I had avoided 'Sach Ka Samna' by default till I was caught in the cross-fire of a water-cooler conversation at office and therefore decided to watch a few episodes. And I was hooked onto the show for the next 2 nights...
As NYT described it's original Fox US avatar -'Moment of Truth' - this is indeed a cash-prize competition that is neither a game of chance nor a test of knowledge. It’s a pseudo-psychological trial by ordeal in which the contestants trade candor for money.
1. Of course the show has rocked the parliament and the MPs have made high decibel noises and sung the familiar - hamari sanskriti, hamara samaj' song. I guess the film-maker and nominated MP Shyam babu(Benegal) made the more sensible comment -
“Sach ka Saamna is demeaning to human beings and obviously has high TRPs. It is like someone stripping publicly to get paid for it, spectating in these cases is involuntary, like pornography it is demeaning to your own sense of self-esteem. When an act is in private it is different but TV is a social medium watched by public at large and 90% of it is about family viewing.
However, government must have no serious role in this, we need to create a self-regulatory body of channels with equal number of people from the civil society, TV industry and the casting vote should rest with civil society,” he said.
2. I quite agree with the 'personal pornography' part of it. I mean in the 3 episodes that I watched, the cross-dresser(Bobby Darling), a middle class HW(who it appeared as if she came prepared to dump her husband on national TV) and a UTD(uncle trying to be dude) who owned up to being unfaithful to his wife and in the process lost all the moolah as well - seemingly normal people were hell-bent on stripping themselves on national TV and on 2/3 of the cases got zero money for all their 'reveal'!
3. The way the questions get tougher and 'nosier', no sane guy can ever reach the booty of 1 cr without losing his/her spouse, alienating most of his/her family...I would love to know the actual motivation of the studio participants or maybe I am just too old fashioned for these reality-shows...
4. Dressing up. All game shows are by definition mercenary, but producers go to great lengths to try to dress up contestants’ greed as altruism(that's the facade that the public loves).
A man wants the money to buy his wife the diamond engagement ring he could never afford. A young woman wants to help her ailing mother buy a home.
These shows also use loving-wives, aging parents and smiling-siblings as advisers or cheerleaders to add some human warmth and humor to a prosaic and dumb contest.
5. No matter how profound Rajeev Khandelwal tries to act(in his new hair-cut that makes him look more like Apurva Agnihotri) and bandies casually - Yeh hai 'Agni ka hawan kund', 'aapki agni pariksha' and other such lofty pronouncements...SKS is plain crass American programming at it’s best.
This made-for-TV-and-TRP show is junk, voyeuristic, highly manipulative and addictive. Like a cheap porn mag, it’s good for limited use but eventually ‘people like us’ would drop out or so I think:-)
Already after a diet of 2 episodes on TV and another 2 on youtube, I think I know what the fare will be...Evenings are too precious to be squandered on people’s dirty linen washed in the national bathroom!
The danger is not what SKS does to viewers. It's a late-night show and one has the freedom to not-watch-it; the real danger is the precedent that it sets for future programming. And while Mr. Benegal thinks that our TRP obsessed TV channels are capable of self-regulation, I seriously doubt their intentions!
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