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The real in ‘reality’! A closer look at ‘Bollywood Wives’ & ‘Moving In With Malaika’

Malaika Arora was trolled by her son Arhaan recently over her reality TV show ‘Moving In With Malaika’. The actress who is known for her sartorial choices, was compared to a “jail inmate” by the young fiery Khan. All this would sound like any other drawing room conversation in a regular household where parents and kids engage in taking pot-shots at each other in a fun, jovial manner. Take it a notch higher and we saw how even the best of friends deal with competition and jealousy on Karan Johar’s ‘Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives’. But how real are these reality-based shows and series?

Capitalizing on a reality program is the rising trend in the industry. Getting right into the celebrities’ dining rooms and listening to their ordeals or daily conversations is what makes it a worthy cut for the viewers. Following the massive success of shows such as ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’, ‘Indian Matchmaking’, ‘Bling Empire’, ‘The Real Housewives of Dubai’, ‘Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives’, and ‘Moving in with Malaika’, there are many more on the way.

‘Moving In With Malaika’ on Disney Hotstar

The sheer quantity of shows being produced indicates that they are a sure-fire source of income, which fuels fierce competition among platforms to attract the maximum eyeballs.

Call it a guilty pleasure or cringe watch, but there’s no denying that viewers are curious about what happens behind closed doors. To make it a gripping plot, the creators target plots that are of utmost interest to the viewers, such as is that marriage even working or did, she get a lip job done. These difficult demands, combined with people’s natural curiosity, are what make the reality series a successful show to exploit on.

Sadly, most of these reality programmes have reduced woman to be gossip mongers, however we wonder what makes these women agree to do a show that puts them on a spot. Furthermore, do we get the genuine dose of reality pinch or is it partially scripted? But how much of a sneak peek is enough is a contentious topic.

Malaika who chooses to do this show that allows the audience to literally ‘move in with her’ has been dealt in a way that makes the actor comfortable.

Malaika in a recent interview said, “I am opening but there are also certain things which hold close to my heart, and I don’t think it needs to be put out there completely. A lot of things people know, and I want to put it out the way I deem fit the way. Hear it firsthand from me.”

For instance, the model turned actor Malaika’s stand-up performance was mocked by everyone because it appeared completely scripted.

'Bollywood Housewives' on Netflix
‘Bollywood Housewives’ on Netflix

Similarly, ‘Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives’ forcefully fabricated circumstances to put this show together because it lacked a meaningful plot or structure. From Bhavna and Chunky Pandey renewing their vows to Maheep expressing the idea of coating their children’s milk teeth in gold and applying them on a chain the show’s mindless scripting was mocked on Twitter.

Clearly, the shows are staged in a way that makes the actors feel at ease, and contrary to the reality concept, most of them are choreographed. The important thing to notice is how quickly the realism element appears to fade, and how much of reality is the audience taking in. To be honest, the situation in the show is planted for it to be viable and appealing to the audience.

The authenticity of reality TV programmes has come under scrutiny, and the viewers who watch these programmes are undoubtedly concerned by how it’s being handled. However, it is evident that they are enjoying the shows without being concerned about their validity.

The fierce rivalry to remain relevant could be why many studios and production companies work extremely hard to provide entertainment for the viewers in the most realistic way possible, but the fact is stakes are high and the makers eventually indulge in amplifying the content to serve their best.

By Uma Ramasubramanian