'Youth-centric reality shows don't represent real youth'
By Ruchika Kher
New Delhi, May 4 (IANS) Using 'F' words, pulling each other's hair on trivial issues and manipulative moves that we see on youth-centric reality shows like "Splitsvilla", "Sarkaar Ki Duniya" and "MTV Roadies" do not give the real picture of the country's youth, say psychiatrists and a majority of youngsters too.
Whether it is the foul language used by female contestant Palak in "Roadies 6.0" or the many manipulations in the name of love by participants on "Splitsvilla 2", the games today go meaner with no limits.
But leading psychiatrist Sanjay Chugh says it's not right to judge the country's youth through a few shows on television. The real picture is different.
"To generalise how youth of our country is by viewing a handful of shows for a few months and that too in a conditioned setting is rather unfair and unwarranted," Chugh told IANS.
"There is a specified age range for people to enter such contests. If that age criterion is changed to only for those from 30-40 years, you'd perhaps see people from that spectrum too behaving in similar ways that are described as aggressive, conniving or devious," he added.
Nauman Sait, the winner of "MTV Roadies 6.0", too feels that being in a reality show tests your mental strength.
"Such games are mentally challenging. You have to adapt to different situations where people who are your friends are also the ones against you and still you have to try to look happy. It becomes very difficult to know who is genuine because most people fake on such shows," Nauman told IANS.
Samir Parikh, consultant psychiatrist at Max Healthcare in New Delhi, agreed that people's behaviour had changed over time, but not to the extent as shown on such shows.
"I agree perceptions, thinking and behaviour of the new generation has changed, but I don't agree that reality shows mirror youth of today. Just because a few people are behaving in a particular manner doesn't mean that the entire generation is the same," he maintained.
The youth-centric shows, which have become a rage, are based on the basic premise of testing people in extreme challenging situations and seeing who can survive till the end. Experts say this is the main factor that compels people to behave in the way they do.
"These shows demand and expect you to have great mental strength, tolerance and the right attitude to make your way up when everyone is trying to pull you down. Manipulations and aggression are just strategies and game plans that people work out in their minds in order to save themselves from being voted out," said Chugh.
Said Parikh: "There is maximum arousal in such shows. You are cut away from the world, you are subjected to do the same thing. There is social deprivation, isolation, high competitiveness and then situations are such that one tends to behave in a manner different from normal circumstances."
Youngsters too feel that their generation doesn't endorse stepping on others to move ahead and using swear words without any reason.
Ravisha Jain, a 19-year-old college student here, is a regular viewer of "Splitsvilla" on MTV and "Sarkaar Ki Duniya" on Real, but she maintains that what the shows depict are not the views of every youngster today.
"I'm a young girl too, but I won't use foul language so openly and indulge in manipulations to go ahead in life. It's true that there are boys and girls who resort to such tactics, but it would be wrong to say this is the taste of young India," Ravisha said.
"It is a pity that young, educated people are behaving like this on national television - youth today signifies strength and progress and the behaviour of girls and boys on such shows is not acceptable, whatever may be the reason," said Shantanu Sinha, who works with a BPO.
(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)