Falling in love, heartbreaks popular on reality TV

With Valentine’s Day here, love isn’t just in the air, it’s ruling television content too. Youngsters finding love and dealing with heartbreak on reality shows like ‘Destination Love’ and ‘Splitsvilla’ have become quite a hit with audiences.

New Delhi, Feb 13 (Calcutta Tube) With Valentine’s Day here, love isn’t just in the air, it’s ruling television content too. Youngsters finding love and dealing with heartbreak on reality shows like ‘Destination Love’ and ‘Splitsvilla’ have become quite a hit with audiences.

UTV Bindass’ ‘Destination Love’ and ‘Emotional Atyaachar’, Channel V’s ‘Dare 2 Date’ and MTV’s ‘Splitsvilla’ are all shows based on the theme of love that have been attracting a large chunk of the urban youth as viewers.

‘Destination Love’ includes one love seeker and 10 young people wanting to date him or her. ‘Emotional Atyachaar’ could easily be termed the craziest of them all as it conducts a secret fidelity test on one’s partner and captures the emotions that ensue.

‘I like ‘Emotional Atyachar’ because it tests your love. It checks whether a person can really resist temptations and stops where his limit is. These show teach you that commitment requires a lot of dedication. Love is not that easy…so better commit to someone when you are 100 percent sure,’ said Jitin Gulati, a college student.

While ‘Splitsvilla’, which is in its third season, has five couples fighting to stick together and five boys and girls each struggling to cause mayhem between the couples, ‘Dare 2 Date’ is a series that pairs two people who are completely opposite to each other.

‘The ratings for ‘Emotional Atyachaar’ are very high. We basically target these shows at people aged 15-24 years…people who are typically college students or in their first jobs and they are doing pretty well,’ Heather Gupta, UTV Bindass channel head, told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

‘These shows based on love are doing well among this target audience mainly because this is their age of experiencing the emotion and they connect to the shows very well,’ added Gupta.

Unlike Gulati, there are avid watchers of these reality shows not because they test one’s love but because there isn’t much else to watch on television except the usual soaps. Some people admit they just get a kick watching people fight or fall in love on television.

‘I think these shows are cool and funny. Cool because they try and show how love develops and dies in different ways and funny because it’s crazy to see people slapping and abusing each other on screen,’ said 23-year-old Kabir Manchanda.

‘I also feel there’s hardly anything for us to watch in terms of Hindi shows. Even though the ‘saas-bahu’ sagas are over, others that have taken over are made keeping housewives in mind,’ Manchanda told IANS.

Both ‘Emotional Atyachaar’ and ‘Splitsvilla’ recently faced flak from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for showing indecent content, but the popularity of the shows among the youth hasn’t gone down.

According to popular TV actress Shilpa Saklani, channels are not to be blamed for showcasing such shows because there is a demand for such content.

‘I am dying to see ‘Emotional Atyachaar’. I want to grab an episode and watch it because I have been hearing a lot about it but I haven’t had the time to see it. If people are watching it, I am sure it is worth a watch,’ said Shilpa, who was here to promote ‘Destination Love’.

‘It ultimately boils down to who is watching what show and if it is bringing them TRPs, then I guess that’s the future of reality,’ she added.

In the fiction genre too love has been predominant for many years. At the moment, shows like ‘Miley Jab Hum Tum’, ‘Yeh Pyaar Na Hoga Kam’, ‘Mitwa Phool Kamal Ke’, ‘Mahi Way’ et al are popular.

(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at radhika.b@ians.in)

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