of the ‘tasks’ they’ve been given. The Roadies do so many tasks, they’d make Greek hero Hercules — who had to do no less than 12 tasks — look like a wimp. Poor Hercules, he may have slayed/captured many-headed monsters with names like Hydra and Cerberus, but even he would have recoiled at the prospect of stripping in public with members of said public taking videos and probably uploading them on YouTube in the next ten seconds.
But our Roadies are made of sterner stuff. Just before Suchit took off his clothes, another Roadie called Mohit had done likewise. And even as the channel coyly said that it didn’t “endorse, encourage or support” such behavior, host Rannvijay Singh congratulated Messrs Suchit and Mohit for their himmat (courage). Next came one of those bearded twins. You know who I mean, don’t you? Even if you don’t watch Roadies (there have to be some sane people around) you may remember their, er, fine, award-worthy act — as conjoined twins — in that fine award-worthy film called Tees Maar Khan. So anyhow, one of those bearded twins appeared, and spoke glowingly about the great achievement of the two boys, as if they had topped the IIT exam or climbed Mount Everest. Later, both the brave boys were given one lakh each for doing the task. They deserve more, don't they? Think about it, they took off their clothes in public! They threw their inhibitions into MTV’s dustbin!
What can one say about the show or its tasks or its presenters or its contestants? Each is worse than the other.
But the reality show mania only keeps getting bigger. Now Star Plus is bringing Survivor to India — though why the show is coming here more than 10 years after it was launched in the USA is not clear. Readers may remember that a couple of years ago there was something called Sarkar Ki Duniya on a channel called Real TV. The show seemed inspired by Survivor and had a bunch of (highly irritating) people stuck on an island, digging wells, cooking their own food and eliminating each other all the time. Despite this, the show (like the channel) created about as many ripples as exist in the Dead Sea.
For the Star Plus version of Survivor, several, er, celebrities have apparently gone for the auditions (such as Indian Idol winner Prashant Tamang; participating in reality shows appears to be highly addictive, otherwise how do you explain contestants blithely flitting from one such show to another?) Be sure to expect Survivor to be choc-a-block with the usual suspects, from Rakhi Sawant’s former boyfriend to Rahul Mahajan’s former girlfriend.