As a Bigg Boss contestant who's had his share of conflict on the show, how do you react to the targeting of Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother?
I know a lot of people have got very agitated about it, but I have to say I think it's less about racism and more about bullying, group dynamics and cultural clashes. When one gets into a reality show of this nature, one has to be prepared for bitching and nastiness and character assassination. It is inevitable. Because the strategy is to deliberately throw together people who are bound to clash with each other and the isolated environment brings out aspects of your personality you were not aware of yourself. All you can hope to achieve is to maintain your dignity. And Shilpa has done that. She has not thrown profanities round, not spoken in a rage and conducted herself wonderfully.
You see no racist undertones?
Even if there are some, who are we to talk when we're so racist ourselves? Don't we talk dismissively of foreigners as 'goras'? Are we any better when it comes to religious differences? Believe me, we might have had an equally volatile situation if one of the inmates on our Bigg Boss had been from the Islamic faith.
Most people are convinced reality shows are choreographed or manipulated to some degree for TRPs. Spill the beans-if you can.
Of course, Channel 4 is going for the TRPs here. But let me tell you, none of these shows can be manipulated the way people assume they are. You can give a person as detailed a brief as you want, but they will not be able to execute it 24 hours a day for weeks on end in this kind of environment. What you see on Big Brother is absolutely real.
And Bigg Boss?
Now, that's different. What you see on Bigg Boss in India is a laundered reality. Because they're showing you only a one-hour glimpse that's carefully picked out of their 24-hour footage, they can show you only what they want to. They can make a character look very good or very bad with some clever editing. In fact I think that's what's happening right now with Rahul Roy and Carol Gracias, who are being shown in a very positive light. In this case, you could call it a selective reality.