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Hello Sir! This article reminisces memories from my engineering days when we used to debate if the telecasted reality shows have any element of reality in them. This article goes beyond that point to explain how reality show judges add to the drama of these shows. To start with the former argument, I agree to the viewpoint that there is very little reality left in the modern-day reality shows. Then why are these shows even being aired? There are a number of reasons why these shows end up finding a place in the prime-time slots of major television channel networks. Firstly, these reality shows are TRP churners for channels who bank on the mundane daily soaps for sustaining their positions throughout the year competing with rival channels to come up with soaps with similar storylines in the same time slots. For example, if a mythological show is doing well on one of the channels, the rival channel in no time comes up with a mythological show on some other character and strategically places it in the same time slot. Reality shows are big ticket shows for such channels. Secondly, getting Salman Khan to host ‘Bigg Boss’ or Priety Zinta to judge ‘Nach Baliye’ becomes a source to attract viewership. No matter how hard these channels try to project these as authentic, the unwarranted drama gives it away in no time. Be it the pre-decided fights on ‘Roadies’ or the pre-agreed disagreement between two judges from different entertainment segments, everything looks fabricated. And when you think from the point of view of the channel head, why wouldn’t you want these things to happen? When you are getting your promotional material to pull in new viewers and keep the existing viewers hooked on to the show, why not do it? But these are still at the celebrity level where everything is contractual. Moving on to the second aspect of the article- The dance reality shows. There are a number of viewers who watch these shows with the hope to learn new techniques and improve their dancing skills. But are these shows the right medium? A couple of judges on the panel of the dance reality show may not even be remotely associated to dance all their life (Eg. Karan Johar on ‘Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa’) but are roped in for the glamour quotient and the PR buzz that they generate by their presence on the show. The drama between the judges somewhere kills the comments coming from credible judges which ought to be beneficial to the contestants and the viewers as well. We have classic examples of dance reality shows like ‘Boogie Woogie’ which purely worked due to their authenticity and the content of the show. So, here comes in the point where I too probably disagree with what Chetan Bhagat has penned down in his article. If for a moment we keep aside the views of the judges and how they behave, a dance reality show should work on the quality of the content and how the contestants and viewers can be benefitted by the show. And when a writer like Chetan Bhagat judges a dance reality show and writes about an altogether different show from a rival channel, we can expect him to bring in the perspective of how competing brings out the best in the contestants rather than looking at it as a means of pressure resulting in the contestant’s elimination. The whole idea of competing is that the contestants work hard to put together a show never seen before by the viewers because there are some contestants who appear on these shows and end up becoming role models for some viewers in a particular dance form (Eg. ‘Cockroach’ from Dance India Dance who has aced his way ahead to become a judge himself!). Unless this is achieved, these shows will continue to be TRP churners and never reach their ‘real’ audience anytime soon.

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