It's survival of fittest on Indian reality TV

Be it the spicy ''Bigg Boss 5'', ''Spitsvilla'' and ''Swayamvar'' or the adventure-based ''Survivor India'', ''Roadies'' and ''Khatron Ke Khiladi'' -- Indian reality television is laden with survival-based shows which are giving v

Sunday, January 08, 2012 | 1:18:45 PM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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Be it the spicy 'Bigg Boss Season 5', 'MTV Splitsvilla 3' and 'Swayamvar Season 4 - Veena Ka Vivaah' or the adventure-based 'Survivor India-The Ultimate Battle', 'Roadies' and 'Khatron Ke Khiladi' -- Indian reality television is laden with survival-based shows which are giving viewers a good dose of voyeuristic content.

There are the 'real survivor' shows like the international 'Man Vs Wild', where humans fight their surroundings to stay with the wild, and then there are 'pyramidical shows' like 'Big Switch', 'Superstud' and 'Bigg Boss', which are about winning against a changed environment, explains Keith Alphonso, UTV Bindass' business head.

And both are a hit.

'Survivor shows challenge the survival skills of contestants, when put in a different terrain. Whereas pyramidical shows are typically about people being put in an atmosphere with a certain amount of change in their lifestyle, and topped with PDA - Politics, Drama, Action! That's what makes these shows engaging,' Alfonso told IANS.

'Every person in a competition -- whether on-screen or off-screen, has an indomitable spirit to win, be it by winning against your environment or against another person. And because people love to watch struggles, and enjoy voyeuristic viewing, these shows get the popularity they enjoy,' he added.

The underlying idea is survival - by hook or by crook.

So no wonder on a show like 'Bigg Boss', backbiting, gossip and arguements, apart from the way celebrities adjust to limited resources and amenities, are what keep the TRP clock ticking. Or a 'Roadies', where one does have to perform dangerous tasks, but unless you are smart enough to crack the plotting and scheming, chances are you will lag behind in the race.

Now comes in Star Plus' 'Survivor India', where 22 contestants -- 11 celebrity and 11 non-celebrity participants, are shown marooned on an uninhabited tropical island of the Philippines where even basic minimum amenities aren't available.

'The show will be the ultimate game of physical and mental endurance. Its well encapsulated tagline -- 'Kya Jee Paoge?' is a testimony that only the fittest, the grittiest and the ruthless will survive and will be the ultimate winner of this show,' said Nitin Vaidya, business head, Hindi Channels, Star India.

In most of these shows, barring the likes of 'Roadies', 'Superstud', 'Big Switch' and 'Splitsvilla', which depend on the general public for participation, what adds to the spunk is the celebrity quotient.

Whether it is 'Survivor India', which went on air Friday, or others like Colors' 'Khatron Ke Khiladi', Sony's 'Iss Jungle Se Mujhe Bachao' and 'Sarkaar Ki Duniya' involving tough tasks in difficult terrains, most of these shows have cashed in on celebrities for additional eyeballs.

But it also pays to have the common man, according to Niret Alva, co-founder, Miditech.

'Indians are celebrity obsessed but they also love the underdog and want to see the best win,' said Alva, also the executive producer of 'Survivor India'.

'You need to cast a mix of characters that people can relate to across the socio-economic matrix. You need people who fit in and stick out. You need people to love and people to dislike...In short you need a microcosm, a mirror to your own world as a viewer,' he added.

Author : Radhika Bhirani

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Posted on: 09 January 2012 at 7:03am
4 da 1st time i watched Roadies nd its a simply disgusting show in which da judges just like to insult contestents with dirty abuses.. da people who hav some self respect should'nt go into dat show.. coz judges r too much harsh with da contestents specially with boys..!!!
Pathetic judges ever.. watever they do in da show is just 4 TRP's..!!! nd dis Big boss Season was da worst alongwith Season 3..!!!
Superstud is kind of different show nd i liked it..:)
Khatro k khiladi is also okay nd desperaetely waiting 4 Veena G ka Swayamvar to get more entertainment.. i know dere will be a lot of drama dere,.. lol

Edited on:09 January 2012 at 7:19am

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Posted on: 09 January 2012 at 1:55am
Survivor is Good :D better tahn other reality shows which have similar things like this

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Posted on: 09 January 2012 at 1:12am
I hate dis shOw. ROdies is far better than dis...

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Posted on: 09 January 2012 at 12:51am
there is no celebrity in roadies.nd its the best realtily show...lov raghu,rajiv nd ranvijay

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Posted on: 09 January 2012 at 12:28am
survivor is interesting...i guess its more task focused and activity focused that's why!..way better than big boss

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Posted on: 09 January 2012 at 12:26am
Watching Survivor, Its interesting Followed the US version looking forward to seeing how the Indian Version turns out as the days pass by

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