by Diya Barmecha
Each family has their designated activity, in order to spend quality time with each other. For my family, it was the time we shared while watching television together. However, up until recent times we used to only be engrossed in movies. This quickly changed when the new show, Shark Tank India was released. As a child, I often watched the American Shark Tank with my father, where I saw amazing and innovative products. Although I thoroughly enjoyed it, there was a lack of understanding of the market and a cultural difference from the products I used, to the products being sold and to the market they were selling to. Hence, ever since the first episode of Shark Tank India, our family has been hooked. With the judges being candid, entertaining and aggressive, the show is a mix of learning and fun.
Each shark in the panel has their own strengths, in the business sense but also to the entertainment aspect they bring. Aman Gupta, the CEO of Boat and a fan favorite is famous for his Bollywood references as well as his melodramatic sense of humor. On the other hand, women on the panel are the diplomatic yet assertive Namita Thapper, CEO of Emcure Pharmaceuticals, Vineeta Singh, CEO of Sugar Cosmetics and Ghazal Alagh, the CEO of MamaEarth. On the panel are also present the kind Anumpam Mehra, CEO of Shaadi.com and Ashneer Grover, CEO of BharatPe and also the one who unforgivingly tells the brutal truth. With this mix of varied personalities, there are many debates with deals that want to happen. Unlike other versions of the shark tank, in the Indian franchise, the sharks tend to do deals as partners or as a group which shows the interest and the expected success of the product.
These sharks allow for debate, discussion and even jokes. They fight with and amongst each other to make sure they are part of the final deal. Each of the shark’s joke around with each other’s credibility to gain an upper hand for the deal. However, the pitchers who come in know each of their abilities and their credentials.
In addition to the overall entertainment of the show, which canbefound on the Sony Liv App as well as the Sony channel, it is promoting entrepreneurial interests in another way as well. It is catering to the majority Indian audience who do not know many things about business with “Shark lessons of the day” which aim to explain a term or concept about business and marketing to the audience. If they use a term or concept during the deal which is not used before, they also break the fourth wall to look directly into the camera to explain this concept in the middle of the deal for the benefit of the audience.
However, regardless of all this, much like every other Indian TV show there are many parts of this that are staged. Although we can never be too sure of what is real and what is put there to increase entertainment and viewership, it is important to remember that these things are done to grip the audience in. For every show there are always scripted scenes and always things that are exaggerated to create effect. We can call them out on this and even not watch the shows for this reason. However, personally I feel that watching a show like Shark Tank, you have to understand that you are not watching it for their factual accuracy or to become “smart” about business, you are watching it for the simple pleasure of watching companies grow with recognition, reliability factor and the entertainment you gain from watching the debates and the products itself sometimes.
Building up on this, in a recent interview with two of the sharks with the comedian, Rohan Joshi, they mentioned that some of the pitchers had even fabricated and exaggerated their sales as well as their claims since they would be coming on television. However, after this there was fact checking done as well as the showing of documents from which the deal passed finally or didn’t. Even if the story and pitches are fabricated, the deals made are not.
On a much lighter note, the types of products that come are very varied. Similar to the other Shark Tanks most of the pitches are for food and technology related products. The sense of connection and rooting for the pitcher rises when you know the company beforehand. I knew a varied mix of companies before their shark tank debut. This platform allows viewers to watch how and to what extent they grow as a company. From Shark Tank, they get publicity and more buyers. Our family has been a few of these buyers, wanting to try out a few products that came on the show. On the show along with products that make us proud of the new Indian entrepreneurial age, there are also some that are in some sense just “entertaining”. Not to spoil the entire show for you I would encourage people to watch it for the overall rounded entertainment and the tiny sense of business knowledge you gain.
While looking at the show from a technical perspective there are many things that should and can change. Firstly is the lighting. The lighting in the studio is too bright and highlighting of features makes the face seem very bright. With a much subtler lighting, it would be easier on the eyes. Additionally, the Sharks wear the same clothes for a long time so that the editors can mix and match pitches for each episode due to their length and deals. However, this allows the audience to become tired of watching the same clothes. However, even if the clothes can not change, a change in the color and type of clothing can be done. In these episodes, everyone has worn clothes to make them stand out. However, this has enabled the clothes to become tacky in a sense. Contrastingly, American Shark Tank has all the Sharks wear the same clothes for various episodes but they are always wearing subtle clothes and a similar theme so it looks nice in the long run.
On the whole, in India there has always been a perception that Indian parents are not supportive of children’s entrepreneurial pursuits. However, this show has brought the struggles of entrepreneuring onto television where Indian parents get most influenced by. Shark Tank india is becoming one of those shows like Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) where parents are asking the children to come and watch with them. In conclusion, personally I love and would encourage everyone to watch this show or give it a try with a few episodes. Even with its faults, I am awaiting a new and improved season 2.