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Have reality shows affected the Indian psyche?

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By: Pavithra Rao

You might have read too many people writing on how the reality shows are getting popular. There is no doubt that 'reality' is in and the Indian television audience is slowly moving away from the long running soaps.

Television surely has a great impact on the audience. Tulsi deeply influenced the womenfolk of the country. The relationships, the lifestyle, the customs and traditions, the festivals of an average Indian household were much affected by the k-serials, which had a foundation on Indian value system. So, do you think the reality shows will have an impact on the audience?

Well, if you ask me I would say yes. These reality shows are mostly targeted at the middle-class and have affected the youth strongly. Parents in a middle-class family earlier stressed on the importance of education and always wanted their sons and daughters to be either engineers or doctors. Why so? Because they felt engineers and doctors have good career scope. They felt their children would have a secure life once they attain the medical or engineering degree. The stress on education was so much that the parents at some point started feeling that learning fine arts like music or singing and even dancing unnecessary. Sports too were a big no because they felt it offered their children no future.

But now there is a wave of change sweeping in. When people saw Abhijeet Sawant turning into a star overnight, they felt these reality shows are a short cut to fame and money. Here the educational qualifications don't play a role. All you have to have is talent.

There is no dearth of talent in India. But the middle-class always sidelined their children's talent because for them education and academic achievements were important. They knew that the 'first-class' their son scores will promise him an entrance into a good professional college and a degree from a good college would ensure a good job. And a 'good job' was the ultimate goal, as it would secure his life.

Now the mindset of the people is changing. Parents themselves have started encouraging their children to learn music and singing. Youngsters of all age groups are now on a look out for good teachers who can train them well. When Qazi from Fame Gurukul won the title despite lacking professional training in music, the youth again was encouraged to try out their luck in the reality shows. Then came Indian Idol 2 and youngsters flooded the auditions and this time with the consent and backing of their parents.

Even dance competitions like Boogie Woogie and Kaboom attracted the youth. These programmes inspired the children come out with their talent and show it to the world. And then again their parents supported them.

So can we say that today the people, specially middle-class, are looking for short cuts to fame and money? So does this mean that children are no longer dependent on educational qualifications alone to earn bread and butter?

You may draw any conclusion. But one thing is clear. These reality shows are playing a significant role in pushing the youth towards learning Indian music, dance and other forms of art, which were ignored earlier.

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