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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Toxicity and tedium at the Bigg Boss boot camp

Poonam Saxena   September 28, 2013
First Published: 02:09 IST(28/9/2013) | Last Updated: 02:11 IST(28/9/2013)

So Bigg Boss is into Season 7 now. That means it’s our seventh year of watching a bunch of minor celebrities and nobodies stuck in a house for weeks on end with nothing to do but quarrel with each other and execute weird tasks ordained by the mythical ‘Bigg Boss’. The tedium of watching people bicker over who swept the floor, who spoke rudely and who behaved badly — day in and day out — is enough to turn your brain into cabbage. When the show began, there was an element of novelty. But in the latest season, the producers have done their damndest to ensure that there is constant disharmony.

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For a start, the contestants have been divided into two living areas: jahannum and jannat. The jahannum wallahs have Indian-style toilets, dry taps and mattresses on the floor. The jannat wallahs live in a luridly-coloured house with kitchen, sofas, proper beds and Western-style loos. Contestants are asked by Bigg Boss to nominate people who deserve to be upgraded to jannat/downgraded to jahannum, thereby pitting housemates against each other. Bigg Boss has really plumbed the depths by turning the provision of basic food and water into a flashpoint for the contestants. A recently eliminated contestant, Hazel Keech claimed there was no water in the bathrooms for 24 hours and that there was never enough food or drinking water for all the contestants. Perhaps they should have advertised the show as a lose-weight-fall-ill-take-years-to-recover kind of nightmare bootcamp. Salman Khan is fun to watch. But the show itself has become so unlikeable that it’s tough to drum up enthusiasm for his one-liners. Maybe Bigg Boss will garner so much buzz that in the end everyone — even the hungry, thirsty, bickering housemates — will go home happy. But I’d like to be excused from this particular party.

What I’m looking forward to is 24, the new show starring Anil Kapoor, an adaptation of the American show, 24, which starts next week. Kapoor plays the character of Jai Singh Rathod, an anti-terrorism agent, modeled on Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland). The heartening thing is that the desi 24 has talented Bollywood names associated with it — director Abhinay Deo, writer Rensil D’Silva and actors like Shabana Azmi and Anupam Kher. Why should it not work?

Finally. I was sorry to see the end of Season 1 of The Mindy Project. My initial reaction was lukewarm but by the time it was ending, I’d developed an affection for the endearing Dr Mindy Lahiri, who lurches from one unsuitable boyfriend to another. Mindy Kaling, the lead actress (of Indian origin), is extremely funny and not afraid of laughing at herself — her weight, her insecurities, her bad luck with men. There’s a rather agreeable supporting cast as well. Season 2, where are you?

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