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A Show of Friendship

MTV India’s Reality Stars is an attempt to build a genre of youth-oriented fiction series

March 15, 2013 3:06:28 am

Like most of his peers,Nikhil Taneja’s source of television entertainment was the American and British situational comedies. And when he did surf Indian channels,he found Indian reality shows can be addictive. “Everyone has a point of view on reality shows. Even people who hate reality shows end up watching so that they can make fun of them,” says Taneja. Hence,he decided to bring the two ideas — sit-coms and reality shows — to pen Reality Stars – Char Doston Ki Crazy Kahani for MTV India.

The show,which premieres on March 16,attempts to fill the void of quality fictional content on Indian television with a story set around reality shows. “Unlike the daily soaps,this is a finite series that is built around a tight script and film level production standards. It’s a progressive way for fiction in Indian television,” says Aditya Swamy,EVP and Business Head,MTV,India. “The show is along the lines of Suits,Modern Family,” he further adds,citing instances of their earlier fiction ventures such as,Bring on the Night and Rush,which were in the same zone,but of different genres.

Reality Stars is a story of four friends,all of who try to make a mark in Mumbai’s entertainment industry,and how their lives comically get entangled with one reality show — a dig on MTV’s Roadies. It is called MTV Rejects that looks for the most “untalented”. The show is classified as a “dramedy” and the characters are the archetypal strugglers.

Krish played by Gurpreet Saini is the Mumbai “cool dude”,from a rich family who writes for a reality show,even as he idolises Farhan Akhtar and aspires to make his own movie. Rajeev Varma’s character Kuldeep is the small-towner,all brawn and heart,who hails from Gurdaspur and hopes to make it big through reality television. Tanya,played by Simer Motiani,is “every girl rolled into one” whose dreams of becoming an overnight starlet are temporarily on hold,forcing her to earn a living by working at a production house. The quadrangle is completed by Nikhil Sabharwal’s Zameer,the intense romantic from Delhi,who detests reality television and dreams of working with new-age radical filmmakers such as Anurag Kashyap and Dibakar Banerjee. “The story takes a dramatic turn when after the fateful day at the auditions for the show,the lives of these four go haywire,” says Taneja,creator and producer of the show.

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For the 12-episode series,which is modelled on the series-format of foreign sitcoms,it was essential that it had a well-bound script. A four-member team (playwright Adhir Bhat,Siddhanta Mathur and Kautuk Srivastava) of writers,including Taneja,worked for more than seven months. “We have played with different narrative styles,treated it like a feature film,with each episode concluding on a cliffhanger,” says Taneja. The show also uses irreverent humour all through,taking friendly digs on many real-life personalities on its way such as Anurag Kashyap and Arshad Warsi (who appear on the show as themselves). “Most of the Indian shows take themselves too seriously. The coolest form of humour is always self-deprecating and works best with the youth,” says Taneja.

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