Reality Shows and Their Judges!

Reality shows, these days, are omnipresent. Take a look at any TV channel, at any time, in any language and in any country, you are sure to come across some form of a reality show in there.

Reality shows are more popular than news programs and serials! Yes, they have more viewers than popular serials. You can judge this by simply looking at the on-going rates for advertising during these reality shows. Even senior citizens, earlier known as ‘serial’ citizens, are now switching over to view reality shows!

One can see reality shows in any conceivable format and form. We have comedy reality shows (which sometimes makes you cry!), singing reality shows (contestants often cry remembering their mother, father, siblings or pets), dance reality shows (every episode will have some sob story of a contestant) and adventure reality shows (where contestants cry when they do not succeed and also when they succeed!). They cry even in reality shows testing one’s general awareness.

So what’s the main qualification to be a judge of a reality show? Yes! You guessed it right! One should be an expert in listening to sob stories and then shed tears at the appropriate time! While this is the main one, there are some additional requirements too!

One’s name should have wide recognition, either she should be famous or notorious. It is not necessary that she knows what’s going on in the show. A famous author, who never shook his feet for dancing in his whole life, was a judge in a dance reality show of a well-known channel. Whenever he opened his mouth to give comments, it used to either irrelevant or confusing. But it was great fun watching him commenting on finer aspects of dancing, without knowing a thing!

Then these judges should have their brand of gimmicks! It may be use of a particular phrase or asking for a ladder to climb while applauding or gesturing in a peculiar way! This ‘unique’ differentiator is a must to extend one’s longevity as a judge.

There are huge positives in judging reality shows. The first one is that your neck is never on the line. It’s always the neck of the contestant which is on the line. Contestants who provide the content of the reality shows are never sure whether they will be featuring in the next episode. But a judge is there in every episode!

Second huge attraction is that you make big money as a judge! While the winner may take certain amount in prize money after toiling hard for many episodes, judges take multiples of this prize money for judging just one episode! Entire show with multiple episodes makes judges really rich and famous too! Just ‘Google’ and you will be wonderstruck by the amount paid to some of the reality show judges.

As a judge, you have more camera presence than the best of the contestants! This makes those failing artists and forgotten actors to bounce back into reckoning! We know how a failing superstar of Bollywood was resurrected by a general knowledge reality show!

Winning contestants rarely make a name in their field after the show is over. There are only a handful of them who made it big (after the show was finished) and most of them are forgotten before long! But judges make it to their seats every season!

Is it difficult to judge a reality show? My better-half, a keen follower of reality shows, knows more about judging than those judges themselves. She can easily come out with a list of positives and negatives, the moment a contestant’s performance over. And her analysis, many a time, is much more accurate than that of judges!

It is true that her analytical skill is rubbing off on me too and you must have observed this while I get opportunity to evaluate speeches in our Club!

(This write-up was prepared for the House Magazine of Doha Toastmasters Club)

I too saw “Ek Tha Tiger”!

I go to see Salman Khan’s movies more for their hype than the content! In recent times, his one movie after another has been a blockbuster. So invariably, I went to see Dabaang and Bodyguard and now Ek Tha Tiger!

As I am writing this on 23rd August 2012, I see reports that this movie has raked in Rs 150.40 crores nett in the domestic market in eight days. Ek Tha Tiger was released on 3,300 screens in India on August 15. Due to the Independence Day holiday, the movie received an earth-shattering response with its collection reaching Rs 32.92 crore nett on the opening day. The movie has shattered all records of previous blockbuster films like Ra.One, Agneepath, 3 Idiots, Dabangg and Bodyguard. Trade analyst feel that it has set a new collection record, which is difficult to break!

At the outset, Ek Tha Tiger is a smartly scripted, crisply edited and stylishly told love story. The action sequences, shot on locations as far apart as Zakho in northern Iraq, Istanbul Dublin and Havana, make a great viewing and yes,  Ek Tha Tiger has stunts that come close to taking your breath away.

Filmed on locations around the world, including parts of the world where Hindi cinema has rarely been to before, the story is about a RAW agent called Tiger who is sent to Dublin to investigate the mysterious ways of an anti-missile technology expert of Indian origin, Professor Anwar Jamal Kidwai (well portrayed by Roshan Seth). The scientist is suspected of passing on classified information to the Pakistani defence establishment. So the Indian spy befriends the part-time caretaker of his home, Zoya (Katrina Kaif) and his pugnacious pug (the dog is called Rocket). No mission is impossible for our man Tiger, and once he marks out his territory and goes in for the kill, his foes, no matter how wily they are, end up in body bags.

However, in this tale of a valiant spy and his all-out war to save the woman he loves from the intelligence agencies of two nations, the outcome isn’t wholly predictable. The hero takes uncharted detours to get to his eventual goal. When the spy struggles with the conflict between head and heart and weighs the pros and cons of falling in love with a girl as shadowy as him, the film tends to slow down a little. But such scenes are few and far between. With actors like Girish Karnad (as Mr Shenoy, a RAW Officer) and Ranvir Shorey (as Gopi, Tiger’s trusted operational aide) in the supporting cast, the Ek Tha Tiger manages to hold the interest of the audience till the end. Though in between one feels that movie has almost ended!

The action scenes appear to be very well filmed, especially the one involving a tram in Dublin! Katrina’s action scenes are also breathtaking! Katrina finally does much more than just singing and dancing in this movie!

There are many lose ends in the movie like instant availability of a get-away aircraft, withdrawing huge amount in Dollars from an ATM (from apparently an INR saving account!). But in the end, these do not matter. When you come out of the movie theatre, you feel as if you have achieved a land mark of having seen a “must see” movie – mainly not to lag behind in any discussions in social gatherings!