reality tv


DU Beat recently got a chance to interact with television’s new dance sensation and a DU alumnus, Ryan Martyr, who is currently showcasing his dance moves on the dance reality show ‘So You Think You Can Dance’. A contemporary dancer by profession, he wants to build a tree house and organise a buffet for dogs if he wins the dance reality show. Excerpts:

DUB: As an alumnus of a popular DU College like Sri Venkateswara, is there any anecdote you’d like to share with us that you can recall from your days as a member of Verve, the Western Dance Society of Venky? What is your take on DU’s dance circuit in general? 

Ryan Martyr (RM): I earlier wanted to become a footballer. But when I got into college, I “just for fun” auditioned for the western dance society. Surprisingly, everyone loved me and instantly started to believe that I had the potential to be a professional dancer. That’s how I began dancing. My take on DU’s dance circuit is that I feel it gives a budding artist multiple opportunities to showcase his/her potential. The competition and the whole vibe pushes you to grow exponentially. Its absolutely wonderful.

DUB: As a member of a dance society, you must have attended quite a lot of fests at DU. Which college was your favourite to perform at during fests and why?

RM: My favourite college to perform in was Venky itself. The reason being that performing in front of your own college and home crowd gives you a high like none other. The cheering before and after the performance makes you want to push for greatness and definitely brings out the best in you.

DUB: Looking at your immense experience at such a young age, who is that one person/personality that keeps you motivated or whom you admire the most and why?

RM: The one dancer who inspires me a lot is Travis wall from So You Think You Can Dance, America. He began as a dancer on the show, then moved on to being a choreographer, then to a judge on the same show and now he is an Emmy winning choreographer. And in fact, I received a shoutout from Travis wall in my first round on SYTYCD India which was definitely one of the happiest moments of my life till date.


DUB: How did the idea of entering a dance reality show crop up in your mind? What is the larger goal you wish to achieve by performing at a platform of such a mammoth nature? 

RM: Honestly, I never wanted to enter any reality show. I just did because So You Think You Can Dance was the only reason I began dancing and as a young dancer, I always wanted to become a dancer of the same quality and so since the opportunity came knocking, I had to answer it. My larger purpose is to inspire people to follow their dreams and live life whole-heartedly. Hopefully, by dancing my heart out on this show I can achieve this.

DUB: Today the youth is driven by money, fame and the limelight that reality TV has in store. What is your take on the increasing commercial interest that has penetrated a creative industry like dance? Do you think this hampers true talent from coming to the forefront?

RM: I believe that before exposing yourself to fame & money, its very important to develop your art first. There is no point in selling stale art. Once your art is ready there is no harm in exposing it to the world. In fact by doing so, you can inspire millions.


“I believe that before exposing yourself to fame & money, its very important to develop your art first. There is no point in selling stale art.” 

DUB: To choose dance as a career option definitely mustn’t have been a smooth sailing for you, given the larger societal scepticism surrounding it in India. What did it take you to convince your parents and family to let you choose your passion as your career?
RM: Choosing dance was easy. I just had to follow my calling. I knew it the day I felt it, that Dance was for me. Convincing my parents was easy because I was convinced and was showing positive results from day one. I was so dedicated to dance that my parents never felt the need to question my decision. But yes, I have gone through many ups and downs which has just made me stronger.
DUB: Apart from Contemporary, which other dance forms do you enjoy performing?

RM: I love doing hip hop and dancehall. Like honestly, at times I feel I am a better club dancer!

DUB: You have participated at the prestigious Britain’s Got Talent too. How was the experience there different from your experience performing on the Indian National Television? 

RM: I got selected for Britain’s Got Talent too, yes, but I could not participate on the show because I was on a tourist visa. But yes, to showcase my raw soul in a country like England where every dancer is so perfect was quite special.

DUB: Would you like to share something about your ‘guru’? Any memories of any college faculty leaving an impact on you in any way?

RM: I honestly have no guru. I learn and get inspired from almost everyone I meet. I am learning every minute. Wherever I am, I find someone or the other to get inspired from.

DUB: You have become a very exemplary figure among the youngsters as is evident from your growing online support. Any message or mantra you would want to convey to the students who wish to pursue a career in dance?

RM: Keep it simple. Keep it true. Make sure everything you do is full of yourself. Live life like you would never ever live it again. And love yourself!

DUB: If you do win the show, what do you intend to do post your big victory? Any specific goals?

RM: If I do win the show, I want to build myself a tree house. And use some money to publish my book, and definitely make a few songs. Probably have a buffet for all street dogs! I just want everyone to believe that Dreams Do Come True. Just work for it. Live a life people would love to read about.

“I want to build myself a tree house. And use some money to publish my book, and definitely make a few songs. Probably have a buffet for all street dogs!”

Image credits: Allan Martyr and Sandeep Chhabra

Interviewed by Riya Chhibber for DU Beat

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reality-shows-in-indiaREAL FUN!

By Tanya Agarwal

A seventy year old man forced to admit to having slept with a prostitute as his tense wife and daughter look on, Rakhi Sawant fluttering her eyes at the camera and accusing participants in her Swyamvar of playing with her delicate heart, Gauhar Khan bursting into tears and piling all the blame for her bad dancing on her hapless choreographer… if you condemn such harmless, albeit theatrical entertainment and say it debases popular taste, then you’re just a puffed up snob who hasn’t yet tried watching the said shows, conveniently assuming that it’s for those with low intellect and no one but the likes of Udita Goswami to look to for amusement.

The supposedly blatant unreality of reality television creates the most unlikely situations and the reaction of the various pseudo celebrities featured in these shows is pure entertainment. It is precisely this that keeps even the cerebral people glued to shows like ‘Big Boss’ and ‘Sach Ka Saamna’. High brow attitudes are out of vogue and society sees no harm in being entertained by any kind of entertainment at all nowadays. Reality shows are the symbols of the age of mass culture that we live in today.

We are so accustomed to the petty dramas of everyday life that they’re no longer of much interest to us anymore. The lives of people like Manmohan Tiwari and Abhijeet Sawant played out on national television therefore, comes as a refreshing change, presenting us with a peek into a world exotically different from our monotonous, scheduled existence. It is amazing fun to watch celebrities on TV and find out how they actually are in real life and whether they truly live up to their typecast roles. It also funny to hear Anu Malik, the architect of songs like “do me a favour, let’s play holi” and “oonchi hai building”, pretend to be a connoisseur of music and dole out advice to participants. Once in a while, it’s good to just go with the deception and sit back and enjoy.

Reality shows not only keep us entertained but they are also a great platform for those with aptitude and willingness to work hard. These shows can be credited with churning out some pretty great talent, examples being Sunidhi Chauhan and Sonu Nigam – both hugely successful singers.

In the end, we are after all, a democracy. Neither is anyone compelled to participate in these shows, nor is anyone obliged to watch them. So cheers to those who can afford to step down from their high ground and appreciate some mindless fun, and to the rest, live and let live, people!


By Aina Mathew

If on one channel you have old men jumping up and cracking coconuts with their heads in the name of entertainment, on another rival one you get chubby little toothless girls prancing around dressed as bais, all to instigate laughter. While Shah Rukh tackles fifth graders, Salman has roti-making competitions with Mallika Sherawat. At absolutely no time of the day can you channel-surf without coming across at least ten reality shows featuring complete madcap behaviour. The idiot box is truly living up to its name these days.

With the overwhelming number of reality shows flooding our TV screens, you’d think we’d get to see fascinating, inventive programmes with something new being offered each day. On the contrary, almost all these shows are rip-offs of popular western shows. ‘Indian Idol’ is an exact copy of ‘American Idol’; ‘Is Jungle Se Mujhe Bachao!’ follows in the footsteps of ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!’; ‘Sach Ka Saamna’ is modeled exactly along the lines of ‘The Moment of Truth’ and so on and so forth, until originality, much less sense is the last thing you’d associate with Indian television. The format is the same, the rules are the same, and everything is the same except the quality, which falls dreadfully below tolerance levels. Our answer to Simon Cowell’s sharp, witty remarks is the sad shayari of Anu Malik who, by the way, takes up more footage than the participants themselves with his histrionics. While western audiences are left shaken by the candid confessions of participants on The Moment of Truth, we have to contend with the ramblings of retired cricketers. Why would anyone want to subject themselves to such torture?

I fail to understand why the producers of all these nutty programmes classify them under reality TV. Whether it’s a stand up comedy competition or a game show or a singing contest, it all eventually turns into a K-serial anyway. Drama, suspense, romance – name it and you have it. All the elements of an Ekta Kapoor hit are intrinsic to every “reality” show that have graced Indian television sets. More than their singing abilities, endurance levels or dancing skill, the talent that always comes out best among participants is their acting. With every elimination, rivals who couldn’t stand being in the same room without a torrent of beeps renting the air turn into friends for life who drown themselves in tears of remorse. Thanks to “reality” TV, our desi Pamela Anderson has turned into a blushing, demure sati savitri who gets a heart attack every time a potential husband so much as brushes against her little finger. If this is all the reality that TV can offer, I’d rather just revert to the saas bahu serials, thank you very much.

In conclusion, reality TV is a complete waste of time and energy. If anyone gains from these shows, it’s the medicine industry that now has a bigger market for headache pills and those resuscitated stars of yesteryears who can finally stop selling water purifiers and scream at wannabe dancers instead.

rakhi-ka-swayamvara300Once in a while comes a show that shakes the very foundations of television sanity. NDTV Imagine’s latest reality show: Rakhi ka Swayamvar takes the cake , with icing and even the cherry on top!

Reality television never got so entertaining. The sky rocketing TRPs are ample proof of that. Detractors of the damsel in question maybe falling over themselves criticizing her as the epitome of “ PDA- public display of annoyance” but love it or hate it the show can become an absolute obsession.

As the recently single television star embarks on her quest to find true love, one can’t help but marvel at the sheer drama of this particular swayamvar. Choosing from a host of prospective grooms who range from an age of 18 to 35, the show is to culminate in a live video cast of Rakhi marrying one of these knights in shining armour. However, the “prize”, which in this case is the fair one’s hand, is not a matter of run of the mill wooing .This picky lady shall ensure the physical and mental agility of her suitors.

Whether it is the sudden transformation of the in your face item girl to the coy lass or the string of the arduous suitors going through obstacle courses to get “the moon and stars” for the lady of their dreams, the high entertainment quotient is undeniable.

A brilliant albeit unintentional comedy, the show has definitely created waves. As the inmates of the desi big brother, gear up to stupefy the small screen Indian viewers with another big bother, you are left with two alternatives. You can curl up your lip in distaste, roll your eyes and waggle your head or simply sit back switch off your brain and unabashedly watch the show for its cheap thrills.