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Confessions of a “reality show junkie”

I was wondering what to write about and I thought I would talk about what’s currently on my mind – television and the reality shows I am doing. People ask me whether I can be selective about doing films because of television. Haven’t I always been selective about the films I have done? In the last seven years, I have made only three films.

Now back to my topic – television!  I enjoy doing television, for various reasons. Just Dance is my 12th reality show. And I feel my name should be in the Guinness Book of World Records for having been a judge for the maximum number of reality shows.

Television is something I don’t have to stress about. I don’t go on television and put on an act. I am what I am and that comes across on screen, and somehow people seem to like that, which is why people keep repeating me on their TV shows.

What’s more, it’s really, really, good money. I shoot for 30 days and I make a lot of money. TV is lucrative for other reasons too. For instance, it has given me a face that people only heard about, till recently. There are many directors and technicians whose names we keep hearing but we don’t recognise them when we actually meet them. Thanks to TV, everyone knows who Farah Khan is… who Karan Johar is, for that matter… even Rohit Shetty became known because he appeared on Comedy Circus.

Television, it also gives me a breather. It is a stress-buster for me. It allows me to live the life I want to live. I can take my kids out. We can go on vacations. 

Television, in addition to it, has also helped me overcome being camera-shy. Doing reality show has helped me overcome the fear of someone watching me. It has made me less self-conscious. My Hindi has improved too, and I even write dialogue in Hindi, which I couldn’t do during Main Hoon Na.

Also, as a director, you’re always on the move. That’s not the case when you’re facing the camera. This has helped me build patience and sit in one place. This will also stand me in good stead when we all start shooting for Bela Sehgal’s film as an actor.

I remember when I was offered to be a judge on Indian Idol in 2004. I was thrilled! I used to follow American Idol and I knew it was just a matter of time before a similar show was made here. And I was right. And when I was offered the chance, I was very open to it. I had just finished Main Hoon Na and I had time to do the show.

Of the 12 reality shows I have done, only two have not done well – Indian Idol 2 and Nach Baliye 4. Other than that, whether it was Jhalak Dikhala Ja or Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar or Entertainment Ke Liye… (in its fourth season) they have all been well received by viewers.

Not many know that I am a reality show junkie and I watch only reality shows. From Bigg Boss to Emotional Atyachar, I watch every reality show. I think they are better than Indian scripted soaps, which I find tedious. Reality shows have better drama to offer. If I feel a reality show is scripted, I stop watching it.

People also ask me if I miss making films while doing television. I have managed to strike a balance between judging shows on television and filmmaking. The good thing about that is that filmmaking does not become a task for me. It becomes a creative process that I enjoy doing passionately. But making a film requires single-minded focus and takes over your entire life. You can’t do anything else. You could say that making a film is like taking care of your wife, while doing television is like visiting a mistress.

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