Monday, November 29, 1999

`Reality TV star`- a new genre of celebs in showbiz

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The boom in reality shows on Indian television has created desi versions of Paris Hiltons and Kim Kardashians - celebs whose claim to fame is reality TV.The US and UK has its own bunch of reality TV stars and India is not far behind, what with popular shows like 'Bigg Boss' and 'Swayamvar' creating stars out of Rahul Mahajan and Monica Bedi.Rahul, who had a controversial image in the media following a much-publicised divorce and charges of drug possession and consumption, finds reality shows a way of connecting with people."These reality shows have given me a way of connecting with people. They know me as Rahul Mahajan, and not as a character in some soap. And when little kids love you and ask for your autograph, it feels good. Showbiz is my way of making a living till 2014 and then I am planning to take a plunge in politics," Rahul said.His journey on reality TV started with 'Bigg Boss' and then he went on to judge a children's dance show. Rahul also chose his second wife by conducting a 'Swayamvar' followed by a public wedding on television.For Monica, who also started off with 'Bigg Boss' on TV, it's a way of finding her feet back in showbiz after her career in acting did not bring her much acclaim."Reality shows have been lucky for me. The amount of love and respect I have got due to these few shows, I did not get from the 21 films I did as main lead. I have got much more attention through these 2-3 reality shows," Monica said.The actress is currently starring in 'Desi Girl' on Imagine TV which will go on air soon and has plans to star in another show.Ashwini Yardi, Programming Head of Colors, the channel which has aired the last two seasons of 'Bigg Boss', agrees with Rahul and Monica."Reality shows offer fame and recognition and more importantly, a way of connecting with people and audience easily, something that was not available earlier. They don't just showcase a professional entertainer but the person behind the profession too. It makes them real and approachable," said Yardi.For most of these reality stars, one successful show opens up a string of them, and they become a staple on this form of entertainment on the small screen.Sambhavna Seth is another such example. She started off as an actress in Bhojpuri films and found her footing in the Hindi industry via 'Bigg Boss'. She doesn't mind being referred to as a 'reality show star'."I have struggled a lot to establish myself in life and have got luxury after a long time. I am surviving because of these reality shows, they have given me a place in the Hindi industry. It doesn't matter to me if people attach the reality show tag," she said.Sambhavna is also a part of 'Desi Girl' with Monica, who is not afraid of being typecast either, but wishes to break the tag with a film."I don't think I will be typecast because I am doing other things as well, when that will come into public view I don't think people will call me a reality show star only. I am doing one more show after 'Desi Girl' and then there is a film happening that will probably break the tag," Monica said.For some, its just another career option while they are still struggling to find their calling. Anmol Bedi, who was one of the contestants on 'Roadies 5.0' on MTV, has no wish to take up acting for now and is comfortable in reality TV zone."I acted in some serials after Roadies and didn't enjoy it. Right now I haven't made up my mind about what I want to do and am happy starring in reality shows," said Bedi, who is also a part of 'Desi Girl'.

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