Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sach ka saamna

Star Plus debuted the Indian version of 'Moment of Truth' today and I think it rocks as much as the original, in terms of morbid fasciation quotient for the viewer.

The real meat lies not in one family being torn apart with skeletons tumbling out of its Godrej almirah but the fact that every viewer is thinking: "How would I answer that question?"

When I first saw the phoren version of Moment of Truth on Star World, I thought,"Here is one show that will *not* get Indianised." After all we are a 'khaandaan ki izzat' loving country, would we do such things for money or 15 seconds of fame? (Infamy is more like it!)

Well I was wrong. The very first contestant - Smita Mathai- was an average middle class, silk-sari-with-mangalsutra kind of woman. She answered 12 questions - on everything from parents and inlaws to husband's alcoholism. She admitted she had thought of killing her husband at one point (heh heh - who hasn't :)

But seriously, she gave an eloquent explanation about his alcoholic period and how she could not see him suffering...

Q 11 I thought might do her in: "Are you still married to your husband for the sake of your children?"

Eh - 95% of the Indian population is, and finds nothing wrong with that. "Log shaadi bachchon ke liye hi to karte hain.. aur nibhaate bhi hain. Yehi to Indian culture hai."

Anyhow, Smita's lips quivered, her eyes seemed uncertain but she said "No".
And the polygraph agreed.
Husband whooped with joy.

Q no 12:"If your husband never came to know about it.. would you consider sleeping with another man."

Oops, I thought, she is trapped now. This is a hypothetical question. "If the bank never discovers you have stolen a crore of rupees, would you steal the money?" It's a fantasy and everyone has fantasies!

Now Smita can say "Yes, I would consider sleeping with another man if you never find out". Husband need not get offended because another man is not necessarily Mr Muthuswami next door but perhaps Shahrukh Khan. Or Brad Pitt. Or the dishy gym instructor.

Cosmopolitan magazine says fantasies are healthy, baba.

But Mr Mathai does not read such magazines. He is a hot blooded Indian male and will definitely feel insulted.

Knowing the consequences of saying "yes" Smita says "no".
When the polygraph beeps 'false' she looks surprised and says,"Yeh nahin ho sakta!"

Husband looks suitably crushed, embarassed, takes off glasses and wipes eyes.

Smita leaves the show with zero rupees and will spend rest of her life explaining that polygraph tests are not always true. They are not admissible in court as evidence. That she was tricked.

The truth is she was tricked, kinda. She thought she had 'nothing to hide' but discovered we are constantly hiding things. Even from ourselves.

The makers of this show have every intention of disrobing you -just like Draupadi was, in front of a full house. She had no choice, but Smita did and I wish she had quit when she could... She was too brave for her own good.

Tomorrow there is a thrice married buddha on the show. It will be spicy but you know what, more friends and relatives will snigger behind Smita's back than his. Because the 'morals' of society are supposed to be guarded by the women.

That's why brides in MP are 'tested' for virginity.

And why Rakhi Sawant is asked about hers, from a guy who apparently has a girlfriend back home (but still decides to participate in a swayamvar!)

The fun part is Rakhi got to kick that guy off her show. Which I think makes a statement.. of sorts. It's nice to see such issues being aired - even if is on a show which is about as 'real' as Michael Jackson's nose.

Sach yeh hai ki I am watching 'Rakhi ka swayamvar'. Apart from the drama, the palace is beautiful, and so are her clothes!

Aur ek chhota sach yeh bhi hai that I can't blame my book-in-progress for writing less on this blog. I've just been lazy, and I think I'm getting hooked on twitter. 'Instant gratification' and easier to tweet than blog on GPRS!

I need to remind myself that I am first and foremost a writer.

And so I must write.
Even if it is, about what I think of twitter...

As Captain Kirk might have put it, this blog's mission remains: 'To boldly go beyond 140 characters'

Sach ka saamna - 11 pm, Star Plus. Watch for high drama & Rajeev Khandelwal. And to have something to discuss, at the water cooler.


  1. I did a preview on the show myself and if it would work in the Indian scenario. Have a read :

    Also at the end of the post you mentioned timing as 11PM when its 10.30. Little error :)

    P.S. I hate Rakhi Sawant so can't bear her "swayamwar".

  2. This is dangerous on many levels. looks like I'm missing out a lot though!

  3. Haven't seen Sach Ka Samana as yet. Would add my comments about how it was after seeing it

  4. "Cosmopolitan magazine says fantasies are healthy, baba."

    lol, yeah rite.. we should all do what the cosmo says

  5. By the way, she would have been in bigger trouble if she had said yes and was right.. rather than saying no and being wrong

    Something for your readers to think about :)

  6. Watched "Sach ka saamna" last night...
    didn't feel comfortable...
    Relation are founded on trust... Once you attend such show the foundation is shaken..

    too much at stake for nothing...

    The only gainer here is the Channel :)

  7. This polygraph thing is a bit weird and potentially the channel can easily cheat on it... Just bump off the contestant when there is a politically correct but potentially debatable answer at a high value.. Its just yr polygraph against the contestants truth - nothing is absolute.

    And I was left wondering --- the polygraph just checks the biometric signs of a person when the question is asked. The person could have panicked and got all wrong signs in that period - while thinking abt whether to say Yes or No... Or even just while thinking how the world/family will react to the truth he/she is saying. So is there really a way to say whether the final answer given was true or not. One may easily be panicked by the thought of repurcussions of that truth - even though u are speaking the truth. So how does the polygraph know that the panic state is about the words spoken being a lie - or the dread of a future repercussion of the truth spoken.

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  9. Dear God! No way! This cant be true. Finally the scum of TV comes to India. In hindsight, this seems inevitable.

    Let me tell you what else is inevitable:
    1. Media debates for weeks on how controversial this show is
    2. Some superbad fallout of the show - maybe a marriage breaks up or some psychotic husband decides to take 'kaanoon' into his own 'haath'
    3. More debates, publicity, controversies, ratings for the show for the next 2 months or so after that
    4. (Hopefully) the show gets cancelled or doesnt return after Season 1

    I'm praying for Step 4 to take chronological precedence over 1, 2 and 3

  10. Maam,

    I am great fan of yours. Have been following your blog and your UTV show for a long time now.

    The analogy between brides in MP and Rakhi Sawant is absolutely hilarious. I guess its perfectly okay to ask such a question in case of Rakhi Sawant. She is not some poor, uneducated, village belle. Even you wud agree that the show is a fraud even if it is hilarious!!!

  11. However broad minded I may consider myself to be , I would not let my partner be in a show like Sach Ka Samna . I don't think Indians are ready for a show like this . Because the concept of divorce is still a stigma .

  12. Frankly speaking "Sach ka samna" ,s sach is this:

    .throw money at a activity which gives cheap thrill to people

    .find some scape goat who salivates at money

    & voila and what u have is sach ka samna

  13. Came to your blog for the first time...liked it loads!!!!

  14. I hope i had a TV at my below poverty line u c :)

  15. Heard about vinod kambli in sks on monday

  16. Just like you... even i thought The indian version will be toned down than firangi version but its all same, almost.
    I am amazed too see so many ppl coming down to participate.

    "And to have something to discuss, at the water cooler."

    seriously :)


  17. the link to MP brides tested etc. is not working...please check.

    Nice article!

    - Ardent fan of 'The Moment of truth'

  18. "She thought she had 'nothing to hide' but discovered we are constantly hiding things. Even from ourselves"--just add a "he" also and it becomes a universal truth--great to learn somebody things alike--have always been telling people that though we are taught to be truthful, yet we are always afraid to face the truth.

  19. i think such programs are not suitable in Indian scenario... its ok up to some extent where general, funny questions are asked; but related to personal life, it may create so much problem in many well living homes...... we always have some fantasies, but particularly we Indians compromise at every stage of our life.... and i dont see any orthodox type thinking in this..... it will only benefit the channel......

  20. I think 90% people don't know that the polygraph test on this show is counducted "before" the actual show. There is no polygraph test being conducted during the show, the contestant is asked the same questions again that s/he was asked during the test. The catch being the contestant not aware of the results of the test.

  21. @Debashish: If this is true, it means the participant knows all the questions beforehand.. where is the drama in that? The whole drama is shock and awe and the participants will have to be great actors to pretend shock if they already know the questions..

    @ Rashmi: I really think that as soon as the channel got an answer that they did not like, they made it untrue and forced the girl to leave. She was not lying about it.. if she cld confess to wanting to kill him, infidelity is no big deal..
    I hated the show at that point, and dont think i'm going back.. this is not ethical - to break up real families for the sake of cheap thrills..

    The fact that the show needs a celebrity episode so soon speaks volumes abt it success.

  22. @How do we know

    Exactly my point earlier...

    Just because the polygraph test happened earlier in a private is no solace. The contestant would at that moment itself know that this is a potentially disastrous question for him/her...and the panic of this info going public later would set in that time. Now irrespective of whether one says Yes/No - the tension of the repercussion in life later would be there... which itself could alter the biometrics. The assumption a Polygraph works on - that the person is tense when lying - is not correct here... since one could be telling the truth and tense because there is a 1 in 2 chance of it going public on national TV.

    And secondly - its always the debatable politically correct answer which they chuck someone outon.. Always debatable...since there is no absolute truth. Only their word against yrs...

    Anyways - all said and done.. No one can really accuse anyone of anything... The participants jump in for money knowing all this very well... so who cares! Enjoy the drama...

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  24. I think you got the timing wrong, its 10:30 pm and not 11:00 pm. some days it gets over @ 11:00 pm. ;)
    nevertheless gud take on it, and yes the usp of the show is not that the answer is wrong or right (its pretty obvious when a contestant says 'yes' for a shocking question that its 'sach') the usp is the reason behind that yes, which i think the show missed on elaborating.

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  26. Hi rashmi

    Had a hearty laugh after a long time. your writing is very sharp !


  27. (heh heh - who hasn't :)

    Hmmm... Someone should warn Y.

  28. hmm... I didnt saw the show yet... But I dont think the polygraph test is 100% right..


  29. "The real meat lies not in one family being torn apart with skeletons tumbling out of its Godrej almirah but the fact that every viewer is thinking: "How would I answer that question?"

    That's very insightful.

    Enjoyed reading your blog,


  30. So who do you think can play Jerry Springer in India? Mahesh Bhatt? Pramod Mutalik?

    That was another show I never thought would appear in Indian avatar, but I would be wrong.

    By the way, did you check out Shweta Tiwari showing all her talent to make "Jungle" a success? I think I'm likes this reality TV sh** :-)

  31. Boy.. U r writing like a script writer of Ekta Kapoor serial or 1980s melodrama..

    "Smita's lips quivered, her eyes seemed uncertain" ..
    She is now trapped..
    Husband crushed, takes off his glasses, wipes his tears..

    Good going yaar;)

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  33. Good post. I've watched a couple of Moment of Truth episodes and also thought that this was one show that Indian TV would not air.. and I was wrong.
    What intrigues me is why ppl participate in show like this - is it for the money or to confess their wrongdoings in the hope of being pardoned? If its the money-is it so much more important than getting your name tarnished in front of loved ones, ppl who u interact with on a daily basis and a million random others?

  34. hi, nice to know that someone else can also openly admit to enjoying "sach ka samna"! what's the big deal, i feel. we see worse stuff in the news about incest, murder, suicide and bride burning. and people lose out on the mega bucks because they are always wanting more and more! if only the woman had quit earlier! and as far as the thrice married buddha is concerned, his confessions were so ordinary! normal for most much married men. i am glad to also know that our govt is still made up of ignorant louts who will discuss tv reality shows, ad nauseum, when they have real life drama in their own state - public stripping of a girl (caught on camera, what does it say of our media who continued to film and did nothing to stop it) and gang rapes and ministers telling the people to leave "surat and go back to jaunpur and banaras" if they did not want to live in filth! but never mind, you go back to writing your book, please. the world will be here with its moral garbage and double standards when you take a break! you write well.

  35. i feel if at all these kind of shows r allowed to continue they should be given 'A'rating n their telecast timing should not be before 11p.m. in any case.
    also,there should be no repeat telecast.

  36. Hi Rashmi! I saw Mrs Smita Mathai's episode. I think that the polography machine is not always 100% correct. As during some questions a person maybe in two minds, for eg: Do u think your parents love u more than your siblings? Their are situations in life were a person is not able to select one thing whatever it may be.He sometimes cant judge himself then how can a machine answer the question for which a person is in two minds.I think in such type of questions the machine gives a random answer or maybe the answer is already set into the machine. Anyways, i appriciate your blog.

  37. I found something funny in this show. People including contestant relatives clap when a answer is correct even if it is a bit odd. For example, when it was asked to urvashi that if she has seen male stripper dance, she said yes and her mother was clapping. Isn't Great leaps forward india?

  38. I watched a debate about banning this show (on a news channel). Someone was saying, it comes at 10:30 pm late in the night, does not affect naive one can be or rather deceptive...Ads of this show are being aired at all time to generate required curiosity and one can watch the show on YouTube any time. Tell me, today, which child goes to bed at 10:30 PM??

    People are saying, "what is your problem, u can always switch-off your TV" - The issue is I can, but not the curious kids or the neutral types.

    Some said, Indians follow double standards...cover-up things, dirty at heart. I would say, if that is ones opinion, let it be. We should be happy the way we are. Why do we want to unnecessarily rock the boat in society?

    Tell me one thing, who does not get attracted to opposite sex, even after marriage? It is bound to happen. Does it mean I should go to the town, yell the truth and dump my family??


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  42. Felt the exact same way about 'The Moment of Truth'. I never thought it could be Indianised. I saw only one episode, but thought it was pretty sad.

    It's a lot like Slumdog Millionaire, which was considered poverty porn by many. The difference I see between Slumdog and Sach ka Samna is that, while the hardships the slumdwellers and the likes have to face is entirely our business too, someone else's personal life is not, even if they choose to share it.

    Unlike America, where the contestants have to deal only with their own family after answering questions like those, the Indian contestants have to deal with the forever interfering 'society' and more importantly, perceptions also.

    We are not a non-judgemental and liberal population (This is not to say that other nationals are. Its just that most of them seem to have thought of cheating on their partners, and don't consider it a big deal). This show is going to cause more trauma to the contestants than its foreign equivalent.

  43. Dear friends one think i find weird in this format is customized questions for every contestant.
    Like a married female being asked : do u want to kill ur husband because he is an alcoholic : I mean obviously the lady told the channel guyz tht her husband drinks and she hates it like hell.
    Another example a lady being asked were you molested when u were a kid ?
    For heavenz sake the channel cant ask sumthing which is a truth spelt by the contestant and frame it as a question.

    Its not at all fair. Just a way to earn bucks.

  44. Vimarsh Roshan from Kashmir is model turned actor seen in the top 6 of Grasim Mr. India and on silver screen in J.P Dutta’s Umrao Jaan playing the role of Umrao’s brother, Jumaal. He is currently seen on Rajan Shahi’s Sapna Babul Ka Bidaai.
    He is accompanied by his cousin Shanty Raina, Mother Teja Raina, friends Chetan, Sunny and Kavita Rathore. Check out the questions asked to him on Sach ka Saamna: Sach Ka Saamna Questions - Vimarsh Roshan [Episode 23rd - 14th August]

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  46. Sach Ka Samna is an "instant hit", undoubtly it had to be, Indian Culture epitomises the word "secrecy" so whenever we get an oppurtunity to peek in "someone else's" life , we make all efforts to see through. Anyway! most amazing part about the program is - "Openness". and surprisingly still looking for the INDIAN to SPEAK 21 truths.

  47. this is a great show perhaps the best in iondian tv rajiv is a great host by GOD I LOVE HIM he is the backbone of this shjopw u cant imagine the show without him best ofFUTURE TO THIS SHOW N STARPLUS PARDEEP MALIK ASR PUNJAB 09815969006


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