Locked down for fun

ByShruti Das

Oct 12, 2020

Bigg Boss has always been notorious for its content. But hate it or love it, you just couldn’t avoid it

Imagine being locked up in a big house with 13 strangers for three months. Sounds scary? And if that isn’t scary enough – imagine the whole country watching your life unfolding in that house. Though, these cons might not sound so pleasant to you – but don’t forget the pros: overnight fame and abundant money. And who doesn’t love these two?

Well surely Bigg Boss contestants do! The show is a popular franchise – all over the world. You are definitely aware of its format, unless you are prehistoric. About 14 strangers (celebrities, and if lucky enough, a few commoners are at times given the chance too) locked up in a big house (under the ‘big’ boss’s supervision – who I reckon is much more just than a voice) for three months. So as you might have witnessed, things tend to get messy inside the house. And contestants often fight it out (literally) to get to the top.

In India, Bigg Boss Hindi – which for years now is being hosted by Salman Khan – is notoriously famous (or maybe infamous?) for its content. Now in its 14th season, the show has been creating waves of controversy since its very inception. And I used to follow the show – on and off, because as they say – hate it or love it, you just can’t avoid it.

So, recently when #BoycottBiggBoss was trending on Twitter, I was not surprised. The reason why it was trending was because of a ‘sexist’ task where female contestants were made to seduce a man (actor Siddharth Shukla, who entered the house as a guest). But again, this I feel is nothing compared with what the house has seen in the past – and that was my reason for not being shocked.

Yes, the house has seen it all. In the first season, contestants were seen dancing in towels and intimates. Then we had Rakhi Sawant – who, obviously, hogged all the limelights. Rahul Mahajan was seen flirting with Payal Rohatgi openly. But the season was still far from what was to come.

The most controversial of all was Season 4 — where audiences had to witness almost everything: from Veena Malik and Ashmit Patel making out in the lawn under a blanket to Sara Khan’s wedding inside the house. It even had the one of the ugliest of fights – the one between Dolly Bindra and Shweta Tiwari.

And this reminds me of Dolly Bindra. She stole the show with her shrill voice and sudden outbreaks   (not to forget her panic attack — which looked more like an attack, than panic). Many were of the view it was nothing but a publicity stunt. And Bigg Boss is famous for such stunts.

Being loud, unruly or picking a fight – were some of the traits some contestants knowingly showed off to be ‘seen’. Be it Dolly Bindra or Gautam Gulati or Puja Missra or Mandana Karimi – these ‘quarrelsome’ contestants did make a mark owing to this strategy. Or is it just how they are? One can never know.

But if you aren’t good with picking fights, then perhaps you need to kiss a frog or two – before you get the prince (or the Bigg Boss winner trophy in this case!). Romance sells, and this show knows it too well. So, in almost every season we see love blossoming between two or more contestants. Kushal Tandon-Gauhar Khan, Karishma Tanna-Upen Patel, Tanishaa Mukerji-Armaan Kohli, Veena Malik-Ashmit Patel – and the list of couples this show has produced are longer. But unfortunately, the duration of these relationships are often short lived.

Bigg Boss couples were often seen making out after lights out, or sometimes cosying up in broad daylight. Gautam Gulati and Diandra Soares – who were contestants in Season 8 — were into each other at some point in the show. But a rumour started doing the rounds that Soares got pregnant after a video of them going inside the bathroom together surfaced (which apparently is prohibited in the house! But when hormones run wild, there’s little rules can do to help).

And where there is love, there will be war – especially when it has varied personalities living under the same roof, all fighting for the same trophy! So it is quite obvious that fights, both verbal and physical, consist of a large part of this show. In Season-4, a contestant Ali Quli Mirza was slapped by another contestant Shonali. Mirza tried to leave the house then and there by climbing the wall, and attempting to jump the fence.

Could it be any more dramatic? Well, it did. In Season-7, Armaan Kohli was not only evicted from the house but an FIR was filed against him because he physically abused another contestant Sofia. These, again, are few of many such instances where contestants had turned the house into a battleground.

If controversies are thought of as synonymous to Bigg Boss, then so are controversial characters. Kamaal R Khan, Bunty Chor alias Devinder Singh, Swami Om, Sunny Leone, are among many such contestants who were brought into the house owing to their controversial background.

But again, one cannot deny the fact that the Bigg Boss contestants are exposed to fame like never before. Even those who were not well-known before, they gain popularity – almost overnight. And many have even made their careers out of this show. Moreover, even if it sometimes goes overboard with their content – it has proved entertaining for audiences to a large extent.

And why not? It has action: contestants beating each other up – sometimes over minor feuds like grocery or cleaning; drama: like faking a panic attack; romance: saying one or two cheesy lines or making out in the lawn. And tragedy: well, not to forget the contestants are actors …so crying comes naturally to some. And if all this doesn’t sound entertaining enough – then last but not the least we have Salman Khan, the show host who often loses his cool and teaches the contestants a good lesson if they are ‘off the track’. Need we say more?

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