Vantage point

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Reality News

Reality TV has well and truly arrived in India. No one could make a Survivor here. Indian Idol was successful for only 1 season. And our answer to The Apprentice is boring.

Filling in the gap are news channels. Every few days they manage to uncover a real life story which will rival any soap opera script, and cover it for 5 days.

First it was Matuknath and Julie, a May-December couple from Patna mouthing age-old cliches about 'pyaar'. This story caught the fancy of viewers so much that today NDTV India actually had an hour long panel discussion about the affair, with usual suspects like Mohini Giri and Mahesh Bhatt weighing in.

Since the last 2 days, the entire country has been following the progress of 5-year-old Prince who fell down a 60-feet hole in Kurukshetra. Constant updates were given about his condition and the rescue efforts. The entire nation, including the Prime Minister, was praying for his rescue. They even managed to get a camera down there to monitor the child's condition. By the way, I get the distinct impression that there has been a precedent(s) for such an incident in the US media. Does anyone remember the specific case?

As news channels become increasingly adept at sniffing out sensational stories which tug at different emotions, soap opera writers will find it difficult to match up to those standards. Many middle aged women I know are now spending more time watching news channels than Ekta Kapoor's soap operas. And with good reason.

As the old cliche goes, truth is stranger than fiction.