When they started the Indian version of UK's TV show Big Brother, it proved to be a blockbuster from the word go because it gave us a chance to see celebs in a candid environment. To be able to see them 24/7 was just the perfect icing on the cake. Consider the big names who were locked inside the house in those initial seasons: popstar Baba Sehgal (season 1), cricketer Vinod Kambli (season 3) and even Poonam Dhillon, among many others.
Of late, however, Bigg Boss seems to have lost much of its sheen and reduced to nothing more than being a launchpad of sorts for wannabe celebs. From little-known actors/models to heirs of rich industrialists, the inmates now seem to be selected less on the basis of their merit and more for the TRP-value they are expected to command.
Still, how do they got about selecting these non-celebs? Instead of harping on the interest a peek into a celeb's life would have generated, Bigg Boss now works more like a Bollywood movie being remade over and over again; only, unlike most of those 'creative' remakes, this one continues to sell like hot cakes each time it is on air.
Wondering on what basis the contestants are chosen in Bigg Boss? We try to get into the mind of the selection panel and help you decode the process.
Vamp: We've had Urvashi Dholakia and Kamya Punjabi in the house in the past. This year, Soni Singh fills in for Aashka Goradia's 'vamp role' from last year. Soni was last seen in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's dud, Saraswatichandra.
LGBT representation: Bigg Boss 8 boasts of featuring Mr India Gay 2014, Sushant Divgikar. Eaerlier iterations of the show had Bobby Darling, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, Begum Nawazish Ali and Imam Siddique. Sushant has represented India at Mr Gay World 2014.
Foreign model/actor: This contestant will serve the purpose of impressing host Salman Khan, which whom he later flirts. Elli Avram was a contestant on Bigg Boss last year and this year, Natasha Stankovic fills in the blank.Even at the launch of Bigg Boss 8, Salman was seen comparing Elli and Natasha. "Iski Hindi sun ke mereko Elli ki yaad aa rahi hai," the Dabangg actor said at the launch.
The avant-garde SoBo representative: Last year we had celeb hair stylist Sapna Bhavnani with weird hair-dos and tatoos all over her body. Diandra Soares fills in Sapna's slot this year.
A flirt (man): British actor/model Upen Patel steps in for a 'role earlier essayed' by Aryan Vaid, Rahul Mahajan, Asif Azim and Ashmit Patel.
Another flirt (woman): Payal Rohtagi played along with Rahul Mahajan and 26-year-old TV actor Sukirti Kandpal is set to raise temperatures in Bigg Boss 8. Kandpal was seen flirting with Upen Patel in the teasers for the show's Monday episode.
The nuisance creator: Kamal Rashid Khan (better known as KRK) has now turned his role into a full-time job. Arya Babbar seems to have replaced last year's Ejaz Khan in Bigg Boss 8.
Old person (whom noone wants to abuse/disrespect, at least in the first month): Last year we had Anita Advani. Before that we've had Navjot Singh Sidhu and Poonam Dhillon. Bigg Boss is yet to reveal three more contestants and we think it's going to be Puneet Issar, who played Duryodhan in Ravi Chopra's TV serial Mahabharat. We think he is the martial arts trainer in the 'secret society' on Bigg Boss.
Young actor vying for Salman's attention with 'cute' tricks: The Xpose actor Sonali Raut, 23, looks much like Sana Khan, playing the cutest thing around, all the time vying for Salman's attention.