Saturday, November 5, 2011

Small town India makes it big - via reality TV

The reel life story of 'slumdog millionaire' became real when Sushil Kumar went from being a computer operator earning Rs.6,000 a month to a millionaire many times over by winning Rs.5 crore ($1 million) on "Kaun Banega Crorepati".
The 27-year-old from Motihari in Bihar, who went from oblivion to fame and wealth in a matter of 13 questions on the fifth season of the quiz show, is the latest in the many talents from small town or village

Last month, The Suresh & Vernon Group ( The group of 30 youngsters from Mumbai suburbs like Vasai, Virar and Nala Sopara were from lower middle class backgrounds ) won "India's Got Talent 3".

Another rags to riches story was of the Prince Dance Troupe from Berhampur, Orissa. The unlikely stars, including daily wage labourers and two polio-stricken children, won an earlier season of "India's Got Talent" and even got to perform at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.

The trend began in the late 1990s with shows such as "Meri Awaz Suno" on Doordarshan and Zee TV's "Hero Honda Sa Re Ga Ma". Singers like Sunidhi Chauhan and Shreya Ghosal first showcased their talent on these shows before going on to make it big in Bollywood, the ultimate dream of every artist.

Thanks to their success stories, reality shows became a rage in small towns. More aspirational than just an entertainment show.

Many talents found their spot in the sun - Sony's "Indian Idol" turned Abhijeet Sawant into a celebrity post his win while the second season winner Sandeep Acharya from Bikaner in Rajasthan too became well-known. There was also Prashant Tamang from Darjeeling, Amit Paul from Shillong, Emon Chatterjee from Kolkata and Antara Mitra from Maslandapur in West Bengal.

Debojit Saha, a struggling singer from Silchar, Assam, got a new lease of life after winning Zee's "Sa Re Ga Ma Pa", as did Raja Hassan, Tochi Raina and Harshit Saxena.

With time, reality shows have become bigger and better with "X-Factor", "Dance India Dance" and "MasterChef India" vying for TRPs along with the staple prime time soaps.

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