When I reach home from work, my brother is usually sprawled on the couch in front of the TV, with some interesting food with him. When he has nothing better to watch, he watches re-runs of MTV Splitsvilla (which are almost always on repeat). On such days, I sit down next to him, gobble whatever junk he’s eating and laugh along with him at the madness that is playing on the TV.
Splitsvilla is quite interesting, actually. I mean once you start watching it, it’s hard to stop before the episode ends. The drama levels can beat Ekta Kapoor’s saas-bahu duo even. The only difference is that it is not saree clad aunties wearing too-much-makeup who are running the show, but skimpily dressed young girls like you and me, with equally bad makeup, who are participating in it.
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We all know it’s scripted. We all know that most of the contestants are struggling actors who only wish to get noticed and receive mini breaks through their little theatrics. And that’s okay, I guess - that’s the story of every reality show. But the case of Splitsvilla is particularly sad ‘coz it actually did start off as a fun show, back when Nikhil Chinapa used to host it. But now it’s all about sleazy games with a lot of touching, licking, (yes, licking) rubbing, kissing involved. Or maybe that’s the only way Indian television can package sex for the young viewers.
But here’s what’s interesting about it. It actually manages to show what’s wrong with our love lives. It manages to show why we, the young and the restless 23 year olds, can’t get love right. Don’t you go “naaw” right away, and hear me out.
So, what is this show really about? About young people “looking for love” and then “fighting for it”, to win it all - love and money. Right? But, what happens later? They probably divide the cash prize and never meet again. And that is exactly what we do to ourselves in our dating lives, as well. We are hardly looking for love, you and I. We are looking for something else that this relationship can give us - maybe company so that the days aren’t boring, maybe sex so that the nights aren’t lonely. Just like these contestants, we have one eye on winning the cash prize and the spare one on our partners. In fact the partners may come and go, as long as we get what we want. Oh, and the “dumping ground” makes perfect sense too, in this context. It’s only obvious that partners are not evicted, but “dumped” in this game of love. Much like our modern day love stories, where we casually “dump” a person, if he or she can’t give us what we want, be it attention, space, money, selfies or whatever else it is that we want. And then we “move on” and survive life by showering our attention and affection on someone else, till it becomes a habit. And then we wonder just where we went wrong?
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Of course everything is exaggerated in Splitsvilla, with name calling, shouting, finger pointing, fist fighting, questioning some girl’s character and chastising the accuser being a norm. But before we go about calling this show silly, it’s important we know why it’s going strong in it’s ninth season - ‘coz in a microcosmic way, it is depicting our lives and those of our friends to us. And we do love this drama that dating in our "Tinder times" has become.
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Published on Aug 16, 2016