Reality TV is becoming a staple across the board, regardless of where you want to make it big there seems to be a reality TV show to fit your niche, and on almost any channel.
Bollywood Star is a four-part series that screened on SBS in mid-2012 that shows the evolution of a reality competition for one lucky Australian to become a Bollywood star. Like most reality shows we start with the huge list of contestants, many of them absolutely atrocious and hard to believe why they would ever even audition.
The first episode concentrates on the first round where the hundreds of contestants are whittled to the final 24 and the second round. Their auditions consist of dancing, an interview with the judges and an acting scenario. Some of which are ridiculously bad and do have me sitting wondering why they would even make it through the editing cut – I swear it’s for the ridicule factor but I’m generally not a reality show fan.
Not being someone who usually watches reality TV I only ever really hear about the bad behaviour of the judges; the nastiness and the tantrums. The Bollywood Star judges are very calm, very professional and very passionate about finding the perfect fit for the industry. They are Anupam Sharma, a filmmaker and the leading Australian expert on the Indian entertainment sector; Dipti Patil, a dancer and choreographer; and photographer, talent spotter and media producer Raj Suri.
It is interesting to watch this series, I think it is really quite different from many other shows because Bollywood is quite specific. The judges talk of Bollywood as more than a career choice, this is a lifestyle, so I found it fascinating to watch Australians from all cultural backgrounds talk to the judges about why they want this. I couldn’t help but get involved and shake my head at the contestants who come in to audition with absolutely no knowledge of the industry, no knowledge of the culture and no talent for the style of dance.
As the episodes unfold the hundreds of contestants are reduced to the final 6 who head off to Mumbai for intensive active and dancing training before auditioning in front of Mahesh Bhatt for the final audition before the winner is announced and offered a part in his next Bollywood movie.
I am not going to say too much because if you aren’t sure of the winner or the way the competition played out I don’t want to ruin it. What I will say is that there are interviews with the final 6 and we do get to know the contestants relatively well and understand their passion for the competition – what inspired them to audition and what drives them to win. There are some definite surprises and some stories that ensure you can’t help but cheer them on.
This series take us into life in India because as the rounds progress the contestants need to practice their craft and immerse themselves into life in India. They meet locals in Mumbai and take what they can from the experiences to add authenticity to their auditions.
Overall this was a series that I enjoyed much more than I ever would have believed.