By Durga Chakravarty
New Delhi, Dec 10 (IANS) Bigg Boss made a thundering debut on the small screen in 2006. The controversial reality show has made headlines season after season, and has been tagged as one of the highest-rated shows on Indian television. However, it seems the show is devoid of much of its glitter this season.
Bigg Boss in India is based on the show Big Brother, which was first aired on Dutch TV in 1999. Originally sketched as a social experiment, it was designed as The Truman Show in real life. Since that day, Big Brother format has run 448 seasons in 54 franchise countries and territories.
The show also drew inspiration from George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, where Big Brother was a fictional character, a totalitarian dictator. The novel spoke of a future where each and every person would be under constant watch by surveillance cameras, even inside their own homes. The intention was to generate fear, suspicion, and insecurity among the masses. The show aims at setting up a similar atmosphere within the house among the contestants, by placing them in a confined milieu for months under the constant surveillance of CCTV cameras.
Bigg Boss arrived in India with fanfare in 2006 and Bollywood actor Arshad Warsi was the show’s first host. The show has now run for 14 seasons successfully. However, things have not been as exciting lately. Faced with the threat of ending up with one of the most boring seasons ever, the makers have now reintroduced a few older contestants such as Kashmera Shah, Rakhi Sawant, Vikas Gupta, Manu Punjabi, Rakhi Sawant and Arshi Khan to spice up things.
Could it be that, instead of merely bringing back past contestants, the makers should have focused on bringing back a few of the past tricks that made the show so popular among hardcore fans?
IANS has listed a few key ingredients that made the show legendary in India, ones that fans would surely love to see back in the show.
Bigg Boss, when it started, was all about game play, strategy and manipulation. The current season is anything but that, courtesy open nominations. This leaves the show open playground for politics and trivial quarrels. For example, a task was given where housemates were asked to nominate openly by using foam on the person they wanted out of the house.
Usage of the confession room
In the preceding seasons the famous Big Boss confession room was accessed by one housemate at a time for nominations in a weekly ritual. These nomination shows were watched by millions and added the X-factor of the show. The contestants would be seen talking to the voice of Bigg Boss for rhyme and reasons as to why they are nominating the other housemates. Once the nomination process finished, Bigg Boss would then announce the names of people who have received the maximum votes and were up for eviction. None of the other contestants knew who the other one nominated in the cloak and dagger process.
The confession room has only featured once in the 14th season, when Rubina Dilaik broke down in the show in the earlier days.
Fake evictions used to be one of the most interesting segments of the show. The fake-evicted contestant would be taken into a “secret room”, where they would be staying for a few days and keeping constant vigilance on what each contestant is saying or doing behind his/her back. The secret room created more mistrust amongst the contestants. Translated, that meant more drama.
They say that hungry can kill for food. Food deprivation has been the root cause for several famous fights over theseasons. The “luxury task”, as it was called before, had things such as coffee and chocolates among many other things. Though in the current season there are sponsorship named tasks for luxury goods. Earlier, there was a budget. A board along with the prices of these goods were given and the contestants had to be in the budget to buy them from Bigg Boss. This created a very strong economic system inside the house, thereby leading to more feuds.
The Jail was introduced in Bigg Boss about a couple of years ago. Unlike the Red Zone in the 14th season, the Jail was for punishing housemates over bad performance in the tasks. However, in the 14th season the makers came out with a Red Zone, which was mainly for those who were being nominated. The Jail has not featured so far in the current season.
The contestants have always been the centrepiece of the show. Bigg Boss has seen popular names such as Sunny Leone, Pamela Anderson, Sreesanth, Carol Gracious, Shamita Shetty, Jade Goody, Andrew Symonds and Bani J among many other names, and such people grabbed eyeballs.
(Durga Chakravarty can be contacted at [email protected])