Indian Decade

In Defence of Indian Idol

Some may say it’s low brow. But Indian Idol helps us all understand the country better.

There are few TV shows that get news junkies like me off our staple diet of news bulletins and political talk shows. Thankfully, though, the one show that always manages to do just that launched its fifth season this week.

Indian Idol is a reality-based talent hunt show, similar to the American Idol show. Both shows travel the length and breadth of their respective country to look for that one special singing talent. It’s the only ‘reality’ TV programme that shuns the obscene and the vulgar.

Of course, it’s sometimes melodramatic and one knows the judges mould their behaviour to generate higher TV ratings. But to my mind, there are many, many positives to this show. Apart from giving us an opportunity to listen to some really good singing, what really works for me is the initial few weeks of the show when the crew reaches small towns and nondescript neighbourhoods to scope out talent.

The auditions for the show, held in over a dozen cities, attract thousands and thousands of ambitious aspirants and help acquaint many of us, often cocooned in our big city existence, with people from different parts of the country. I don’t think it would be wrong to say that it allows the viewer to meet all of India. And, at the risk of being labelled ‘low brow’ and ‘mass’, the show continues to be appointment viewing for me even in its fifth year.