Tuesday, September 01, 2009

सच का सामना (Moment of Truth)

Sach ka Samna (Moment of Truth, as known to US TV audience) has taken Reality TV in India to a different level. What started with competitive game shows, and then moved (as they claim, although I find it to be totally and completely scripted) into people's lives with Big Boss (a la Big Brother) has gone a step further in peeling layers off people's life with the confessional mode of the program and its bold questions.

I saw the show's promos but somehow the same didn't excite me enough to see the show itself. The impact the show is making on Indian psyche started becoming evident when I saw the scandalized look on a colleague's (just out of college and immature variety) face at work and her question on how someone can come on National TV and accept having extra-marital affairs in front of her grown up daughter! An equally strong reaction from another (seasoned and exposed to the world types) then made me wonder what this show is all about and I was forced to sit through the night from 1-4AM and watch the show for a few days.

As with my opinion of most of the reality shows, I believe Sach ka Samna is also a rigged show where people's life history is defined by the producers and questions are invented post that, instead of the other way round. The focus obviously being on invention of questions as scandalous as can be! What other explanation could there be for people to bare all on national television - money being the obvious answer (as strongly indicated by the kid at work) but hardly the right one if one goes by the show's format and statistics - hardly anyone has carried the cash home, thanks to the format which brings your kitty down to ZERO for one wrong answer... and yes, did I mention that the WRONG is decided by the producers based on a test which relies on a science used world-wide but not accepted as an accurate and full-proof method 124 years after its introduction to the world!!!

The show exploits voyeuristic tendencies of people, the lure of peeping into the intimate moments of others' life, and that is the single biggest reason for its success. Who wouldn't enjoy watching people squirm in front of their spouse, kids, parents when asked questions about their infidelities, sleeping with prostitutes, cheating on spouses and what not!!!

The success of Sach ka Samna is evident not just by what happens on the show, but what happens beyond... The show has opened up new avenues of creating problems in people's relationships. After the show's launch, people who have been intrigued by the show but not willing to open up to the world, have started playing the game in the confines of their boundaries of comfort. That the show managed TWO reported incidents of divorces and ONE suicide after people faced the TRUTH in front of their spouses in their own little game (obviously opening up after years of marriage simply encouraged by the show without realizing the game-plan behind it), with definitely many more such cases going unnoticed and unreported, is proof enough of the reach and impact of Sach ka Samna.

There is no denying the success of the show, but at the same time, what cannot be denied is that for all the success and money the show brings to the likes of Siddhartha Basus, Rajeev Khandelwals and Howard Schultz, there are many failed relationships and broken homes it would load onto their conscience, not that it would make any difference to them.

The show would run to high TRPs as long as people like us watch it and gain sadistic pleasure out of others' apparent discomfort and confessions. The bigger question here is not on the authenticity of the show, or about its success... the question at the end of the day is Are we ready to sit in that hot seat replying to fabricated questions and let others have their share of the entertainment at our expense? OR are we really ready to face the truth! For our SACH KA SAMNA!!!