The growing popularity of reality TV shows in Tamil, following Bigg Boss Tamil’s success, is now leading its audiences to consume more such content (read ‘directly voyeuristic’). And in its wake comes Arya’s Enga Veetu Mapillai.
The show borrows heavily from the American reality TV show - The Bachelor, that first aired in 2002, but the idea, however, is not completely new to Indian television.
The Bachelorette - Mere Khayalonki Malika that aired in 2013 featured actor Mallika Sherawat looking for her life partner on the reality TV programme. The show, however, had its share of controversy when it was aired.
Colors Tamil successfully launched itself this week, with its first reality TV show Enga Veetu Mapillai. The show has Arya hunting for his “bride-to-be” among 16 prospective participants, a few coming from different countries. The show, the first episode of which aired on February 20, is being hosted by actor Sangeetha Krish.
The prelude to Enga Veetu Mapillai came first in November last year when Arya put out a video addressing his fans and prospective partners. In it, he confirmed that he was indeed looking for a partner to settle down and that the “leaked” video from the gym was true.
In the video he says, “Generally, people look for their life partner through their friends, family, or through matrimonial sites. But I am not like that. I don’t have any demands or conditions. If you like me, and if you think I will make a good life partner, please call – 7330173301. This is not a joke or a prank. This is my life matter, please call at this number. Waiting for your call.”
And Sangeetha revealed on the show that they had close to 70,000 verification calls and 8000 online applications.
The show began on Tuesday with the introduction of contestants - 16 of them in all. Dressed in elaborate sarees and lehengas, the ladies, one after the other, walked down the red carpet. From a college student to a radiation therapist, with a couple of them aged as young as 20, the contestants came up onstage to declare their love for Arya - the show’s ultimate "prize".
With palace themed decor and participants coming in their Cinderella-type chariots the show packed in all the elements required for a fairy-tale setting. True enough, the first few episodes have been shot at the Jaipur Palace, we learn. Over the period of this show, Arya will date all the women, before zeroing in on one to “tie the knot”.
From quirky expressions and hand-made gifts to women getting down on their knees, the show promises to be a drama-dose already. Thirty minutes into the first episode, it begins to dissect female emotions, playing loud on their disappointed faces - are they jealous? Is she crying?.
There’s also no dearth of cheesy lines, with all of them milling around to impress Arya. Just three episodes in, it might be too soon to gauge the audience's responses yet but it's likely that the organisers will keep the show as high on the melodrama as possible to keep viewers hooked.
Are such shows regressive or is reality TV so unreal these days that we really shouldn't bother analysing them? For now, viewers are busy picking their favourite contestants and watching the game as it plays out. Will we see a new Oviya? Maybe!