Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Fame Game

In a couple of hours from now the winners of the Fame Gurukul contest will be announced and I have little doubt that 'jodi no 1' is going to be Qazi and Ruprekha.

Why? Well, there were only 3 choices. The boy-boy jodi of Rex and Qazi will never get enough votes. Rex and Ruprekha? Well, going by the Indian Idol precedent the winner is going to be the better looking one.

My daughter Nivedita puts it quite simply. "Mummy", she said, "I want to vote for Qazi. Why? "Because he is nice, he has curly hair.". Rex? "No, he is fat..."

Uh huh. So it's really not about singing talent, which incidentally, all the three finalists on Fame Gurukul don't rate highly on, in my book. The talent on Indian Idol was far better).

Draamebaazi and crocodile tears are what sustained interest in Fame - and of course, the antics of Qazi.

Qazi is one of those 'born performers'. He knows what buttons to push with an audience - that's how he's logged in 60 lakh votes already.

The voting decision is based on a 'blink' moment, who people feel they 'like' more. It could be Qazi's 'puppy dog eyes', his silly grin. The fact that he's a Hrithik look-alike and dance-alike could have worked against him but surprisingly hasn't.

The multi-channel blitz
What is interesting about Fame is how Sony has managed to raise a mediocre show to a much higher level through a series of alliances.

Most visible (and relevant) was the MTV-Fame Gurukul tie up where V J Sophie took viewers 'behind the scenes', right after the original show aired on Sony.

Then there's what appears to be a TV Today tie-up - the show was 'aired' on Red FM 93.5 and tonight Aaj Tak devoted its entire "Aapka sawaal" show to the question of 'who will be the next Fame jodi'.

A mini-site has been set up on Sify where you can watch videos of shows you might have missed etc.

The idea being, wherever you turn you have Fame Gurukul pouring out of your ears - so like it or not, you can't ignore it. Of course, all this must have cost Sony big bucks but that's what it will take from now on to build big shows.

On a final, and personal note, I also like the fact that Qazi is a Kashmiri. His winning Fame Gurukul would, I think, bring in a much-needed connect between the youth of Kashmir and the mainstream of India.

So yes, my vote was with Qazi and Ruprekha - and it would surprise me greatly if results turn out differently. Let's wait and see... !

Update: Qazi and Ruprekha DID win.

The amount of time Mandira "dunno-why-she-is-popular" Bedi took to announce the winners truly got on my nerves! It was timed perfectly though... 10.30 pm onwards 'AajTak' flashed the Qazi-Ruprekha 'fame jodi' as Breaking News. (!) The channel had already thoughtfully lined up the families of the winners - in Srinagar and Kolkata - to gush about their honhaar bachche.

So a non-event became national 'breaking news' and gets a full half-hour show devoted to it as well.

The ratings which come in (likely to be good - as there was no interesting 'real news' on other channels at the time) will lead to many more such 'advertorial' tie-ups. Be sure that Nach Balliye will use a similar strategy, with Star News in its own channel portfolio.

The ultimate irony, isn't it? 'Reality shows' and their contestants becoming more real and newsworthy for viewers ... than reality itself.


  1. More than the results, I am glad that it is finally over. Hope my family would have something better to watch on TV. But then, I am not so sure.

  2. Surely Quazi will win. Not that he does not have talent but he also has looks. The general perception among people upto an extent more or less, is based on looks. And not to mention how we indians are soooo looks concious and obsessed. Remember Sawant winning over Sana. It was question of choosing best among equals and sawant had edge over sana in that matter. And why you think media is so much behind Sania Mirza rather than Anju george or as matter of fact other eminent sports personality from other feilds (other than our (loser)cricketers). We read much written about hockey and football but how many can identify major hockey or football player other then Dhanraj Pillay or Bauchang Bhutia???

    Not asking you to agree with my view but Looks Does Matter

  3. I agree with Psychedelic. Looks matter, regardless of whether we admit to it.

    A book, is ultimately, judged by its cover.

  4. Hi,

    I think the only good thing that this show has done is that it has shown no pretense of being a 'singing talent' show. It never was, which makes me accept the fact that people choose all other silly things over the singing talent.

    And true, the level of singing was much better in 'Indian Idol'.


  5. In a recent live concert of Hariharan that I attended he sumed it up all. He said in Hindi "Music Aajkal Sunane ki bajaye dekha Jane laga hai"

    Can I add more words to that thought. I dare not.

    PS> Sunshine, don't be fooled. A TV channel does not invest so much money into creating celebrities out of ordinary talents to let them be forgotten. Medira Bedi stays there & so would these two winners. Like them or hate them TV will ensure you can't leave them.

  6. Looks don't matter. But no matterhow many times you say it, people DO judge by looks. Warren Harding error.

  7. they over-dramtized the whole thing...and tie-up with MTV was last nail on the coffin.
    Its all abt marketing I guess, otherwise who cares abt..Sawants/Sanas and now Qazis etc.

    Btw, Star-One after being revived by 'Great Indian Laughter Challenge' has again hit the jackpot in the form of 'Nach-Baliye'.

  8. I did think Rex would win over Quazi. But then again, I thought Amit Sana should have been the Indian Idol. It is so little about musical talent, then, isn't it?

    Liked your endnote.

  9. i guess they are also nice to fat ugly ppl just to show that they are based on talent.
    the band viva or whatever had that ugly fat chick mahua???????
    just to prove a point that its talent not looks that matter.
    in their second video all of a sudden their necklines dropped to low levels.
    quite predictably i guess there wasnt a third video.

    id say ditch this ugly chick in fame jodi. make arpita the winner.
    thats what ppl want isnt it?

  10. Even I thought so. Qazi and Arpita would have made a better jodi. Considering that the four are at par on singing talent I don't see how Ruprekha would match up with Qazi. BTW Have any one heard Ruprekha's comment on Rex after winning the contest. "I was always apprehensive about Rex. He would tease me and put me off," a website quoted her. Opportunism at its best.. Huh.

  11. Sony is having their tenth anniv bash today and all three people will be singing away to glory. I don't know if you noticed the latest cover of India Today. Even more Gurukul. But I do agree with your comment about the better looking ones winning. Even though the IT cover looks positively scary.

  12. After all is said and done,wht stays with me is the fact that Qazi was constantly pulled down by his peer group.None actually thought he deserved to be amongst them.But then,the underdog made it.

    Call it what you will - looks,draamebaazi,etc etc. ,but the dude persisted.

    Or was this done to make the viewers feel good?

    Hehehe,if only truth was wht met the eye..:)

  13. I was one of those Qazi-who?s till the poll shwed up on the Jam wesite. Saw one episode of the show, too little singing, but the show is aptly named.

  14. I would've like Arijit and Ruprekha to become fame jodi.But anyways...The best part of the show for me was Ruprekha's "Chandani Raatein..." It was truely amazing!She sung it brilliantly.

  15. I have never been a follower of these so called talent hunts.Unfortunately my folks at home follow this stuff religiously from the Sa Re Ga Ma's to the Indian Idol and god knows what all and I have been forced to sit through some of these excruciatingly painful shows. For my part, the Fame Gurukul show served a different purpose: whenever I returned from office down & out, I realised that this show was extremely funny and had the potential of setting my mood right. Now anything that can do that is not bad at all: so I ended up watching a lot of Fame Gurukul but not for its talent quality (or the lack of it!) but the whole facade of how important the competition was to the participants and how their careers depended on this! That chic from MTV kept showing participants bitching about each other/faculty/judges/the world and what not. The whole setup looked so artificial that not for once did I give any serious thought as to who should be the winner! However, the one person I really despised was Qazi. Apart from the fact that he really looked and sounded dumb and could not sing better than the dog that sits in front of the HMV Gramophone, the thing that most pissed me off about him was the fact that he had airs about him which proclaimed," I am the best thing that happened to music since Elvis Presley"

    Good that he has won. Reassures my faith that all such talent hunts are rigged.

    What irks me is the fact that we seem to be going the American way of developing 6-month icons like Viva, Asmaan, Abhijeet,Ravindra and now the blue eyed boy from Kashmir!

  16. Sony doesn't really need to shell out much for entering into such media tie-ups. These channels basically enter into some kind of a contract whereby they decide to share content. Its a way to reach out to all segments of the audience, even the serious, non-entertainment types, hence shooting up TRPs for all the partners in crime. Of course its easier for STAR to do something like this as they have a whole range of channels. What Sony did was only slightly different as Mtv and Aaj Tak are both non-Sony channels.

  17. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  18. Hey Rashmi,

    Haven't seen a new post for some time... Hope it's not to do with any more trouble with the IIPM thingy...

    Looking forward to your articles as always...

  19. Mandira "dunno-why-she-is-popular" Bedi

    ROTFL :)

  20. Hey whatever you have mentioned is very true !!! I wanted Rex to win and he didn't win for the same reason your daughter mentioned.

    Anyway there are always better ways for the losers ;-)) and i am happy its all over !!!

  21. Hey the best thing for me is that I did not watch a single minute of "Shame Gurukul" eventhough Mandira was 1 of the hostess. Anyway that Qazi has a face that makes me throw up, and the fact that he (?) won makes me wonder if India is a such a huge confederate of morons and dunces. Great nations have the most dimwitted commoners no doubt sirreee !!!!

  22. How can we Indian people be so kind that we are voting Kazi when other eligible persons are available .....Just because of their public stunts.....LoL.

    No doubt we have som many criminals roaming around in the parliament....

    Three cheers to us :)

  23. Qazi looks like a malnourished version of Hrithik Roshan!!
    that cud be a reason for him being the indian idol ...oh wait...sorry...
    fame jodi ka hakkdaar!

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