It’s always the fault of the “foreign hand” it seems—whether it be in Indian politics or in Bigg Boss. I finally braved my way through a week of the new season of Bigg Boss and have emerged with my senses scarred, much like after most discussions on Twitter.
To watch this season of Bigg Boss, you have to be truly dedicated to the show. Because Bigg Boss 9 is, ironically, not telecast at 9pm anymore. It’s at 10.30pm. Television producers I spoke to informed me that this isn’t because Colors hopes to destroy fewer people’s grey cells by showing the programme later than they usually would. It’s because, for once, Colors has fiction programming which is doing spectacularly well in the 9pm to 10.30pm slot—shows like Chakravarti Ashoka, Swaragini and Meri Aashiqui Tum Se Hi. It’s a viewership and TRP scenario that Colors will not upset, even for Salman Khan. I know, what has the world come to? It’s undoubtedly a wise move by Colors, but going by what I saw on the show in the past week, it’s really asking a lot from people to stay awake till almost midnight to watch a string of relatively unknown and unpleasant contestants wash dishes, scream at each other and cry copiously.
In this season, like in every season, there’s the usual star cast of one model (Rochelle Rao), have-been actors (Vikas Bhalla who’s already been “eliminated” and Rimi Sen), actor accused of sexual harassment (Aman Verma), former veejay (Keith Sequeira), reality TV contestants (Rishabh and the beautifully named Prince, who only wears sleeveless vests), and random TV stars named Kishvar Merchant, Suyash, Digangana, and a Katrina Kaif-lookalike and foreign import (Mandana Karimi). This season is called Double Trouble because all the contestants were in pairs and the season premiere had contestants sent into the house wearing belts that chained each pair together. Some of them were allegedly real-life couples. All that has now been forgotten as only one couple has survived.
I’ve stopped judging the contestants, because it’s obvious you wouldn’t be on Bigg Boss if your career was going gung-ho. But I do judge what passes off as entertainment and how vile and low it can go.
This is what I saw transpire over the past few days.
We were repeatedly told by the female contestants that the male contestants don’t know how to pee in a commode. That they pee all over the toilet. Aman Verma, who has already been accused of sexual harassment, now has poor urinating habits as a new attribute. As part of a task, TV actress Kishvar was made to crawl on all fours for three hours pretending to be a dog and had to fetch a thermocol bone which another contestant—Rishabh—kept throwing for her. As payback, model Rochelle used Rishabh’s toothbrush to clean the inside of the same toilet which Aman wasn’t being able to aim his pee in—and didn’t inform Rishabh that she’d done so. Kishvar and Keith in the meantime had spat copiously in a glass of water and served it to Rishabh and watched him drink it. During another task, contestants threw food—parathas, mashed potato and spices—on each other’s faces. During a task, in which Rochelle and Rimi Sen had to have a dance face-off, there was a massive showdown over whether or not the men can help them. Off-hand charges of molestation were made against Prince and other male contestants and also forgotten by the end of the episode. Occasionally, Mandana who seems to have gotten everyone’s goat by refusing to scream or shout while telling each person about how they don’t know how to behave, is accused and reminded of being a foreigner. Good old inclusive India.
In between all this, everyone—men and women alike—kept swinging between shouting at each other and crying copiously at various points of each episode. They cry when they speak to each other, they cry when they’re alone, they cry when they’re speaking to Salman. It’s like a watching a mass nervous breakdown on screen.
Reality television of the Big Brother-The Bachelor-Jersey Shore variety is rarely meant to be cerebral and thrives on celebrating ludicrous behaviour, but there is no redeeming feature in this season. The tasks are boring, the people swing between vile to uninteresting, it’s being shown at an unearthly hour and it is symptomatic of the worst of human behaviour and discourse. These are grown adults who are willing to behave like dilettantes at worst and children reared in the wild at best, without the skills or intellect which children reared by wild animals usually display. Which leaves us with unkempt, emotionally wrought and social misfits who can’t use the toilet properly.
I would say watch Bigg Boss 9 to remind yourself of the kind of person you should never end up being.
You can watch Bigg Boss 9 from Monday to Friday at 10.30pm and on Saturday and Sunday at 9pm on Colors.