The Resurgence of Celebs: The Reality Show Way

Kisholoy Roy | October 10,2010 03:41 pm IST

Today, reality shows are not just a means to our entertainment but have also captured our imagination in a significant manner. Reality shows have proved to be the cash cow for various television channels in the last few years.

For quite sometime, it is being observed that celebs, who had somewhat faded into oblivion, are making a comeback of sorts through the reality show route. In the past, it was observed that amateurs used to participate in such shows and these were judged by some of the biggest names ruling the business of entertainment. But with the reality show clutter across channels, a recent trend that has been observed is that the reality shows are often being judged by some of those yester-year celebs, who were once at the peak of their career graph and then their career prospects took a plunge.


The phenomenon is not only ensuring eyeballs for the show but also gave a fillip to the celeb’s otherwise 'finished' career. Viewers always have that 'curiosity factor' intact and, hence, the celebs belonging to the above said category do provide fodder to quench their curiosity. Viewers are inclined to know more about them, what are they doing presently, and also the reason why their careers took a plunge. The encouraging TRPs provide the much-needed mileage to the celebs in terms of garnering better career prospects for themselves.


Examples of celebs belonging to the above said category are not hard to seek. Sudesh Bhonsle, Bappi Lahiri, Urmila Matondkar, Isha Koppikar, Ravindra Jain, Amit Kumar, and many more. These celebs have gained popularity, business and recognition for themselves by being featured as judges in various reality shows. Both Sudesh Bhonsle and Bappi Lahiri have reportedly been very candid about accepting the fact that it was the reality show route that brought them renewed name and fame.


Sudesh Bhonsle observed, "Small screen is a popular medium and ever since I have become visible on it, my popularity has gone up. The exposure one gets on television is phenomenal. Earlier, people would just hear our names; now they know us. There’s a lot of money too."1


Echoing Bhonsle’s observation, Bappi Lahiri said, "Earlier, I was popular, but today I’m a star. I don’t run for shows, it is the other way round. I also have a few offers for composing music and featuring in them as well. I’ll also be seen in advertisement, but I can’t disclose the name now."2


Both these celebs can be viewed now-a-days on the Sony Entertainment Television’s reality show, K for Kishore. Lahiri was earlier found to judge shows like Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs and Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2007 on Zee TV.


Dance reality shows like Jhalak Dikhlaja and Nach Baliye featured celebs like Urmila Matondkar and Isha Koppikar respectively. Both the actresses have received a very cold response to their releases at the box-office in recent times, but then the shows helped them to be recognized as some of the great exponents of dance.


Another trend that has been observed lately on the erstwhile 'idiot box' is that some celebs are making a comeback in terms of fame by participating in reality shows. In Jhoom India, a reality show on Sahara Television, we found Sekhar Suman and Vinod Rathod as participants. Sekhar Suman, a popular face on television at one point of time, and Rathod, a leading Bollywood playback singer in the early 1990s, seemed to make an impact on the audience by projecting their singing capabilities.


Dhoom Macha De, a show on NDTV Imagine, is presently featuring singers like Baba Sehgal, Jaspinder Narula, Sapna Awasthi, Sunita Rao, and many more, as participants. All of them were great singing sensations of the country at one point of time. But then they are some names who have been non-existent on the entertainment radar for years. There is every possibility then that the platform provided to them by the above said channel will herald a new lease of life to their almost 'extinct' careers.


The trend seems to be working well for the channels too. Anupama Mandloi, Senior Creative Director of Star Plus, states in this context, "Viewers have an association with celebrities. After a hiatus, when a celeb resurfaces, people’s curiosity is aroused. And this logic is not restricted to Bollywood actors only. Also, some of these faces are cast for their easy reliability and recognition."3


She further makes a mention about the budget involved in making celebrities a part of reality shows and the strategy to be adopted in order to make a show stand out of the ever increasing clutter, as she opines, "Contemporary celebrities are used across various shows and are omnipresent. Budgets also come into play. Ultimately, the idea is to create an interesting mix of personalities from the old, new, niche and different fields."4


1 Kalla Avinash, "Comeback Celebs!", The Times of India (Times Life!), Page 3, February 3rd 2008.
2 Ibid.
3 "Comeback Celebs!", op.cit.
4 Ibid.


He is working as Assistant Professor, Marketing at Globsyn Business School, Kolkata. He has years of work experience in the teaching profession. He also worked with Infoedge Management solutions as a Content editor....