A rundown on Bigg Boss and what Salman Khan has in store with season eight’s aviation theme
Originally created by the Dutch-based Italian television production company Endemol in 1997, Big Brother was first broadcast in the Netherlands. It quickly became an international franchise with many regions developing their own versions.
The format of the show involves a group of people (known as inmates) being locked in a custom-made house with no contact with the outside world. Cameras fitted in the house follow the inmates everywhere. Each week members are given specific tasks and at the end of the week the group nominates three to four people for eviction, after which the public votes for the one they want to save. The person with the least number of votes has to leave the house and the last one standing is the winner.
Bigg Boss India
The first season of Bigg Boss was broadcast in India in 2006 and in it, Rahul Roy, the forgotten 90s actor, emerged the winner. Even though it did absolutely nothing for his career, the show became a platform for B- and C-listers to try to revive their flagging careers.
There have been many success stories, but, ironically, none have involved the winners of the show (except Gauhar Khan). Anyone remember Ashutosh Kaushik, Vindu Dara Singh, Shweta Tiwari, Juhi Parmar and Urvashi Dholakia? Anyone?
The show, with its ridiculous tasks, has always attracted rumours that it is staged – some have claimed that contestants who pick fights and create scandals for the ratings are paid more to be on the show. This has been the trend since the first season, when the outspoken celebrity Rakhi Sawant became even more popular after the show.
Raja Chaudhary, known as an alcoholic who beat his ex-wife Shweta Tiwari (who went on to win season four) and got arrested for beating his girlfriend, was notorious for his misogynistic attitude, often towards his fellow contestant Sambhavna Seth.
Bigg Boss also unleashed the abusive Kamaal R Khan (popularly known as KRK) on Indian audiences. That pint-sized terror, who claims to be the Shah Rukh Khan of Bhojpuri-language films, is now a social-media personality.
The most notorious of them all, though, was Dolly Bindra from season four. She came to be known as the epitome of drama queens. In subsequent seasons, if anyone was being abusive and picking fights for no reason, people would scoff and say that they were trying to pull a Dolly Bindra.
Imam Siddique’s skin-coloured bodysuits, outrageous circus make-up and intimidation of other inmates, and Armaan Kohli’s fits of rage are probably still fresh in the audience’s mind.
The success stories
While most contestants are remembered for their controversies, there are some who have risen above that. Sunny Leone, who came to the show as a small-time adult-movie star, was signed to appear in a mainstream film by Mahesh Bhatt, which was followed by other film gigs. She even hosts a programme on MTV.
Gauhar Khan, who won season seven last year, is still on a high, having landed several TV and film roles since her Bigg Boss stint.
Being trapped inside a house and having no contact with the outside world often leads to contestants bonding and creates couples. While most play the love card to win over the audience’s sympathy so they don’t get voted out, there are four couples who are still going strong.
The most controversial – Kohli and Tanishaa Mukerji – had everyone talking, especially when her family – her mother, the actress Tanuja, and her sister, the superstar Kajol – openly condemned the relationship. There were even rumours that Kajol’s husband, the actor Ajay Devgn, was putting pressure on Colors channel to evict her, but that they refused because the romance brought in the ratings. There was also public outrage over Tanishaa accepting Kohli’s aggressive behaviour – including towards her. The couple are together – on September 14, the playback singer Mika Singh, a close friend of Kohli, tweeted to congratulate the couple on their forthcoming wedding.
Other couples who’ve weathered the storm include Khan and Kushal Tandon from season seven; the model Karishma Kotak and the television actor Vishal Karwal from season six; and from season five, Pooja Bedi and Akashdeep Saigal (or Sky, as he is more popularly known).
Bigg Boss 8
With the eighth season of Bigg Boss beginning in a couple of days, the internet is buzzing with speculation about who the celebrity contestants might be. What we do know is that this season will have an aviation theme, apparently copied from the 15th season of the United Kingdom version of Celebrity Big Brother.
The teasers feature Salman Khan dressed as a pilot and he promises a lot more twists and turns this season.
Last season, the Bigg Boss house was divided into two sections – heaven and hell. This year, in keeping with the new theme, reports suggest it might be divided into business and economy class.
Every season comes with a new tagline, and this season it is “Bigg Boss aath, sabki lagegi waat” (Bigg Boss 8, no one will be spared).
There have also been suggestions that the show might go international for a few weeks and that it will include a lot of non-Indian contestants. Those rumoured to be entering the house include Alok Nath, the Bollywood actor who has eternally played “the ideal father”, the failed actor Upen Patel, the one-hit-wonder Ameesha Patel, the Punjabi actor Arya Babbar and the B-list actress Riya Sen.
• The first episode of Bigg Boss 8 will be broadcast at 9pm on Saturday, September 21, on Colors TV
Update: Latest rumours suggest that the second half of the show will be shot in Bangkok. The participants have been asked to carry their passports.