When the first season of Bigg Boss was telecast on Sony, many viewers just didn’t get it. An oft-repeated, puzzled question was: “Lekin programme kab shuru hoga?” (But when will the programme start?) What was the big deal about watching a bunch of people hanging around a house in crumpled track pants, making desultory conversation/having petty squabbles with each other? Most people had no clue. Bigg Boss or Big Bore?
Whatever viewer interest there was revolved around housemates like Aryan Vaid and Anupama Varma who became an item and spent tender moments together; Kashmira Shah, who emerged as the bitch of the show and Rakhi Sawant who danced and fought energetically.
This time round, Big Bore 2 (sorry, Bigg Boss 2, on Colors) has its own assortment of oddballs cooped up in a house for weeks on end. The real problem with the show is its format. The housemates wake up in the morning. They potter around in the kitchen making tea and breakfast. Then they laze around on sofas all day, waiting to be called to the Confession Room by a heavy-voiced Bigg Bore, I mean, Bigg Boss, who gives them various tasks to relieve the tedium. In between, they cook some more and laze around some more. They converse with each other about each other. Then they go to sleep.
Do we really want to see Ketaki Dave brushing her teeth in the morning? Or Rahul Mahajan haltingly read out a letter from Bigg Bore, sorry, Bigg Boss, outlining some task or the other for the housemates? (Hey, how tough can it be to read a letter out aloud?) The whole idea behind the show is to throw together an odd assortment of people (if they’re dysfunctional, all the better), lock them up in a house, give them tasks designed to generate conflict and then sit back and watch the fur fly. Fights, tears, scenes, bad behaviour — this is the life blood of the show and viewers are encouraged to become Peeping Tom-type voyeurs.
In the international version (Big Brother), sex between the housemates is a high point. In India, we’re unlikely to see participants indulging in such indoor activity; our ‘high points’ are khit-pit between the housemates (and Ketaki Dave brushing her teeth).
Politician Sanjay Nirupam asks item girl Sambhavana Seth why she wears such abbreviated clothing and Sambhavana reacts with aggrieved indignation: “This is my job, who are you to pass judgment on me, anyway I don’t think much of politicians either.” Or Sambhavana dancing (at regular intervals throughout the day, even at 9 am in the morning). Or Debojit singing. Or everyone grumbling about everyone else (“He doesn’t interact with anyone/She has an attitude problem/Etc.”) The whole thing is a bit like a zoo and we are like visitors peering through the bars to see the animals sleeping, yawning, eating, growling. What a life.
Last week, I ranted about Doordarshan’s coverage of the Olympics. But since DD Sports is the only channel showing the Olympics live, 24 hours, you have to watch it if you want to see anything of the Olympics.
And if — I know it’s tough, really tough — if you can blank out the DD part and just concentrate on the games, the Olympics make for great viewing. I know I’ve been fascinated watching sports like sailing, rowing, fencing and wrestling, which I’ve almost never seen in my life. And of course, the star events of the Olympics — swimming, athletics, gymnastics.
There’s something thrilling about watching the best sportsmen and women in the whole world in action.
If only Doordarshan had got it right.
PS: For the London Olympics, I believe we’ll be able to see the live coverage on ESPN. I can’t wait.