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telly review

Curious ‘Bigg Boss 5’ contestants

fame, Akashdeep Sehgal, also known for his role in the same soap, Siddharth Bharadwaj, whose claim to fame is his success in another reality show on MTV, Shraddha Sharma, who is also known for her appearance in other reality shows and her association with Raja Chaudhary, another reality show expert(!) and Nihita Biswas (now evicted), the wife of Charles Sobhraj, convicted for several murders, Bollywood baddie Shakti Kapoor, Lakshmi Narayan Tripathy, transgender dancer-choreographer, and social activist... this is the group that has made it to the line-up of reality show Bigg Boss’s edition 5.

Put this disparate group in a house, take away all distractions, and make room for catfights, slanging matches, and conspiracies that could put any saas-bahu saga to shame. The formula is clear for everyone to see — have one person who is loud, prone to abusing and eager to pick up a fight. Pit this person against a more ‘sophisticated’ and, apparently ‘upmarket’  person, after which it is, game on! Now, what does this say about people who watch it or people who are behind this format? Does this mean we are voyeurs who love watching others fight? Most certainly, yes. The participants, of course, are there to get some publicity, anything to keep them in the public gaze. While some know they are not there for the long haul, they try to shout their way into public memory, albeit for a brief while. Their 15 minutes of fame. There are others, who play a careful game, trying to play the sensible and balanced role. The producers are there of course, for the moolah such shows rake in.

While Mondays set the nomination process rolling, Fridays are when Sanjay Dutt and
Salman Khan host the show. Dutt plays second-fiddle to Salman, who himself jokes and needles the contestants. But, going by the standards this show seems to have set for itself, this edition seems to be the dullest of them all. Why would one want to watch nobodies such as a Shraddha Sharma yell at every other contestant, night after night, or a Pooja Missra, in her garish colours, outshout others every other minute, is a question that the channel ‘Colors’ needs to ask. It would have been another matter if the contestants were high-profile. Not that the ugly side of these high-profile contestants is more important, but even by the channel’s logic of bringing in TRPs, isn’t a well-known name more useful? Would one be interested in watching a Siddharth Bharadwaj, whose only claim to fame is a win in an earlier reality show? Television being the medium that it is, celebrities are often made overnight, however transient this fame is.

Meanwhile, new controversy was generated recently over the use of a Maharashtrian surname on the show, with a prominent Maharashtrian group taking offence to the surname. Just the kind of publicity the show requires. A medium such as television creates celebrities who are famous for being celebrities, who win one reality show to reach another, who have made it their occupation to provide just the right sound byte.
Looking at the contestants, one cannot but wonder at how well they have mastered the medium. One can see through the masks these contestants wear, and yet, they continue with their conspiracies in the hope that they will get there. Their few moments in the spotlight and a fatter bank balance. Only to be forgotten as we move on to another reality show. Our one hour away from the realities of our own lives.

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