Thursday, February 26, 2009

How to become a Roadie

Rodies is a highly popular reality game show of MTV. Although I’m not a huge fan of the show; I enjoy watching it due to its unique concept, format, and selection process.

The craze for this show is evident from the thousands of applications they get from wannabe participants, in each city. It differs from the other reality shows in many ways. Here they are not looking for any singers, dancers, actors, pretty faces or so called “celebrities”. It’s an adventure oriented show but they don’t expect the participants to be great athlete or adventure junkies. They generally select teenagers and people in their early twenties, though this is no rule. If judges like you, you can be a “Roadie” irrespective of your age.

All they are looking for is: Rodies. Strangely, they have never clearly stated what qualities they are looking for in the participants. They just want people who are “interesting”. Being interesting or not is highly vague and subjective perception and as a result, anyone and everyone who wants an instant fame tries his/her luck in the Rodies interviews.

Their selection process involves group discussion round and personal interview with the judges. One of the judges is invariably Raghu Ram, who’s the producer of the show. He has virtually given birth to this show, so he can make or break rules, select or throw people out of the show as per his whims and fancies.

The show is made up of series of tasks, which are generally challenging adventurous activities. Based on the participant’s performance in the tasks, few of them get the “immunity”, which means they get immune from the “Vote Out”. At the end of each episode, participants vote one member out who has to leave the show. The Vote outs of the Rodies are high adrenalin drama involving politics, groupism, friendships, hatred, betrayal etc. Add some last minute twists and turns by Raghu and we have the popular game show Roadies!

The most unique thing about Rodies is its selection process is indeed more interesting than the show itself. Raghu quite literally rips apart Wannabe rodies in his own style, which is fun to watch. He’s sharp, witty, funny and has got a great sense of humour. If anyone tries to fake it during the interviews, he/she is gone. He insults and abuses almost all the applicants (including girls). Some of them get insulted so badly, that you wonder why they choose to make fun of themselves on the national television! But, that’s what the sadistic entertainment is all about, isn’t it? It’s always fun to watch others making fun of themselves!!

As I mentioned earlier, there are no predefined criteria to become a Roadie. So based on my observation, I have outlined certain qualities which are must have to become a Roadie.

1> You should be a Punjabi or a Delhiite with a prominent Punjabi accent/tone or Delhi lingo.
This applies to 80% Roadies. I don’t understand this Punjabi and North Indian (Delhi) obsession of Roadies, considering the God of Roadies Raghu is a South Indian. Bollywood is also heavily influenced by this Punjabism, thanks to Chopras and Johars. Every bollywood movie has to have a Sardar. In Bollywood movies, the lead protagonists have to be Punjabis (Remember Raj Malhotra, Simran etc?) C’mon guys, give us a break!!! This is a reality show and not a run off the mill bollywood movie. People from other parts of India are as interesting and funny as Punjabis. This Punjabi overdose has become boring and monotonous. Give us some variety.

2>You must be having impressive vocabulary of abusive words. You should have the ability to swear fluently and abundantly.
Street fighting skills such as shouting, bullying etc. are added advantage!
While watching Rodies or its interviews, one sound which is frequently heard is “beep”. Participants, judges, crew, host abundantly use abusive language on the show. Everyone on show swears around like it’s the vital necessity of their life.

3>You should be irritatingly arrogant.
Here, I’m not using the overly used cliché “attitude” because arrogance is all I can see in the Participants. This so called attitude seems nothing but the fake arrogance.

4>You should not have any talent and should not be an achiever in any sense.
In Chetan Bhagat’s terminology, you should be a “loser” :)

5>You should be endlessly able to bitch, bitch and bitch. More you back bite on the show, more “interesting”, you will turn out to be.

6>You should be highly insecure and jealous of people who are better than you.

7>You should be able to make friends with other losers and plot against those who seem more capable and smarter than you.

If you have above mentioned qualities, you can definitely get selected and even win the show! Just after the show, they telecast Making of Roadies which shows the real efforts and drama behind the scenes. It’s as entertaining as the show. Their team is completely wacky!

The only criticism that I have is the usage of abusive language on the show. It’s really not necessary to swear just to proclaim that you are Cool or Hot or whatever….If abusive language is eliminated from the show, it can appeal to larger audiences. Leave apart abusive language/behaviour and rest of the show is very entertaining.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The 3 Mistakes of My Life: A Big Mistake!!!

The reason why you would want to read “The 3 Mistakes of My Life” is that the author of this book is “Chetan Bhagat”, who’s arguably one of the India’s most popular and (arguably) talented contemporary writers. Just like his two previous books, this book is also based on young people’s lives, their friendships, struggles, etc.

In this book, Chetan Bhagat has played himself. One fine day, a young boy from Ahmadabad writes to him and mentions that he is committing suicide. Chetan Bhagat rushes to Ahmadabad, and after some efforts, manages to locate the boy. Luckily, the boy was saved and he was still alive. Startled by the young boy’s reckless act, he demands an explanation from the boy. The boy then starts explaining 3 mistakes of his life which led him to take such an extreme step.

The boy’s name is Govind. He lives in Ahmadabad with his mother. Govind has two best pals, Ishaan and Omi who later become his business partners. The story revolves around struggles of the three friends, their love lives and their fights. Later in the story, the author weaves religion, cricket and politics which are considered India’s biggest national obsessions.

This book seems more like Chetan Bhagat’s effort to establish himself as a bollywood scriptwriter rather than a genuine fiction. The story is fast paced but the sequences are too implausible. We know that this is a fictional story and not the realistic one, but the fiction has to have logic to be able to impact readers. What one finds in this book is sheer exaggeration and several loop holes in the plot. Climax of the story, which involves a violent fight, is nauseating and gives the feel of a B grade bollywood movie sequence. What’s with the protagonists fighting and killing like criminals? Not convincing at all. The climax fight was meant to be tragic (by author at least!!) but ends up seeming stupid. Even the death of one of the protagonist fails to infuse sympathy in readers due to over dramatization of the scene.

The writing lacks elegance. From literary standards, this can be classified as substandard quality writing. Also, the way Chetan Bhagat describes the female characters in this novel is highly chauvinistic and degrading. Here are some examples:

“Confident women make terrible daughter in laws.”

“Indian mothers have two tasks - to tell children to eat more or study more.”

Many more disgusting sentences can be found out in the book. Such views were certainly not expected from someone who’s IIT and IIM graduate.

The scene where three protagonists visit a beach in Australia and discuss girls’ bodies playing on the beach is extremely sickening. There is a thin line between sexy narration and gross, vulgar description. The author is not literary mature enough to handle the bold inscriptions with grace. As a result, some conversations between protagonists which are meant to be naughty turn out as vulgar.

Chetan Bhagat’s first novel “Five point Someone” is his best work so far. That was the genuine effort from an author and not a wannabe bollywood script writer. Thereafter, the qualities of his novels are declining. Considering the Box Office performance of “Hello” which was adapted from “One night at Call Centre” by Chetan Bhagat, he is better off as an author rather than a script writer. Or maybe Five Point Someone was a mere fluke! We do not want to lose a good author to a mediocre scriptwriter.

Watch a good movie instead of reading this Time Waster.