The best thing about Colors’ Bigg Boss (I can't believe I wrote that; can the words ‘best’ and ‘Bigg Boss’ go together? Isn’t it an oxymoron?) is Sunny Leone. The Indo-Canadian porn star who lives in the US is not just the prettiest girl in the house, she is also the best behaved. And so far, there has been no evidence of her flinging off her clothes or indulging in, er, inappropriate public behaviour.
Her broken, accented Hindi is perfectly acceptable, as was the visit of Mahesh Bhatt to the Bigg Boss house (he came to offer her a role in his next film). That’s because pretty girls from abroad who can’t speak Hindi seem to be the flavour of the season in Bollywood. (If you can speak fluent Hindi, it might even go against you. I can just see the casting director shaking his head regretfully and saying, ‘No foreign accent? Sorry, you can't play the role of an Indian girl in a Hindi movie.’)
The ‘cuteness’ of Sunny's inadequate Hindi was brought home in an interaction with host Sanjay Dutt. He decided to enact a scene with her, and for the purpose of that scene, christened her Shakuntala. Over the next ten minutes, Sunny called herself variously Shankuntala, Khus, Kabutar, Kapurthala/Kapuntala. Everyone thought it was so sweet.
But they may have a point. One of the reasons why watching Bigg Boss is so traumatic is the kind of conversations the housemates have with each other. Here’s an example of a typical Bigg Boss conversation: Housemate called Siddharth to housemate called Sky: “Tu tension mat le (Don’t take tension)” Sky: “Main nahin le raha hoon. Teri tension loonga to mujhe tension ho jayega. Teri tension main nahin le sakta. Teri tension tu khud nahin le raha. Main teri tension kya loonga. (I’m not. If I take your tension, I will be tense. I can’t take your tension. You don’t take your own tension, how can I take your tension).”
Sidharth: “Tu apni tension le. (You take your own tension)” Sky: “Main tension nahin leta (I don't take tension).” If you haven’t started gnawing dementedly at your hands by now, you have nerves of steel.
You’d probably be able to take even Pooja Missra’s conversations. Pooja is the housemate who fought with someone or the other every 2.5 minutes while she was in the house. Then she got evicted, but now — given the show’s fondness for recalling especially obnoxious, belligerent participants — she’s back as a translator for Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds, who is the latest entrant in Bigg Boss.
Symonds arrived to a traditional Indian welcome (you know, the tika-and-garland variety), was shown around the house and now seems to be at a complete loss. I guess he’ll be fine, but I’m sure Colors is trying strenuously to get Harbhajan Singh in for a few days.
And finally, I caught another episode of Love 2 Hate U (Star World), where actor-director-singer Farhan Akhtar met his hater (who thinks Farhan is a terrible actor and singer). And I think I figured out the problem with the show. It’s simple — the hater always seems to come across as a bitter loser; while the celebrity facing the hater is this brave, reasonable person trying so hard to understand (but failing spectacularly) why he/she is hated so much. Wasn’t there any other way of handling a potentially interesting idea?