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Kavita Awaasthi, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, October 10, 2013
The show, Bigg Boss, has always been synonymous with controversy. In fact, one could say that the format is such that it is meant to shock. So, aggressive behaviour from contestants, fights, arguments and controversial tasks are all part of the show.

This time, the I&B Ministry raised concerns apparently because of the task given to Pratyusha Banerjee, which involved sitting on an electric chair and being given electricity shocks. The ministry has sent showcause notice to the channel after it felt that some of the content aired by it on popular reality show Bigg Boss 7 was not appropriate for unrestricted public exhibition.

While host Salman Khan put up a defence on air, saying that the shocks given were not strong, former contestant Samir Soni says, "The audience is smart and knows what they want to watch. People know what expect. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. The format of the show is about putting celebrities under stress."

TV actor Aman Varma recalls his own experience from a different show: “I had to perform a similar task on Iss Jungle Se Mujhe Bachao. Why didn’t the I&B Ministry question it back then? The shock given is safe and simply tickles you.” Aman also makes an implication that Pratyusha was “acting… For votes, celebrities behave as if they’ve had a near-death experience. It’s a show where everything is monitored and just done for entertainment."

"It was felt that the content exhibited was not suitable for unrestricted public exhibition and prima facie it is violative of the programming code under the Cable TV Act so the ministry has issued a show cause notice and asked the channel to explain," a source told PTI. A court had also asked the ministry to examine the content aired on the show, they said.

During the fourth season of the show, too, the I&B Ministry had issued a show cause notice over alleged abusive language, and wanted it shifted from prime time to a late night slot. However, last year, the channel claimed they were cutting out negativity to bring it back to the 9 pm slot. Ex-contestant Delnaaz Irani says, "People know what the show entails. And shifting it to a later slot doesn’t mean people won’t watch it."  

(With inputs from agencies)