There’s one more man in the Mahila Mandal now. The Bigg Boss house (Colors) has a new entrant, Amar Upadhyay. Who is Amar Upadhyay, I hear you ask. Well, many many years ago, there was an Ekta Kapoor serial called Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi (the soap that launched a thousand similar soaps, and in the process traumatised us for over a decade) in which the male lead was called Mihir Virani. In the early days of the serial, Amar played Mihir’s role. He became wildly popular, so much so that when Mihir ‘died’ in the show, besotted fans protested and raged so much that he had to be brought back from the dead (and this set yet another trend — of characters who kept springing back to life even after they had been shown dead and buried for several episodes). Anyhow, to come back to Amar Upadhyay, his Mihir success made him believe he could command equal success on the big screen, which of course he couldn’t. So he came back to TV, but found he couldn’t reprise Mihir’s popularity either.
The purpose of this rather long and rambling preamble is to reiterate the point that Bigg Boss only attracts the has-beens, soon to be has-beens and the nowhere-beens. Everyone who is on the peripheries of stardom (at its faintest and dimmest) has a good chance of popping up in the Bigg Boss house. Or someone who is so desperate to be on the fringes of the C-list that he/she is happy to come into the Bigg Boss house and indulge in determined C-list behaviour.
Anyhow, with the arrival of Amar, the male count in the house has gone up to two. Shakti Kapoor, the oldest, is the Uncleji-in-residence (a humble request: could he please stop wearing sleeveless shirts/T-shirts?) even though there’s nothing particularly avuncular about him.
So what is happening in the house that Colors built? Well, pretty much what happens every year. Housemates flit about aimlessly. Sometimes they do tasks such as washing dishes, cooking and so on. But mostly they’re so bored that they occupy their time by bickering and bitching. In the original Big Brother show, housemates also make out feverishly, hoping to be captured on camera. Here, even if they do so, the channel is kind enough not to show us the footage.
In this season, on account of the house being a Mahila Mandal, the housemates spend large tracts of time firmly stationed in front of dressing table mirrors, doing up their eyes, brushing their hair and indulging in other such female-type activities. And sometimes they multi-task by bitching each other out while fixing their faces/hair.
So why do viewers want to watch a bunch of people trying to fill large, empty swathes of time with mostly useless activities? Some possibilities: (a) Is it that voyeuristic instinct? (b) The sneaking desire to peep through the keyhole and see what’s happening in the neighbour’s house? (c) The feeling that we’re watching a twisted, zoo-type experiment — looking through the bars to see how a set of strange specimens behave with each other when they’re cooped up inside a cage for days on end? (d) Or because we don’t want to seem ill-informed at the next day’s water cooler gossip session? (e) Or do we watch simply because it just happens to be out there on their TV screens and we may as well tune in out of sheer inertia/passivity?
Whatever the reason, we do end up watching a bunch of unkempt (despite the hours in front of the mirror), not very interesting people just, well, hanging around a funny-looking house.
What a life.