Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wanted: A Reality Show on "Social" Issues Like Rural Poverty

Photo credit: Google
Okay - so we have the IPL, we have Bigg Boss, and we have MTV Roadies which have all been huge successes on Indian television (unfortunately!).

Why can't some enterprising TV producer come up with a mix of the three and have rich "team-owners" be responsible for transforming ONE destitute village each into paragons of good rural infrastructure, great support systems and help the villagers achieve self-sufficient employment? I'm sure the impoverished members of any village would be glad to participate in this social experiment if it helps them get food in their stomachs. The TV producers would be well off as the competitive game format would compel viewers to watch and vote for their favourite transformation. The team-owners (well-known public figures, who can have team members who are not as famous but have good domain-specific knowledge) would get chance to do something good with their popularity, as well as earn the goodwill of the public. I also hope that viewers of this show would have interesting out-of-the-box suggestions to offer their favourite team-owner, hence harnessing the power of ideas from all over India.

But the best part, for me, would be finally seeing the 'reality' in a reality show. 200 million people in India are still starving, yet no TV channel acknowledges or beams any show around alleviating this problem.

Even if we have just 10 teams, we'll have 10 fewer hungry villages.

This post was inspired by Wall Street Journal's six-part series, "Starving in India: The Forgotten Problem". Funny Gypsy is in no way connected to the authors of that article; was merely saddened and spurred into writing.


  1. Ha ha.

    Reality shows are based on what people aspire to or on voyeurism. The poor fall into neither category.

    1. Are you saying this is not financially feasible? That no one would watch? But if there are celebrities involved, the chance to make a difference involved, some element of competitiveness to it (maybe prizes in many categories, voting in every week)...there could be a decently-sized audience for this...isn't this a field that needs to be explored before being dismissed?

  2. You have a good idea - trying to improve a village through active involvement by celebrities/investors. It is a very long term project, it will take a lot of work over some years before results are visible. It is not impossible but it will require a lot of work over a long time.

    If people are to achieve an improvement in living standards they need to have more disposable income. In the first place, if they are unemployed or under-employed (doing part time temporary work) they need to have a better job.

    In order to create jobs there needs to be investment. It can be small or it can be big, but it needs to start somewhere. For investment appropriate infrastructure, roads, water, electricity. There may need to be improvements in education, or basic healthcare and other 'soft' skills.

    While the first issue to try and give people income, the second problem is to ensure that the money that they receive goes as far as possible. Prices need to be kept under control as far as possible. This is the battle against inflation.

    All of these are long term, and which will not fit into the time span of a TV show. Nor is it particularly interesting stuff, although the results of the exercise can be so. It is dull boring, nuts and bolts work which the Government needs to do. It is for this that we need a Government and a press and an informed public that needs to keep kicking a government hard enough to make sure that they deliver what is important. Unfortunately there are too many distractions that a Government can conjure up to mislead and distract the public.

    Have a look at these as well:

    Apologies for the long post, I hope I have not bored you... ;)

    1. Hello Jack!
      First of all, apologies for the late reply (was caught up in work). I understand the point you're making - the time frame seems too large to be fit into the scope of a reality show and so is the investment.
      Hmm...really can't think of a way out of this one. Of course, perhaps it could be a documentary instead of a reality show but that would be pointless - how many common Indians even get beyond the regular primetime TV shows...?
      Can only think of extended kind of television reality show that broadcasts a special episode once a month and goes on for about a year but that sounds unlikely... however any short-term effort in this direction should at least create awareness...(not quite convinced myself!)
      Thank you for the insight! (Will continue to try to think of something more practical!)

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. i agree with miss gypsy that it is feasible and it can attract decent audience if the celebs mingle with the village folks..imagine priyanka chopra milking the cow and viral kohli playing guily danda with the local boys ,it will definitely attract our star crazy indian audience.. nice out of the box idea boss..hats off to you..:)

    1. Thank you! However the time frame may pose a problem (apropos Jack Point and my comments above)...ideas on how to subvert those?!

  6. It is acutally the other way round. People watch movies and TV to escape the reality, not face it! Thats the only reason why we see really fat and extremely ugly 'superstars' of South India romancing pretty ladies and killing hundreds of goons effortlessly :)

    1. True observation, Y! I was quite happy to watch Aamir Khan's Satyamev Jayate last Sunday (that gave an entire 1 hour to discussing female foeticide) but was disappointed at certain condescending reviews which called it "Preachy" and "Too Earnest"... ( I think this was WSJ's Tripti Lahiri)

      I mean, come on, at least he's TRYING an alternative (and potentially more socially useful) form of entertainment!


All comments, criticism and feedback are welcome! You can even post as Anonymous if you're really shy. :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...