The Seamier Side of Life?

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Coming soon to your TV screen, to be viewed in the comfort of your living room- perhaps inspired by the Paris Hilton- Nicole Ritchie reality series, “The Simple Life”, perhaps by the wildly successful movie- “Slumdog Millionaire” … Of course the producers say that this is an original concept they have come up with.

It is UTV Bindass’ new reality show- “Switch”.
The CEO of the channel Zarina Mehta says, “The show will try to bring about life-changing experiences for both the rich and the poor by bringing them together.”

She explains the concept- “12 rich youngsters will be partnered with 12 youngsters from an underprivileged background and they will stay in a slum for 14 days and 14 nights. Together they will complete a number of tasks — like collecting garbage, cleaning toilets and making dung cakes — which is a part of everyday life there.”

But of course the poor kids will not lose out– “each rich participant will help his/her poorer partner’s dream come true which could be anything — building a house for their family or meeting Shah Rukh Khan.”

The casting for this show is very important. Two participants have been selected. The others will be handpicked from across India”.

One wonders what qualifications will be required.

Yesterday’s ‘Indian Express, Mumbai Newsline’ declares- “Zarina Mehta makes rich youngsters experience the seamier side of life.”

Seamier side? I wonder how the people living in slums would like their life to be described like this.

Perhaps the money and effort expended in making such a television series would be put to better use if used to help the people living in slums?

But of course that is not the aim of such a show.

The aim is to show rich kids the ‘seamier side of life.”

And of course to satisfy the increasing demand from viewers for such voyeuristic entertainment.
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26 thoughts on “The Seamier Side of Life?”

  1. Slum tourism is taking off in a big way it seems…the industry has obviously spotted big money. Chalo isi bahaney some of our kids living in an India of their own will at least get to see the real thing in a “realistc” manner.As always, it has to be a gora who has to open our eyes…in this case to the slums we pass by daily with our eyes wide shut.

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  2. This is sick . The rich kids can be shown the seamier side through other ways as well . They just want to cash on the rich-poor divide . Man , the rich are not just richer than the poor , they are making money off their poverty as well . WTH !

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  3. Vinodji- Yes, it is slum tourism! But it seems so degrading to those whose lives they are showcasing!Kislay- Yes, I think so, too. Why should they learn about underprivileged people in this way? They should help them in a constructive way- not arrange for them to meet SRK!

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  4. People have weird glasses through which they view society. And this “Slunmdog Millinonaire” effect of wildly oscillating between two far ends of the economic spectrum, doesnt help an uneducated mind. I wonder who will sponsor this show, and what publicity they will garner. Maybe get a tax break. And giving a house and SRK doesnt help. Maybe the rich kids can help educate all the children of a family, and give them jobs. Run this program over a year and then evaluate. Will they ? No. The entire concept is degrading. And why is cleaning the toilet a seamy thing to do ? Unless of course the Cream of our society do not clean their own toilets. Totally disgusting.

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  5. I am not slum poor , but I was asked to clean toilets by my mother , and I did that willingly . It was an important part of my education , that there is nothing wrong in cleaning your own filth . This among other things like de-weeding the garden taught me the dignity of labour .

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  6. Ugich Konitari- Good question- “why is cleaning the toilet a seamy thing to do ?Who decides if a task is ‘seamy’ or not?Kislay- You’re right. A person should be able to do any job, however menial it may seem, if needed. The producers of this show may not know that in many areas in the slums, the only toilets are the public ones. Wonder if the participants will clean those?

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  7. 24 hour news channels and TVs require loads of content. And inventive producers can put a finger in the air and come up with concepts ! And such concepts around ‘seamier’ sides rock ! And there would be rich and poor who would watch ! Seamier side ! Sigh !

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  8. Seamier life? As Vinod calls it – Slum tourism! Just another way of making money for the producers- is all I can say.. Reality Television is taking things to new , abominable heights!As Kislay says, dignity of labour is so important.. We were taught that no job is ‘bad’or ‘low’ – the only bad thing is not doing a job well! Manju,This post did not come up in my reader.

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  9. Kavi- What is wrong with us that such shows are so popular? Yes, both rich and poor would watch!:(Smitha- Yes, just another way for producers to make money! Such a sad situation!Don’t know why this post isn’t showing up in your reader- blogger does funny things sometimes…

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  10. I know someone who encouraged her child to play with the kids of the nearby slum. She hoped it would make him sensitive to the needs of under privelleged children. He was a nice kid and these kids loved him. But at other times he hung out with his rich friends and had absolutely no respect for money. If his experience had not taught him some good values, then of what use it it? And how far the reality shows are stage-managed is debatable. And it would be sad if the experience for the slum kids makes them disillusioned with life and has an adverse effect on them

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  11. I think you are very right in saying that these shows are insultng and demeaning the people who live and struggle in slums…sometimes these shows, in search of TRPs and novelties, go too far…

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  12. Sraboney- Yes, why should we think it is demeaning? This show will probably be socially regressive in nature- Sucharita Sarkar- And the report says that the rich kids will help the poor ones build houses! Where? As unauthorised structures in unauthorised slum areas? And they will show this on TV? This should be interesting…

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  13. This is a nightmare. Aping taken to such lengths. I so object to the word ‘seamier’ and don’t know wether to laugh or cry about “help them meet SRK”. So the rich kids get thier 60 minutes of instant TV Fame and the poor kids get what???? Instant fame too followed by obscurity and probably more frustration. And what does it say about the psyche and values of people who lap up such shows.Reality Television as seen in the US is a reflection of the declining and warped value systems of the society at large.

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  14. If at all they have to go ahead with such a disgusting show,it just occurred to me that getting some of our netas to participate in this would possibly be interesting. Walking with folded hands, with chamchaas and garlands and sunglasses, through the slush , is so different from living there and experencing the life of those they purport to represent. And the residents will also see the real person behind the public facade.

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  15. Chrysalis- Maybe the rich kids think that some producer will notice them on television and they will get their ‘big break’? And the poor kids- The lives of the child artistes of ‘Slumdog Millionaire have become one big ‘tamasha. So sad if that sort of thing happens…

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  16. if it was focussed more on the attitude of the rich and poor on the same things, it would have driven home a point.why should making dung cakes be considered a poor man’s stuff — it is a part of any household that has farming and has cows and goats — it is so ironic that this is considered a poor man’s thing – collecting garbage — didn’t rich farmers have more cows and goats and more garbage too !all this based on what you have written. i only have a basic tv so don’t know much about the shows that you say.

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  17. Anrosh- Yes, why should making dung cakes be considered poor man’s stuff? And why should we assume that most people in our city slums make them? There are not that many cows there.

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  18. This is seriously WTH?kind of a show!what lengths will we sink to!:((this is sick sick sick!and yet have become numb to it by now because it comes along expected lines..what else do we expect?as it is our tv shows are all made for brain dead people..now this one too…and I am sure that it will get high TRPs:((thats the real sad part:(((

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  19. Indyeah to add on to your comment…TV in general all over is made for brain dead people who also become emotionally and value dead after too much TV watching.

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  20. This is sickening. I thought when everyone said that ‘Slum dog millionaire’ will promote slum tourism, I thought only foreign tourists will do that – visiting slums. But now, we ourselves are going to mint money using the poor people. Will they, at least open schools or hospitals in the slum area where they are going to picturize this serial? Otherwise, somebody should brainwash the poor participants to say that their dream is to have a school and hospital in their slum.

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  21. Sandhya- “Otherwise, somebody should brainwash the poor participants to say that their dream is to have a school and hospital in their slum.”This is a very good idea! 🙂

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