Sucheta Dalal :Reality bites television in 2009 as social soaps take a backseat
Sucheta Dalal

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Reality bites television in 2009 as social soaps take a backseat  

December 30, 2009

Be it reality shows or reality-based soaps, the small screen this year was all about getting close to people's lives while fairy-tale sagas became history, reports PTI.


A horde of issue-based serials were prompted by 'Balika Vadhu' last year and 2009 saw daily soaps finally departing from the world of rich urban families to give way to more 'real' ones.


Shows which reflect the lives of people who actually watch them have become a fad now. Each one represents a certain problem, section or phenomenon in society, like 'Na Ana Is Des Lado' dealing with the issue of discrimination against the girl child and 'Uttaran', the rags-to-riches story of an orphan girl.


Some new shows have come up at the end of the year, like 'Pratigya' which has the female protagonist fighting against eve-teasing and 'Tere Mere Sapne' addressing the problem of people migrating from villages to cities in search of a living.


"We are not a ‘saas-bahu’ channel anymore. We have come up with new shows like 'Tere Mere Sapne' and 'Pratigya' in order to connect well with the audience," said Anupam Vasudev, executive vice-president for marketing, Star Plus.


Middle-class families and rural backgrounds have become a favourite with channels in an attempt to bring the audience closer to the shows.


"It’s as if our own life stories are being shown on TV," said Gayatri, a homemaker, who regularly watches '12/24 Karol Bagh', the story of a middle class family living in Delhi.


The rural setting and dialect has been skilfully utilised in 'Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo', which has the female protagonist bearing the yoke of her family in a village in north India.


Interestingly, the series replaced the long running K-serial 'Kasamh Se' on the same channel.

"The serial bears the essence of the rural culture of India. The clothes we wear and the language we speak on the show is deeply connected to the soil," said Roopa Ganguly, who plays a major character in 'Agle Janam...'


There were some major innovations in terms of reality shows as well. Almost every aspect of human life has been explored this year in the form of some or the other reality show.


'Sach Ka Saamna' created a furore even in Parliament with people protesting against the show's way of making people confess the deepest secrets of their lives.


The hype around marriage was tactfully encashed in 'Perfect Bride', which brought two lives together and also executed the first real marriage on television.


Actress Rakhi Sawant gave the people of the nation a chance to become her fiancé in 'Rakhi Ka Swayamvar', which became one of the most popular reality shows of 2009. The show is going to have a second season with Rahul Mahajan, son of late politician Pramod Mahajan, looking for his prospective wife.


Family life became the subject of a reality show once again with Ms Sawant starring in 'Pati Patni Aur Woh', which also had other TV actors trying to manage an entire family. Ms Sawant, who found a life partner on a reality show, used another to dump him publicly, all this while managing good television rating points (TRPs) for the channel.


Former IPS officer Kiran Bedi is presented as a judge in 'Aap Ki Kachehri' to solve problems in lives of people and 'Raaz Pichhle Janam Ka' journeys back in time to establish the connection between the present and past lives of people.


As new concepts have come up, the popularity surrounding talent hunt shows have waned a bit. The third season of 'Bigg Boss' also could not generate much interest despite having megastar Amitabh Bachchan as its host.


Some older reality shows have held their forte on youth channels, like 'Roadies' and 'Splitsvilla', prompting other channels to come up with shows like 'Dare to Date' and 'Kidnap'.
— Yogesh Sapkale

-- Sucheta Dalal