Saturday, October 29, 2005

Nach Baliye : Star One does it again!

Nach Baliye was promoted as the 'Next Big Thing' on Star One and holy cow - it seems to be working.

Unlike Indian Idol and Fame Gurukul this reality-cum-talent show format appears to be an original idea. As the official website notes:

Nach Baliye is a show that brings two unique things to Indian television:
1. The competition between real- life couples (all from the television world)
2. The participants competing on a skill, they are not known for (none are professional dancers)

I would add, the show brings out how far folks will go to win prize of Rs 50 lakhs. So over the last week we had the 'comedy round' where Rajeshwari and Varun Badola gave an outstanding 'role reversal' performance.

A sporting Varun donned ghaghra, choli, chotis et al to play the woman while Rajeshwari played the man - their performance floored both judges and the audience!

Why it all works
The real-life couple bit was, I think, a masterstroke. Real life couples have emotions between them anyways hence they hug cry on camera without inhibitions. Or any kind of 'distance'.

The whole idea of the new generation of 'reality' shows is to create an 'emotional infection'. While the characters in a soap opera act and evoke emotions, reality shows set up a showdown of some kind which induce emotions, spontaneously.

In Nach Baliye, for example, it's the long drawn out sequence on Thursdays where couples are asked to move one by one into the 'suraksha chakra'. Those who make it to the next round are relieved and happy, while those left behind start looking tense and even tearful.

The suspense stretches on and on before the results are finally announced - just to add to the anxiety of all parties.

Of course, the judges also add the 'emotion' element to the contest with their sometimes-outlandish behaviour (Saroj Khan got up and gave what looked like a 'paanch sau ka note' to Varun and Rajeshwari, and their choreographer. Why? Because that's what her guruji used to do when she gave an outstanding performance!).

'It could be me'
The other master stroke by the producers was the inclusion of some older couples like Sachin-Supriya and Archana Puran Singh- Parmeet Sethi. The viewer was not expecting much from them, so when Sachin and Supriya put up a dazzling performance in the first two rounds it came as a pleasant surprise.

Everyone likes to root for the underdog and a 40+ couple is - in such a contest - definitely just that. The fact that Supriya-Sachin, through their hard work and dedication, managed to pull off such a feat gives some pride and hope to the vast middle aged couple audience . "Dekho ji," you can hear the Mrs saying and abhi-to-hum-jawaan-hai Mr nodding happily.

On the other hand, I don't particularly care for the Archana-Parmeet jodi (for one I think Archana's sticky-stick parrot green and orange outfit in the last episode was just not suiting her age - or less-than-svelte size).

But hey, that's a very personal opinion.

Other points to note
On the cheesy side, the costume designer emplpyed for the compere Sangeeta 'Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chaand' Ghosh seems to have been given one simple brief: friend-of- the-bride-look at Punju wedding.

On a more positive note, the importance given to the choreographers is heartening. After all, they really have a lot of contribution in the success/ failure of the contestants. Right from choice of song to steps to amount of practice! So it's good that the winning choregrapher gets a Rs 20 lakhs prize.

The strangest thing of all was the message flashed before what is ostensibly a 'family' show which read: "This show may be unsuitable viewing for children". OK, so they had something called a 'sensuous round' but if it's really unsuitable then telecast it after 11 pm!

I'm guessing the message was put in just in case some mahila manch type protested 'you are corrupting our children'. But these days things seem quiet on that front - how many channels can those poor souls battle? They've simply given up.

Soap Opera element
On camera, it's all we-are-one-big-happy-family and its-only-a-contest. But after Sai and Shakti were voted out they shared some grouses with Midday:
- Some couples took as many as 5 'retakes' to get their act perfect - isn't this supposed to be a 'reality' show?
- Some couples made a big deal about their 'injuries' and got unnecessary sympathy from the judges(Archana danced with a neck brace, Shilpa with a broken tooth)

Sai and Shakti had earlier alleged that the older couples were being 'favoured' by judges.

Maybe they are just poor losers but, this could be just the beginning. As more couples bow out the bitching might escalate and we might enjoy an added dose of 'reality'. Which, in turn, will probably fuel more enthu among the viewing public to send in SMS votes.

Bottomline: Indian junta is gleefully swallowing reality shows - but they prefer the naach-gaana routine to 'Survivor' type adventure.

The caveat is that me-too won't work - a Nach Baliye copy for example will bomb. Channels will have to scratch their heads and come up with formats that are interesting and original. And the stakes are high enough now to make that happen!


  1. Well the junta mite be loving the shows like nach baliye but i dont think i got time to watch well knwn couple dance on tv. reality shows must include real ppl not celebrities.. and besides i think the young will prefer survior type of shows more...

  2. Rashmi, I think the guys at Star are genius' and this show just reconfirms that belief. I mean to to think of a dance show and pull it off unlike Sony's 2004 flop 'Dance Dance'. Because not only is this a reality show, it is damn well executed. I mean Star One effectively introduced the stand-up comedy routine in India. Sony is doing something called 'Deal ya no Deal' but I doubt it will survive a season. And Zee has exited the 'Reality' genre totally. Star possibly has the best mix of genres and two great platforms to do showcase them.
    On the 'fairness' of reality shows - you've spoken about this before, and I don't know how fair or unfair they are - as long as it works for me. Obviously, Mid-day will dig up some (truthful???) dirt on the shows, thats their job.

  3. "Unlike Indian Idol and Fame Gurukul this reality-cum-talent show format appears to be an original idea."

    Well, not quite. There is a show in ABC (atleast there was last season)called Dancing with the stars.

    Maybe, the real couple idea is just the new thing.

  4. It is not an original idea. It's a slightly modified format of "Dancing with the stars"

    I await the day we come up with something that's truly original.

  5. Well, I gave them benefit of doubt since I could not figure the show it might have been copied from but as K said, credit goes to Star for pulling it off!

    And speaking of channels making a difference, even shows like Seinfeld did not attract an audience when they were on Zee English. Everything from the channel graphics to the telecast quality sucked.

    Now that Seinfeld is a Mon-Fri telecast on Star World, right after Friends, a lot of young people are watching, and talking about it!

    Asankhya, your point is valid but as long as most Indian homes have only one TV you're going to probably end up watching K serials at prime time... Or shows like Nach Baliye. Kyunki mummy ko pasand hai.

  6. hello Ms rashmi bansal
    this nach whatever only goes to show where as people we are heading !! atleast in other shows you mentioned the guys were common man/woman with stars in eyes so atleast people will vote but pray why vote for celeb couple who i presume have lots of name fame !! and waste an SMS ehh??? if people like me are there than god save indian TV !!!pity no one in india has same enthusiam abt say why jana gana mana is not being played at olympics ?? do they

  7. Hey,nice post...i haven't seen this one yet, but the guys at star one seem to be coming up with some great shows...the laughter challenge's become a hot favorite on the LAN at college lately....

  8. Hey I seriously think a little bit of it is acting - like every episode has to have something going wrong wt some star, and have junta weeping on TV - yeah more masala....

    though yeah it is sure doing the trick - guess an acting challenge is up next where they'll make a movie out of the winners :)


  9. Originality is a myth.

    And no, I'm not Mahesh Bhatt.

    Or Anu Malik.

  10. The concept no doubt is one of the most creative things ever happened on Indian television...the couples are paid a bomb (according to television standards) to appear,act,sob,hug,kiss and dance on the show..........and this new DRAMA is hit with the junta.

  11. Hey Rashmi,
    Liked your views about the show. Star One is a good channel that has innovative shows and some good weekly shows that are not at all boring or cliche like it's elder sister Star Plus. The look and feel of the channel is good, and the efforts are now getting good results.
    Btw my take on nach baliye Here

  12. Crap!!! This is same as the Dance with the stars

    Every indian TV show is more or less a unique show only as long as you don't realise that it is a copy or a remake. I have said this before and I repeat again, We are good at reproducing stuff, right from our schooling days, how could we ever expect ourselves to be creative, when we never made a conscious effort to be creative.

  13. nice post...
    my two cents:
    Though the concept of the show is really innovative...I dont believe that its a reality show at all!!!
    Its embelished & over-dramatised...

    Want Proof?
    Well, in the FIRST elimination(thats in the second episode), two couples(Rohit & his wife and Maninee and Mihir) were apparently at a tie i.e. their composite scores were the same...
    In this case, the couple with the least audience votes got eliminated...

    well...Rohit got eliminated...

    Now..if someone goes through some simple calculations here...
    Rohit's team had gotten a lower score from the judges than maninee & mihir....hence, for them to be at a tie (unless the composite score is made up of more parts than the judges score & the audience votes), maninee and mihir should have gotten lower number of votes from the audience and hence they should have been eliminated....

    This observation isnt a result of some detailed hit me as soon as i watched that episode and was waiting for someone to bring the issue up...

  14. "reality-cum-talent show format appears to be an original idea"

    whose original idea, complete copy from fox reality serial "so you think you can dance".

    star tv Executives cant get a original idea if there lives depended on it.

  15. hi
    this is with ref to the show dated 24th nov. delnaaz n rajiv are again n again being voted in inspite of their "OK" performance and last night was THE height. they ousted Archan n Parmeet one of the best dancers in Nach Baliye after Sachin n Supriya. Guys what's going on. ppl say tht they are winning based on viewer's vote but hey who knows how many votes have they actually got? we just have to take the anchors' words for it and i don't think that Indian junta is such a big jerk to vote Rajiv (aka DUCK) again n again to success. Something definitely fishy here.

  16. i like tv shows like nach baliye ndd more . i like em as they r very interesting in watching nd there is also some humour in it nd judges like saroj nd malaika make it better

  17. really magical show i really enjoy this keep it up

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