Uncertainty looms large on reality TV amid lockdown

Reality TV, more than fiction shows, could be the bigger sufferer.

If television as an industry has taken a hit after Maharashtra government stopped all shoots for the time being owing to the surge in Pandemic in Mumbai, reality TV, more than fiction shows, could be the bigger sufferer.

A number of factors make sustaining non-fiction shows under such circumstances extremely difficult, says JD Majethia, chairman, Indian Film and Television Producers Council (IFTPC).

“Non-fiction shows require huge sets and infrastructure. A lot of planning has to be done on a big level. Contestants come from different cities, and their accommodation and everything else is a huge responsibility. It is a costly affair,” informs JD.

Reports suggest that “Indian Idol 12” has temporarily moved its set to Daman from Mumbai, with a new panel of judges. However, Majethia points out, unlike fiction shows, moving a non-fiction show out of the city isn’t always a prudent decision.

“Moving a huge show to some other city is not only challenging normally, but very challenging right now. You have to be careful during this time that not a single person in the unit gets affected by the virus, so extraordinary care has to be taken. So, it’s not only the financial responsibility but very stressful too,” he points out.

He adds that even if a show moves, the makers might not be able to replicate everything on the new set.

“It may affect the quality of the non-fiction show because, as I said, the infrastructure is created after planning and when you shift to a resort, you may not be able to replicate your set. The content can get diluted as you may not get that stage or lighting,” he says.

While “Indian Idol 12” moved to Daman for now, there is also a new panel of judges. The show used to be judged by Neha Kakkar, Himesh Reshammiya and Vishal Dadlani. Since they couldn’t travel due to prior commitments, lyricist Manoj Muntashir and composer Anu Malik are now judging the show.

Most reality shows are currently banking on episode banks they already have. The dance reality show “Super Dancer: Chapter 4” has an episode bank while “Dance Deewane” is currently being shot at Bangalore.

Actress Madhuri Dixit, who was a judge on the show is not travelling, and dancer-actress Nora Fatehi will be taking her place alongside Tushar Kalia. Dharmesh Yelande has also returned to the show but Raghav Juyal’s place has been filled by comedian couple Bharti Singh and Haarsh Limbachiyaa.

The biggest reality show on television today, “Indian Pro Music League”, will not be shifting. Singer Kailash Kher, an integral part of the show, says that the show has a spectacular set-up and can’t be shifted. The show could run old episodes if the lockdown doesn’t open on time.

“We are hoping that the shoots resume. We cannot go to other locations. The set is like a Hollywood studio set. This is the first time that the production is on such a grand level. We have huge LEDs on the set. When you look at the LEDs, you feel larger than life. The set is huge and the production value is very big. It looks like an international concert set. It is the life of the show and we cannot move it,” he says.

“We hope the lockdown opens quickly. The country has seen a lot of sadness. We hope we can resume. Till then, the episodes which have been aired, we can telecast them again,” Kher sums up.

Agency News Desk
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