But Star Plus’s Sach Ka Saamna — a prime-time game show where contestants bare their darkest secrets — is getting immensely popular with every episode.
The first episode opened to a record rating of 4.59 on July 15, by far the highest in the past two years for any non-fiction programme. And now, India is obsessed with it, four episodes hence.
About 400 viewers from across the country have sent e-mails to information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni asking for the show to be kept on air.
For a society known to conceal its fat underbelly behind the kurta (or salwar kameez), it’s astonishing how many Indians want to go public with their thoughts and fantasies through this popular show.
Star India’s response cell gets at least 400 phone calls a day.
Children, teenagers, housewives and elderly men — largely from cities such as Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Indore — want to be on the show. Haryana tops the list of callers among states.
The channel politely turns them down. Participation is by invitation only.
“People are playing the game in their minds when they are watching it,” says Rajeev Khandelwal, the host. “Some crazy dudes have even messaged me their confessions after watching the show.”
“They are discussing it at work, home and even in Parliament,” he added.
A show-cause notice was issued to Star on Wednesday, over an episode where Yusuf Hussain, a small-time actor, admitted to sex with a prostitute while his daughter sat in the audience.
The actor also revealed he’d fathered a child outside wedlock.
The channel has to reply to the notice by July 27.
On Wednesday, Samajwadi Party’s Kamal Akhtar had said in the Rajya Sabha that the questions asked on Sach Ka Saamna were obscene.
He had cited the episode where the host asked a former Bollywood actor about his visits to brothels.
Akhtar argued that the show was against the norms and values of Indian culture in every way.
Uday Shankar, head of Star India, is believed to have told Soni at a meeting that Sach Ka Saamna was running successfully in 20 countries and all the guests are given prior information about its format.
Asked about the meeting, Shankar refused to comment on the controversy but said “large broadcasting” issues were discussed.
Moment Of Truth, the American original of Sach Ka Saamna, has been banned in two countries: Greece and Columbia.
Mumbai: Some MPs want it banned. The information and broadcasting ministry has threatened to shut down the host channel for use of obscene language on the show. The Delhi High Court has been petitioned to stop the telecast.
First Published: Friday, July 24, 2009, 09:01