The television channels of India are busy hunting for new topics which they can transform into reality shows. Many print-online forums are busy discussing the rights and wrongs of this form of entertainment, where the performers present themselves, rather than a character. The term ‘reality show’ holds a significance only for shows like the Big Brother or MTV Roadies where the contestants are supposed to live a life together as themselves and the audience enjoy seeing that. And by the same standard, it is not fair to brand shows like Voice of India, Indian Idol and Idea Star Singer as reality shows. In fact, these kinds of music contests are not something new to the Indian television. It’s just that they didn’t have the SMS funda involved in them.
The SMS voting involved in the contests has increased the business aspect to many many folds. For the programs of yesterdays, the one and only source of income was the advertisement slots in between various segments. The concept of SMS voting was introduced to this, not to ensure that the contest will have a democratic feature in it, it is because the voters are charged at premium rates by the service providers and a lion’s share of this extra profit reaches the kitty of the producer. For a small state like Kerala, prices of the range 40 lakhs-50lakhs-Limousine car are much much beyond the expectation of any contests, but when we analyze the money involved in a full series of a contest, this amount appears just nominal.
Here are my thoughts on the most prominent show of this genre in Malayalam at this point of time, Idea Star Singer, hereupon addressed as ISS ,broadcasted in Asianet.
ISS, as per the various statistics, enjoys the biggest audience reach , in all Malayalam programs aired daily. After a real pathetic show in 2006, ISS crew had a really skillful strategy for 2007. More emphasis was given for the settings, style and quality where as in 2006 it was almost a one man show by MJ[ Read it Michael Jackson!]. Even when facing the accusations of the manipulations and business minded partiality, Asianet could bring out a good quality program which does not tire the regular TV audience. Apart from the ardent fans who vote for their choices regularly, the program really don’t affect us, infact it entertain us to a great extent.
The contests are really giving us an honest performance each day. I think the greatest gift that each of them already won is that, all those faces have become very common and familiar to wide masses all over the state. Names like Sannidanandan have become very popular in the online discussion forums for malayalis.
The judges..hmmm… I really don’t want to comment much on them. When the whole elimination is through the SMS voting method, I really don’t know the necessity of three high profile judges [ No, I am not leaving ‘Sharath sir’ behind ‘Sreeyettan’ and ‘Dheedhi’] for the event. And why should they come out each time with very minute comments, many of them sounding partial, if that does not have much effect on the result? I don’t know.
The anchor, Ms. Ranjini H , has triggered criticisms from the audience for her appearance, mannerisms and above all , her accent. Personally , me too hate Malayalam being talked the way she talks, but I don’t think it is fair to point the finger at her, she is doing what she knows. The producers of the show should think seriously about changing the anchor if they feel that she don’t match to the whole concept. Ms. Ranjini has a pretty good grasp in English, and I think she is bettering her Malayalam day by day. And the dress code she follows might not please the typical keralites like me, but I should confess that they suits her well enough. And about her mannerisms, too artificial!
Now a word for the contestants, if at all atleast one comes through this page before the Kingdom come: Music is not a visual art. The eardrums of your audience appreciate you, not their Retinas. The contest producer might be more concerned about the entertainment value of the whole program rather than the pure music in you. But since this provides a wide platform to project yourself, utilize it to maximum benefit with all possibilities. But by the end of the day, plz keep it in mind that Yesudas and SPB won many million hearts with their voice and voice only.
Wishing you all the very bezt!
PS: Najim, you don't rock! You just seduce with your voice!!!