I usually overlook educative programs whenever I use to browse through the television channels. To be honest, after a certain age I stopped to watch quiz related programs, well I always prefer to give my brain every possible opportunity to chill out and relax. But something happened about a couple of years back, it was midnight and I simply continued to press the remote in search for something interesting. At midnight most of the TV channels transform into some kind of serious sales and marketing platform and I’m really impressed with their presentation. They sale an extremely wide range of products including Health products (specially products which would reduce our weight without any exercise, which would make us fair in just 3 days, etc), Spiritual & Religious products, Memory increasing products, Lingerie products, Exciting yet funny household products and an endless list of many other innovative products.
After I browsed through a hell lot of sales and marketing programs, it was time for me to enjoy some serious quiz. I stopped at a “Pehchaan Kaun?” kind of game show. The right hand side of the TV screen was filled with an image of two Bollywood celebrities, well their entire faces wasn't visible but it didn't take me even a second to recognize the faces and I was 100% sure that it's Shahrukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor hiding behind. The anchor was a damn hot and an extremely talented lady and she occupied the left hand side of the TV screen. At the bottom some numbers were being flashed and the host constantly requested me to just dial those numbers and answer the celebrity names correctly and said that I could easily earn 50,000 Rs.
I wondered that's lot of money for such a simple question, well every Indian is a Bollywood/Cricket expert. I was about to change the channel, but all of a sudden someone called live and the anchor picked up the call. I wanted to feel the caller’s happiness through his voice as soon as he would have earned those 50,000 Rs. But what the hell? He couldn't answer correctly and simply replied over the phone as “Vinod Khanna and Hema Malini”. It took me a while to digest his answers. I mean, how on earth could someone have done such a blunder? For a moment I thought that I might have overreacted and it wasn't fair to have such high expectation from an average Indian. I felt little good and was proud of my intelligence, but never dared to call those numbers. Well, I've decent amount of work experience in telecom domain and particularly Mobile Value Aided services.
I continued to watch the game show and couldn't have waited much longer to hear the answers of the next caller. In the mean time the host repeatedly tried to convince me that I could easily be the lucky winner and advised me to go for it. For a moment I just wondered "How does she knows that I didn't call till now?" But I wasn't tempted to call her and preferred to enjoy the show only as an audience. The next caller answered “Jitendra and Mandakini” and the show continued. I waited for the 3rd caller and she answered “Akshay Khanna and Rani Mukherjee” That time I realized something very fishy about the show. I just couldn't digest the fact that an Indian lady couldn't identify Shahrukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor in that image.
That night I tried to google some information about such kind of TV shows and found few complains about them. It seems those phone numbers are premium numbers with very high call rates(10 to 15 Rs per minute) In such an over populated Bollywood crazy country, just imagine how many calls they use to receive within an hour during the show. They use the kind of technology which keeps the genuine callers on hold and play some recorded voice response, something like "Please be on line, very soon your call will be connected to the anchor"
Also one more thing, I've witnessed few live calls during News, Cricket and some Stock related programs. It’s really interesting to see how an authentic Indian use to react during live calls. It’s something like this:
Anchor: Yes Mr Amit Please ask your question
Amit: Hello! Hello!
Anchor: Mr Amit, can you hear us? Please reduce your TV volume.
Amit: Hello! I’m Amit from Delhi(sound little nervous and very excited)
Anchor: Yes Mr Amit Please ask your question.
Most of the live calls which I’ve witnessed on TV are pretty much similar with different flavors. But in those Bollywood quiz kind of shows, the callers are always straight forward. They don't waste any time and without any excitement they simply use to say 2 celebrity names. I was so much impressed and influenced with the creative mind behind those shows that I enjoyed them for the next couple of days as well. I observed that the callers have similar kind of voice, as if they have a gang of 10-15 callers. How could people think of such innovative ways of making quick money? Initially I was little confused and worried that how could they telecast such shows that too in some reputed TV channels? But later I realized that in a country where everything else is so transparent right from bureaucracy to Babacrazy, from 2 G to Anna G. So what’s the problem with such innovative and creative quiz shows?