29 August 2018 | sbasu-47-608737
Light but biting
A seemingly lightweight but biting satire on the reality shows.
An average couple had been placed as a pair of guinea-pigs for a psychological (behavioural) experimentation, by some fictitious arm of government called "Ministry of Future".
Though it, on first look seems to be a kaleidoscope of disconnected events, but it really isn't so., or if it is, it is because the director himself is a celebrated photographer. A photographic story jumps between one aspect of a subject to other, and the seeming gap between the events are expected to be filled by the observer.
The average couple, not only in mind-set, but also in life-style and means, are put into- only to be dreamt - lap of luxury. From the very beginning, the sponsor advertisement starts - from the high-end utilities, to the basic, like vegetable slicers, each sponsor advertises the merits of the product (and everything is live on TV, like in any reality shows of today). The list of sponsor includes the producer of the project too, the Ministry or rather the Government itself.
The subject is taken in such a light-hearted manner, the one is bound to lose a lot of bites, for example the market episode- where the subject's behavior is tested - the preference of one packet of brand X vs 2 packets of Brand Y,... as the marketing researchers do (the Reduced Price Sale Campaigns or Buy one Get one Free,...). This I find to be a quite real life response to stimulus.
If one looks closely, it fits the scheme of an actual market survey research, than the basic behavioral research, of an average household. What prompts the buyer to prefer something and if forced to compromise, on what it would.
Here the subjects being real human being (the subjects includes the audience of the reality show too), they soon get bored, the excitement, the very reason that they had participated (as subject or as audience), disappears. In addition the continuous interference and 'hints' of the 'controllers' too takes out the 'free-will', which is necessary for the average to remain average.
Probably as TRP drops (both the subjects as well as in the Audience meter), the sponsors try to introduce some new angles to improve the score, but still, the 'control' remains firm in control, and after sometime, it becomes too obvious to overlook anymore, and the 'Model Couple' becomes a farce to the audience. Movie audience anyway it was meant to be, but it also becomes so for the audience in the movie. That makes difficult for the organizers to increase the TRP, and then it follows the path that is taken in such circumstances by any TV station, and the actors too face the reality, that any real life actor would face in such circumstances.
Another similar take, on the reality TV and its effect on "Average Persons" was taken in Death Watch. It was definitely a better movie than this. But that was more of Uni-dimensional (single stimulus, not a set of assorted ones), which made the story continuous and coherent, and of course that was blessed by strong central character. This one is a different type of treatment, and has its own merits to boot. Probably not every one's cup of tea, unless one is cynical.