It's 8 pm on Saturday. On the two big music channels of India, there's anything 'but' music.
On [V] India's Hottest 3 guys and 3 girls are on display. In the 'packaging' byte the guy is only shirtless. The girl, in a red bikini and a lot of suntan oil looks like she is auditioning for a low budget porn film. She has extra red lipstick, and she's making those kind of faces while some liquid rolls off her mouth.
You get the picture.
Okay, that's only a 1 minute segment, now the judges are asking her a few questions. She is asked to dance. The dress is shiny and poured on but hey, it's only 6 inches above her knees...
On the neighbouring channel, MTV, a bunch of boys have stripped down to their underwear. One of them is rather paunchy and is trying to cover up by folding his arms around his stomach.
And in this 'undress' mode, they are answering G K questions. Like which real life hockey player was the role of Shah rukh Khan modelled on, in Chak de India. Blank faces, mostly. Are they clueless or just concentrating on keeping their stomachs sucked in?
The show, incidentally is MTV Roadies 5.0. And I see very little 'road' on the show. It's a reality show, Survivor style.
Anyhow, the point is India seems to have moved into another zone. A few years ago, when MTV Grind was telecast late in the night I wondered, when will people in India ever agree to wear short, tight clothes and get themselves filmed for national TV?
I think that day is not too far off now...
And no, I am not making any kind of value judgement here. It's more about changing values.
So far, doing something to 'get ahead' has been acceptable. Girls will wear bikinis for a 'Get Gorgeous' kind of contest because they want to become models and that's part of the deal. India's Hottest promises Rs 5 lakhs to the winner and possibly a career in glamour.
Roadies is kind of pointless in that sense. The winner is doing it mainly for the experience, and the possibility of winning money. Only Rannvijay from Roadies 1 went on to become an MTV VJ. Winners in the last 3 years had their 15 minutes of fame and faded into obscurity.
And for those 15 minutes they are willing to shed their inhibitions and their underwear. The irony is that if you ask a junior to do this kind of thing in college, it's called 'ragging' and you could go to jail.
But all's fair in historical love stories, and reality television!