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Dance Shows on TV – To Be or Not To Be?

R Jayaraman

Author: R Jayaraman

Date: Mon, 2016-08-22 14:17

Recently I saw an article in a newspaper website where Chetan Bhagat has written something about the “Reality Dance Shows." The term “Reality Show" is a contradiction, an oxymoron, with less oxygen than what the “oxy” could indicate. Participants are pre-decided, they practise their lives off, come to the venue fully prepared, some even discuss a few things with the judges, and so on. If this is “reality” then I will have nothing of it. At best one can say that such shows are Live shows, even that is probably not correct, as they are all pre-recorded. Reality is when things happen spontaneously, when no one announces them, least of all judges them.

I was tempted to read the blog by Chetan Bhagat. I did and was not convinced that it was actually written by him. Don’t ask me why, the style was not his, that is my overall view. Still, the point that was being blogged about was that dance should not be judged. If not then who will watch them? How can someone make money out of them? The whole idea of judging is not only to create some excitement and competition but to create a whole ambience with emotions riding high, with a studio audience (are they coached prior to the show?) seemingly rapturous, aided ably by some of the judges who, as if on cue, do many things to heat up the happenings on the stage. To an extent that sometimes you start wondering whether there is more action amongst the judges than the action on the stage. Changing reality?

A dance reality show is an experience, and should not be judged for anything else. The TRP is one instrument, to which the TV channels pay a lot of attention, but other things, like good dance moves, the quality of the moves, the sublimity quotient, the index of how positive reactions were generated, and, finally, did everyone go home with a sense of well being and goodness, are other aspects which need to be considered. And not get entangled into arguments as to how the judges were poor in their judgment, how the judges did what the TV channel asked them to do, how things were “pre-fixed" and so on. But you be the judge as to what really happens after the show is over?

While the competition brings about better preparation, newer ideas, revealing newer moves and leads to higher levels of co-ordination, there are other aspects. Chetan blogs mainly based on his personal experiences. But I think that is keeping the circle of experience too close to one's chest and, when blogging about a reality show, some broader vistas could be viewed and used to enrich content. Else there is a fear that the reality of the dance shows may never really come close to reality. Let's keep dancing and blogging!

 

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The article brought to debate is indeed need of the hour. Each & every channel brings the reality show in one or another form. These Shows are kind of television shows or programs which in real life or scripted form feature common people as well as celebrities Situations/environment or a mix of both real and scripted incidents. Till 1940’s reality shows authentic. This was because it was a new concept and as such manipulation was limited for creation of unusual situations for ordinary citizens. However, the reality shows of today have distorted the reality. The mockery of ‘Reality Shows’ is that even though they are known as ‘Reality Based Shows’; most of them are ‘Unreal’. There are always two sides of coin. While one side tells positive story in terms of bringing out talent (Unlocking the human potential). Even the participants are coming from small towns, which normally do not get chance to perform & dies at local level, these shows gives opportunity to such talent at young age. Many stories of successful celebrities ( singers , comedians, dancers etc.) in today’s era confirms this fact that such shows has changed their life by giving them opportunity to perform in reality shows. While other side tells different story of Pre-fixed shows, having commercial motive of improving TRP , Creates sentimental / emotional pressure on participants. I feel following The effects of reality shows are multi-pronged, far reaching and unpredictable. Though not all reality shows are same but the ones which indulge in creating fake realities are the ones to blame the most. These are the shows which create influencing negativity in the society. Most of the reality shows are created purely for profit without realizing the future consequences on the mind-sets of the people at large, especially the young genre. Even the so , called ‘Game Shows’ are nothing but promoters of greed, where the participants are playing to the tunes of how much they have won, even if it means embarrassment., however the ones without any drama and other negative emotions, do have the benefits as listed below. • Exposure to hidden talent • Award & prizes • Experience • Achievement & recognition • Celebdom to Unknown Celebrities • Opportunity for livelihood • Revenue generation • Better understanding of the world Some of the disadvantages listed below raise need for concern. • Exploitation • Deviate youth mentality • False image of life • Erosion of ethical & moral values • Psychological disorders • Wastage of time & energy It is very much evident from the above mentioned pros and cons of reality shows, that the demerits of reality shows shadows the merits. However, if not eradicated there are certain measures which can be taken to limit and prevent the malice which these shows encourage to a certain extent. Effects of reality shows can be curbed through positive role of media, strict laws, heavy penalties on offenders, censoring or banning etc.

As a researcher and television content strategist and I have seen the shift in content consumption of the viewers, 5 years back reality shows were purely based on talent and action while today it’s full on scripted drama and forceful emotional background stories that has led to overall drop in viewership of reality. AS per the recent research over dramatizing the show is big turn off for the audience, to find the right balance is critical in content creation so make it reality and not a daily soap. In recent times none of the channels have come with any dance reality format, be it Zee with it’s DID, Star plus super dancer that doomed in terms of ratings and Nach baliye that been working only due to celebrities where most of the things are rigged. Few countries like US, UK and Australia have continued to define the reality format with their shows like “You think you can dance” and “Master Chef Australia” keep the offering intact and not fidgeting with core offering of the show with overdose of drama and emotion. Indian content production houses should learn from them as audience is today far more versed with international content and evolved to make out the difference between scripted and real content.

Agree that the term ‘reality’ doesn’t suit reality shows. The format itself is now jaded and the novelty of such shows is completely lost. However, there are multiple stakeholders with vested interests here because of whom such shows are still running successfully. General entertainment TV channels pull these formats along be it dancing, singing and other such contests as it still delivers the ratings and brings in the revenues. A prime time slot on weekends surely works. The target audience’s appointment viewing corroborates with that of the TV channels who are able to gauge the audience pulse and deliver them to the advertisers. The above is the classical media model with predictable business interests for the media channel and the advertisers. The other stakeholders are in it for personal reasons, and a glance at them might be intriguing and interesting: - The participants. What is in it for them really, apart from the 15 minutes or 15 episodes (depending on how far they go on the show) of fame? Such shows do not guarantee any future in their field of performing arts. In fact, the calibre of performance is in no way a measure of success or a career opportunity. There are way too many talented people and to look at these shows as a stepping stone to a bright future as an actor, dancer or playback singer would be foolish. Still, ‘what if I am that one in a million who will make it’, is what drives these starry eyed talents to participate. - The judges. Great exposure on screen as most of them have been there done that, revelling in past or little glory or have always been behind the scenes. Whatever the reason for them being chosen as judges apart from their skill, this is a brilliant way for them to be in the forefront, be recognised and remain relevant. This can give them the lead of other judging or performing events and promotions. - The celebrity guests. Purely come for promoting their movie release; it serves the purpose as part of their marketing promo plan. - The parents of the kids who participate in kids’ reality shows. Pushing and imposing their desires, their unfulfilled dreams through their children. Not all but most of the parents do, and if they do, its desperation and robbing kids of what they really want to do. - The manufactured crowd sitting in the studio as ‘live’ audience. They sit for 8 to 10 hours at a stretch and are there either because they are related to the participants or are purely fascinated by the stars and judges, wanting their faces to appear on the screen. Reality shows are not going anywhere for now (how you want to interpret this last line is up to you ).

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