Due to the ongoing pandemic, leading such a monotonous life is just exasperating us to a great deal. So, to jinx things up a little bit, we can binge watch some cool Indian dating shows which will make us undergo a roller-coaster ride, surmounting each stage and finally getting ‘that one’. And although we often complain these shows to be “heavily scripted”, we only tend to watch them pausing our daily chores.
Here’s a list of cringey yet exciting Indian dating shows to watch
Image: Splitsvilla/MTV India
First aired in 2008, this most-viewed dating reality show on MTV with a close resemblance to Love Island has been winning people’s hearts with its 13 long seasons! Initially hosted by Nikhil Chinapa, Splitsvilla is now helmed by Rannvijay Singh and Sunny Leone.
Revolving around young boys and girls, the entire show takes place in a villa isolated from the reach of the outer world. The show portrays the journey of these contestants to find ‘love’ through different exciting tasks. The survival competition takes place either between the girls or boys or between couples.
The winning couple gets a chance to go to the oracle through voting, which calculates their compatibility. If they get to become the ‘ideal match,’ the couple enjoys the advantage of the power of elimination. Their hard work pays off at the end as the two of them are crowned with the titles of King and Queen.
Although the show aims to find love, it also throws light on how each contestant survives through different tasks. And this whole journey which is peppered with arguments, dirty fights, jealousy, hatred, backstabbing, elevates the level of entertainment and excitement we are missing in our life.
MTV Love School
Image: Love School/MTV India
This reality show which commenced its journey in 2015 on MTV, has hooked us with four complete seasons. Initially hosted by Upen Patel and Karishma Tanna, the next three seasons were hosted by Karan Kundra and Anusha Dandekar.
Unlike the glitz and glamour of Spiltsvilla, this show brings to us real-life couples dealing with some relatable problems of infidelity, lack of communication, commitment issues. The name ‘Love School’ gains its aptness as it aims to solve the major issues of these couples by making them perform different tasks to reignite the lost spark.
The hosts of this show, who are themselves a couple in real life, act as the “love-gurus” of these dire-need-of-help couples whose love life seems to be crumbling. The show added a new twist in season 3 by introducing singles and thus broadening the idea of moving on with a new partner if the issues don’t resolve. Although the tasks were fun to watch, this too involved dirty fights among the contestants, making us grimace at times.
What the Love! With Karan Johar
Image: What the Love! With Karan Johar/Netflix
What The Love! is a dating reality show brought to us by Netflix where the director and screenwriter Karan Johar plays the quintessential “Cupid.” Unlike Indian Matchmaking, this show received a lesser amount of hate. We may credit Johar, who’s a renowned face in Bollywood for directing iconic love stories, to catch people’s attention.
According to critic Surabhi Srivastava, he manages to create a “somewhat believable and endearing personal narrative around each participant”. Strongly believed to be a concoction of the hugely admired American shows Love Island and Queer Eye, the show has six single youngsters helmed by Johar. He is weighed with the task of “prepping” these contestants for their love life by listening to their insecurities, anxieties, and the must-have features in their partner at the very beginning of the episode. And based on these sessions, he customizes a makeover montage (both physical and mental) followed by a blind date. So, in the end, if there’s a mutual likeness in both the partners, they are declared as a couple.
Although we call it a reality show, the show comes out to be another Karan Johar rom-com with a little difference in providing mental support in the latter. Despite the show being total trash and excessively cheesy, it stands out for certain arenas- throwing adequate light on the LGTBQ community, accepting self-love, and breaking the glass ceiling by talking about sex openly.
Skulls and Roses
Image: Skulls and Roses/Prime Video
After receiving huge TRP numbers for the popular shows- Roadies and Splitsvilla, the impertinent twin creators Rajiv Lakshman and Raghu Ram took their creation to a new level by bringing us the ‘Skulls and Roses’ in Amazon Prime.
The show features 16 young, “hot” contestants who embark on a journey that has a good peppering of love and adventure in “Rose Island” in Andamans and “Skull Island” in South Africa. While the former island is all about extravagance, chivalry, and budding romance, the latter takes a toll on the participants with debilitating tasks.
Although the show begins with the formation of a couple at Rose Island steered by Rajiv Lakshman, the show soon attains the goal of “survival of the fittest” as the participants have to undergo daring adventures in Skull Island (led by Raghu Ram) to earn the winner’s crown. However, it couldn’t even match the success parameters of the former shows and was tagged as “mindless entertainment in a cringe-worthy show”.
MTV Dating in the Dark
Image: MTV Dating in the Dark/MTV
Do looks really matter in love? Inspired by the American series of the same name, MTV India’s show, which had its first season in 2018, throws this dilemmatic question to us through this show. Hosted by the gorgeous Nora Fatehi, this show brings three men and three women to a pitch-black room where they get to explore each other’s personality, smell, and can touch each other in complete darkness. In the following stages, the contestants rummage through the minute details and belongings of their dates, and the anticipation builds up after the revelation when they are supposed to meet on the balcony.
Inspired heavily from the balcony of Romeo and Juliet, we are left with the question of whether the lovers will meet on the balcony or not. Although the show aims to address a valuable question, it becomes sensational and highly awkward at times.
MTV Elevator Pitch
Image: MTV Elevator Pitch/MTV
Before this show, it would have been of utmost stupor that an elevator can be used as a dating ground. “Speed-dating” being the central theme of this MTV India’s show, it has ten boys on ten floors who would woo a girl in the elevator within the limited time frame of just 30 seconds for each boy! Sounds interesting, right? Hosted by the youth icons Cyrus Sahukar and Gaelyn Mendonca, the show sets apart from the scripted bickering fights of the contestants and promises quirk, wit, and a fun watch.
Channel V Dare 2 Date
Image: Dare 2 Date/Channel V
Revolving around the notion of “opposites attract,” this show on Channel V was highly loved by the Indian youth. The demand for another season was so high that the creators brought in season 3 with the ex-Big Boss host, VJ Andy. He plays the role of both cupid and devil as he tries to couple two participants who are poles apart. As the show progresses, the question of whether “opposites” will attract each other or fall apart seems to devour us!
Written by Swarnali Dutta