Monday, March 17, 2008

Roadies and relationships

I had first thought that I would ramble about my perception on Indian reality shows, how
marketing has taken over every aspect of our lives, how presentation has become more important than concept, about how choices have become more important than morality et al. But I decided against it. I have been watching MTV Roadies 5.0 and am totally hooked to it ever since. Today’s challenge was the 4th one and one more contestant was voted out. For people who are confused with what I am talking about, Roadies 5.0 is a reality show that judges the survival capacity of a contestant. There are 13 contestants and people are voted out in every episode. The roadies are given two tasks-Money task, in which they have the opportunity to earn cash and Immunity task, in which they are given the option to save their skin and move to the next episode. Every roadie is given the opportunity to expel another roadie. The most unpopular roadie is voted out.
So what is special about roadies? Is it somehow different from other reality shows?
What's its USP? From my point of view practically everything is special about it. I haven't been fortunate enough to watch the previous series of Roadies but the fact that it is popular enough explains its longevity. The auditions are held in which nice people, mundane personalities are shunted out. The auditions are held with extreme importance because the judges want people who are deceptive, ambitious, and diabolic. They have traits which are out of the ordinary. Expecting a 3rd degree treatment in auditions is very common and judges are pretty good at their jobs. Once the people are selected the real journey begins. The contestants belong to the 18-21 age bracket because people are not mature enough to understand the complications of relationships. Since it is a reality show there is no need for script-writers or directors. But the creators are smart enough to judge the feasibility of the tasks to be performed. Another interesting aspect I liked about the show is the way in which the creators have handled the marketing. For the first time I found that advertisements could be less irritating. The products are used by the contestants. What can be a better advertisement than that? Though the creators overdo some aspects but then there is nothing called perfection in life. The error might well be my perception because finer things in life tend to be very subjective. Poetically speaking, the show has a slice of task, a pinch of emotion, a dash of animosity and you have the perfect cocktail that keeps one glued to the TV set. All in all the show is a balanced one which perfectly juxtaposes with my own view of a reality show.
I will now talk about relationships. Relationships can't be defined in a box. Neither can it be too abstract. Some relationships are defined by nomenclatures and some are undefined. So relationships can exist between living and non-living things, a man and a dog, two men, six people, even strangers. Sometimes we call it friendship. Enmity is a relationship too because there is always one more person involved. Since roadies is a microcosm of real life things like deception, trickery is as much a part of the game as is love and affection. Trust is used very loosely and personal equation is contextualized. Surprises are a part of the game and that makes it very interesting because it complicates relationship. Some relationships can be institutionalized but floating relationships decide the survival of a roadie. Unlike the laws of physics or chemistry human relationships are not guided by fixed equations. A lot of known and unknown parameters play various roles. Context is one major aspect of that equation. Facets of human character like affection, jealousy play important roles but they change in depth and length. They change with situation. Sometimes people are guided by reason, sometimes things are unreasonable. Humans are still learning about nature and in that process they are also learning about themselves. But one thing is constant. People want to win and they can go to extreme lengths for that. That length is again difficult to ascertain. As far as roadies is concerned I haven't been able to figure out who might win the challenge because of reasons I mentioned above. But then, the creators have done a wonderful job of keeping me guessing. Since I have watched a couple of shows I can say to some extent that
the person who keeps a low profile, is friendly and task-oriented have a good chance of
gaining a little mileage. I like studying people and I agree with MTV Veejay Nikhil Chinappa's view that Roadies is more about life. We all come across challenges, we all try to win them. In the meantime we meet people, find love, create enemies and move on. Roadies too is a journey. Hat's off to the creators who have understood the definition of life and tried to map it into a TV show.