Bigg Boss 8 and the dwindling Indian intellect

IR #006

I recently put myself through a 4 month ordeal. Something that I had decided that I would never ever subject myself to all these years.. Watching one whole season of Bigg Boss. The Big Brother inspired reality show that locks up celebrities in an isolated house and puts them under the 24 hour surveillance via numerous cameras placed in strategic locations. It was a mixed bag experience where my emotions went from frustration to excitement to anger to irritation.

I always stayed away from the temptation of watching the show even though it made my presence quite irrelevant in office conversations for at least 30% of the time. The biggest draw was not the spicy gossips.. it was just that I was missing out on all the praise my friends and colleagues were lauding on my favorite star for his hosting – Salman Khan. Still I held on… But not for long.

As fate would have it, I got married to a die hard Bigg Boss fan.. and there goes my pledge out the window. Bigg Boss at 9 pm became one of the many things we managed to do together as a couple. Sigh!! Now coming to the show, almost everyone who is reading this might know the format, the rules and the objective (I am not still very clear on that aspect). Anyways, it involves getting a few jobless “non-celebrities” who are asked to live together in a heavily monitored house and do tasks, nominate other contestants, get others evicted and save themselves via unbearable histrionics in the name of entertainment. Why would anyone subject themselves to this? I ask this questions to both the viewers and the contestants. Ok, agreed that the contestants have a sizable sum of money and a chance to revive their career in front of them, but the viewers?? Please don’t tell me… “It’s entertainment”. If this is entertainment, it is an insult to truly creative and innovative entertainers of yore who have given it everything to give the entertainment industry the sheen it has today. Now lets deconstruct this season and list out 10 reasons why this show is definitive of the diminishing Indian intellect. contestants 1. The way the actors behave. These are actors who are used to being in the public eye or in most cases, used to be in the public eye and are very careful of how they look, act and speak in public. How come they throw out all that common sense the moment they step into the doors of the Bigg Boss house? Come on.. even I am on my best behavior when I visit my in laws.

2. Multiple romantic angles among 16 people.  The only time I saw so many link ups and ex beaus in one place was in college when my friend decided to propose to the girls alphabetically. Arya Babbar – Minisha Lamba, Gautam Gulati – Diandra Soares, Karishma Tanna – Rushab Choksi, Karishma Tanna – Upen Patel, Sonali – Gautam, Rahul Mahajan – Dimpy Mahajan, Ali Quli Mirza – Dimpy Mahajan… Seriously??? The Indian audience lapped it up like a hungry puppy being fed milk. Clever casting or bad scripting, one will never know.

3. Predictable eliminations.  I am no soothsayer or Bigg Boss expert as I have never watched the show before but I was able to correctly predict the eliminations after the 1st few weeks. It became the most intelligent deduction program for me. This was one of the many ways I kept myself interested in the show. Guess who will be eliminated based on the screen time they received and past eviction results. My success rate was around 80%. If it was so easy to predict, where is the suspense or entertainment factor?

4. Too many “muddhas” or stands in 130 days.  We all live complicated lives and have our share of ups and downs. Situations where we have to take sides, make tough decisions and speak our mind. I, being quite an outspoken person go through this often in the course of my daily life. But the number of times the contestants have to take a stand in a week are simply staggering!!! Every passing event is showcased as an issue, a matter of importance and warranting an opinion. So much so that the most common statement I have heard from all contestants is this.. “Maine stand liya!!”. From, Puneet’s aggression on Arya Babbar to Gautam’s Nutella fixation.. Is this even reasonable?

5. Unbelievable terrible acting.  I agree that some of the contestants are not actors or wannabe actors but how come they don’t realise it themselves. They should not try to do something they cannot because it comes out as really really pathetic making the show even more unbearable. This is mainly targeted to the emotional scenes that we are subjected to. If you just want to see what is real and what is not, just have a look at the crying scenes of Gautam Gulati and you will know what I am talking about.

6. Open admission of being fake.  Some contestants like Ali Quli Mirza and Karishma Tanna have been openly saying that they are here for the “game”, they are playing the ‘game” to win and they will do anything to win. Now isn’t that itself a reason to switch off the show as it is not exactly what the show is supposed to provide in terms of entertainment?

7. Well planned casting.  Now, the shows creators are not stupid. They know exactly what kind of characters they need on the show to get the TRP’s up. They know what kind of reaction to expect from the audience. Lets have a look. Heartthrob (Gautam & Upen), Small town guy who made it big (Pritam), Washed out actor (Puneet Issar), Regional actor (Arya Babbar), Gay (Sushanth), Bold modern woman (Diandra), Legs (Karishma), A** (Sonali), Strong Motherly figure (Deepshikha), Cute innocent girl (Minissha), Foreign flavour (Natasha), Recent TV actors (Praneet & Soni). Now compare this with the casting in previous seasons, you can find perfect matches.

8. Suspiciously similar Wild Cards. As I was new to the whole Bigg Boss circuit, I was actually looking forward to the Wild card entries thinking it will be a welcome change to the format ( I seriously thought that the Wild cards will introduce a format change). But I was disappointed. More so when I realised that the new entries were just replacements for the evicted contestants. They were quite similar to who they were supposed to replace in terms of character, think about it – One cry baby exited another one entered (Minissha – Dimpy), one firebrand exited one entered (Deepshikha – Renee) etc etc. How could the viewers not see this???

9. The illusion that they are isolated from the outside world. This was a no brainer once I started watching the show. So many film stars entering the house to promote their films giving tidbits on the outside world, “experts” telling the contestants their opinion, shoppers buying stuff for the contestants, wild cards telling them what is being shown outside, exits and entries, and to top it all a party with outside guests!!! Sheesh.. To quote Chandler.. “Can, it get ANYMORE obvious?”

10. No one wakes up that way!!! This is one of the things that I kept telling my wife every time I saw the show. “This is not real!!! No one in the world gets up this way!!!” I need not say more.

Despite all this, Big Boss 8 claims to be the biggest reality show on television and this season proudly declared that it was the most successful one ever as well. If this is the case, my theory of the dwindling Indian intellect and its ability to appreciate quality entertainment programming ha to be closely studied.


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