Reality on the streets







As Colors goes street-hunting for talent with its ambitious India Banega Manch reality show, SANGEETA YADAV talks to the hosts to fathom how big this one really is

There are no judges to score you up, no voting lines for contestants to plead for thumbs-up, no recordings, no nonsense of a typical TV show. There is only one stage, straddling a busy street with performers at work. All applause, all votes are spontaneous and from on-lookers. The best applause will take it all.

This ambitious Saturday-Sunday reality show format goes on air on Colors from tonight 7 pm as India Banega Manch. The contestants have been hand-picked by the channel from across India and their task would be to impress the general public largely unaware that they will be deciding their fate.

“This will be the first time on Indian television that the unaware on-lookers will be judges and contestants will have to perform live outdoors in the backdrop of historic monuments. The cameras are hidden and crowd will not know that there is a shoot going on,” Mona Singh, the show’s hostess, tells you.

Talking about the format, she adds: “Krushna Abhishek and I don’t go on stage, instead signing in and out from the control room. The talentbaaz performs and whoever can stop the maximum number of people during the performance becomes the winner of that episode, thereby getting a ticket to the semi-final in Mumbai”.

The best Singh saw was the kid Preetam Kumar from Bihar. He was not a part of the contestants. But at New Market in Kolkata, he came up on stage, wanting to dance. The director gave him permission and the applause he drew from the gathered crowd gave him an entry into the show.

The show will not only hunt for India’s favourite talentbaaz but also promote street talent. “This one is an attempt to recognise street talent. Like Preetam, who came from nowhere and was not even a part of the show, became a talentbaaz. More such people will come out and perform,” Singh feels.

Impressing the audience is an uphill task and shooting in 44 degree temperature at India Gate was quite a challenge. “The contestants had the tough task of luring the crowd and getting them to watch their performance. We were shooting in searing heat with hardly anyone outdoors. Those there chose to be in the shade far away. Before starting the performance, we asked our crew to go up on stage and dance. The performers were a group of girls who were to perform barefoot. It was so hot that we had to halt the shoot for 15 minutes and send in the crew to water the stage so that it cooled down. The poor girls fell sick with sunstroke,” Krushna recalls.

At Dilli Haat, the challenge was to ask women not to shop but gather around the dais. The performers had to literally gather people around them with their performance.

Once, Krushna and Singh disguised themselves to get the act going. “He wore a burka and I a wig and challenged each other to do something crazy. We danced on the busiest market street in Delhi to gather as many people as possible. A few recognised me. It was exhilarating. But we realised how difficult it is for the contestants to draw the audience,” Singh says.


(The article also got published in Pioneer Newspaper –


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