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The Tragedy that is Bigg Boss 4 [Interview]

24th October, 2010

Have you seen TV these days?

No, I’m not talking about the opening or closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games. Nope, not the India vs. Australia cricket matches. Not even the decent shows on Discovery or TLC.

Oh this one time, on TLC, I saw one episode of ‘Man vs. Food’ where the host Adam Richman gorges on a burger with twelve beef patties in 44 minutes! After more than a week, I’m still craving for burgers! AAARRGGHH.

Anyways, I’m talking about the atrocities in the name of TV serials. Like Bigg Boss 4, that comes on Colours. Ugh.

Am I the Only One?

I’m surprised (aghast, really) that some people around me like to watch it. They’ll cancel their evening plans to watch Bigg Boss at 9:00 pm. They’ll call up friends to discuss the gossip around Bigg Boss.

Umm, why?

The outcome of this inquisitiveness: an interview with Miss Y, a twenty-something professional who, incidentally, is an avid watcher of this show!


Me: Good morning, Y! How you doin’ ?

Y: Really? Trying to do a Joey from Friends?

Me: Oh I’m sorry. Thanks for telling me I can’t pull it off. Let’s jump into our first question for today. I’ve watched one episode of Bigg Boss and I couldn’t understand anything. Can you tell me a little bit about the format of this show?

Y: Okay okay. Essentially there are around fifteen contestants who’ve been locked in a house for three months. They have been isolated from the outside world, and that means their phones have been confiscated and they have no access to newspapers or the internet.

Me: You mean, *gulp*, no Facebook or Twitter?

Y: Not at all! And guess what! They have no privacy either. There are cameras in almost every corner of their house, recording everyone’s actions all the time.

Basically the winner of the show is the one contestant who remains till the end. Every week, each contestant nominates two other contestants they want off the show. The ones with maximum nominations then go through a round of national voting through SMSes, etc. Finally, one person is eliminated.

Me: So when does this elimination happen?

Y: Friday or Saturday, I think.

Me: Ouch! That’s brings us to an interesting question. How were these contestants chosen? What’s the “entry criteria” ?

Y: Oh you have to have a controversy, otherwise you can’t make it. Most celebrities now-a-days have a controversy anyway – that’s how they get into the last page of the newspapers. It’s all about publicity! Or you could be a half-n-half.

Me: A what?

Y: A half-n-half.

Me: Huh?

Y: You know, half man, half woman. This time, in season 4, we have Begum Ali from Pakistan.

Me: Transgender! Oh God this is funny. You should use the term ‘transgender’! [As Vishal pointed out in the comments below, Begum Ali is not transgender, but a bisexual cross-dresser.] Okay, so that’s another way of becoming a contestant. Any other?

Y: Well, you could be Kasab’s lawyer. I don’t know how he became a contestant! He keeps sleeping all day.

Me: That scary looking guy? Yup, he’s weird.

Okay, I think I get a good idea of what it takes to become a contestant. Let’s move on to more interesting things. This is a question that has flummoxed me most: Why, for God’s sake why, would you watch this show?

Y: The most interesting parts of the show are the fights and arguments. That is so much fun!

Me: The contestants on this show keep fighting?

Y: Oh yes! All the contestants come from different backgrounds, and sometimes they haven’t had full meals, so they get moody and start fighting. That’s fun! There are love interests too, like the one brewing between Ashmit and Sara Khan.

Me: What? Love interests! Do you think it’s even real?

Y: I don’t think so. Ashmit is probably doing this for publicity and Sara Khan is just going along. She’s too dumb, you know Kartikay?

Me: *Deep Sigh*

That brings me to another point I wanted to talk about reality shows. You can almost judge their intelligence. You can almost feel what the contestant is feeling.

Y: You don’t know if its genuine or not, but you do get an idea of what they’re feeling. It’s not like the movies, where you know the actor is acting. Seeing those contestants react the same way we do in the normal world adds an element of excitement. Especially when they fight!

Me: You love it when they fight, don’t you?


Me: Well, I think that concludes our little interview for today. Thank you so much for taking some time out (during work) for this! I owe you one!

Y: You’re an idiot Kartikay.

Me: I knew that.

(Check out a Weekly summary and detailed Nominations table at the Wikipedia article!)

Deciphering Y’s Words

This interview with Miss Y provided us with some keen insights. Of course, it’s from a single person and not derived from a survey of 15,000 people spread across Metros, Tier I and Tier II cities, and we should be aware of this limitation.

She told us about the format of the show (believe me, I couldn’t understand that part at all!). We then talked about how contestants are chosen, and how weird they are. Finally, we got a perspective to why some people like to watch this show. It’s addictive, and it keeps bringing her back every night at 9:00 pm.

But We’re Missing the Main Point

All this hoopla about controversies, dacoits, fights and love interests culminates to one thing and one thing only:

Advertising money. Rs. 100 crore of it.

Just imagine that much of money. It’s enough to fill a big conference room with 1000-rupee notes. Completely. It’s enough money to buy an entire colony in any major city (all the houses, parks and sidewalks included).

That’s the problem.

Statistically speaking, there is a large audience for such dumb shows. When the audience is large, and the TRPs are high, advertisers flock to sponsor such shows. With lots of money. And when advertisers flock to such shows, TV producers think of creating more dumb shows. And more people start watching it. Vicious circle.

We have to snap out of it. NOW!

Demand better TV programming. You’re paying for some part of it.

26 Comments leave one →
  1. 24th October, 2010 9:32 PM

    damn… I am tired of all the NAUTANKI stuff going on in media! especially this BB4, man it is too much and I can’t take it any more! thank god, I wasn’t the only one after all!!!

    • 24th October, 2010 9:45 PM

      Haha! Let’s start a movement – “Bigg Boss is a Bigg Fail”!

  2. 24th October, 2010 9:41 PM

    Begum Nawajish Ali may not be a transgender, but a bisexual cross-dresser.

    • 24th October, 2010 9:45 PM

      Ah Vishal, what would this blog be without you? Thanks macha, have corrected the text above!

  3. Anusha permalink
    24th October, 2010 9:43 PM

    Nice one….ya i too dont understand why such crappy shows keep popping in every damn channel and all of them hav fanbase :O :O :O

    • 24th October, 2010 9:47 PM

      All of them have huge fanbases! It’s going to take a lot to stop such shows, starting with: loss of profits. Sigh.

  4. 24th October, 2010 10:27 PM

    Forget Big Boss for one moment. Beep. You can’t, its news! I actually saw a not-so-happening news channel covering the gossip and fights!

    That’s the point when we all throw our arms in the air. 😐

    • 26th October, 2010 9:00 AM

      There is hope, my padawan, there is hope!

  5. Anukool permalink
    25th October, 2010 4:09 PM

    Well, it’s already a democracy, so pretty much all our problems would go away if we simply voted them away. To my increasing disappointment, we are not spontaneously eradicating… well, that’s a long list.

    • 26th October, 2010 9:03 AM

      Hahaa!! Anukool-ah! We need mass-mind-influenzers so that they can vote for what we want to be made right.

      The problem with shows like Bigg Boss 4 is that you will have to fight common economic sense. Dude. That show is making money. It’s breaking records in advertising sponsorship. It’s got a gazillion viewers. Who in their right mind will let it go away?

  6. 26th October, 2010 7:43 AM

    its a comedy show. think no more of it. wot do u mean by better tv programming…castle-esque shows

    • 26th October, 2010 9:05 AM

      A comedy show? HOW?!? :O

      On another note, it is difficult to completely spec out “better TV programming” that will suit the 400 million TV viewers in India. One-size-fits-no-one!

      (I am expecting an answer, by the way. How has this show become a COMEDY SHOW!?)

    • 26th October, 2010 11:53 AM

      well. Reality shows rose to prime time because of the emotional factor involved. How they mimicked our responses in real life situations. but as the effect wore off, they decided to add drama or spice to the situation by over-exaggerating issues between people on the show. this over-the-top over-acted drama pieces now evoke laughter rather than any empathy towards the contestants. most of them are obviously scripted, and in cases they aren’t , the contestants go along. Comedy in the name or TRP.

    • 27th October, 2010 5:37 PM

      Hehe – I get it! Yup, they’re funny at times!

  7. Delhizen permalink
    26th October, 2010 4:05 PM

    I say; all channels ( news or entertainment) have gone the INDIA TV way… whatever crap they will show their is an audience for it… If not you and me, there will be some one else

    It is as bad as Hiss going house full… yeah, I was shocked to see the crowd outside a cinema hall for this movie!

    PS: But I admit, I do watch first few episodes of almost every new serial that goes on air

    • 27th October, 2010 5:36 PM

      Hissssssss was house full? What an interesting world we live in! Hehe!

    • 30th October, 2010 6:25 PM

      Whom you kidding? I know you were also standing in queue for Hiss tickets. 😛

    • 30th October, 2010 10:40 PM

      Who me?
      Couldn’t be!

  8. 30th October, 2010 3:15 PM

    I have always felt that reality shows are not real at all but have scrips, shoots and re-shoots. And the trend of glamourising anti-hero(ine) characters is also very dangerous. If we can’t give our kids a Mahatma Gandhi or a Vallabhai Patel, we should at least not give then dacoits and such in the name of entertainment. Reality shows suck big time. But as you say, it is big money and no one can fight big money! 😀

    • 30th October, 2010 10:43 PM

      Reality shows suck big time!

      Yes, yes, and yes!

      If only there was a solution to eradicate the reality of reality shows from the face of this earth ..

  9. 30th October, 2010 6:21 PM

    You managed to watch an episode!!! I think you deserve at least a Shaurya Chakra.

    • 30th October, 2010 10:41 PM

      Finally! Someone who understands the pain that one goes through when watching such shows. Thank you, thank you very much!

  10. 5th November, 2010 11:27 AM

    The audience plays the peeping Tom, lords over the pathetic mindsets of the inmates. They tch tch and give themselves a pat on the back thinking “Gosh am so much better than them”.

    Agree with Prats, you deserve a Veer Chakra!

    • 5th November, 2010 1:31 PM

      Haha! I know!

      And it looks like a lot of Chakras are coming my way – weee!

  11. 7th November, 2010 6:30 PM

    All dimwits in a show which is meant for voyers who watch it knowing fully well that the show is scripted. If there are viewers for Rakhi ka Insaaf then the future of reality TV looks bright 😦

    • 7th November, 2010 8:45 PM

      Haha!! “Dimwits”. Basically, you’re taking away any claim they had over their intelligence (since they didn’t concoct their “moves,” they were anyway scripted). Shucks.

      Thanks for dropping by, Alka. I love your blog – please keep those posts coming!

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