A day after the Information & Broadcasting Ministry cracked down on two channels, Colors and Imagine, insisting that their shows, Bigg Boss 4 and Rakhi Ka Insaaf, were violating programming codes, Colors has moved the Bombay High Court. Through a writ petition, they have got a stay order on the I & B directive to shift the reality show, made with an approximate budget of Rs 140 crore (Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1.5 crore per episode), from its primetime 9 pm slot to 11 pm.
The ministry had found both shows unsuitable for unrestricted public viewing and directed the channels to run a scroll saying it was not for children. It had ordered that Bigg Boss be allowed to air only between 11 pm and 5 am, with no repeat telecasts allowed during the day. Clipping would also not be carried by news channels.
The move was supposed to come into immediate effect from Wednesday but for the moment, Bigg Boss will continue in its original 9 pm slot, with a re-run at 11.30 pm. The move, which has upset government officials, was thought necessary given that the changed timings would affect business and current viewership ratings.
Bigg Boss 4 that has come in for much criticism over a fake wedding and suhaag raat, abusive language and inmates from across the border, had just broken into the top 10 bracket this week in the Hindi General Entertainment Channels category.
It was at No 10 this week with 4.4 points while shows like Kali-Ek Agnipareeksha (Star Plus) and Balika Vadhu (Colors) repeat telecast that run in the 11 pm to 5 am slot followed by tele-shopping capsules fetch between 1.16 and 2 points on an average, according to TAM India’s data.
Bigg Boss 4’s ratings upped by almost 50 per cent after the ‘abusive’ Dolly Bindra entered the show a couple of weeks ago. Catfights and cuss words were rampant till Bindra and Sameer Soni were shown the door on Wednesday evening. When asked if the show would continue to be as popular if moved to the 11 pm slot, Anil Wanvari of Indiantelevision.com says that it has created ample buzz and viewers will follow it even late at night. “Even now, those who miss the 9 pm screening, watch the repeat at 11.30 pm,” he points out.
Anuradha Prasad, managing director of BAG Films that runs two news channels, however, believes that a change in timing could impact the show.
Still in limbo
“Entertainment has different definitions for different generations,” she says, adding, “If this decision is meant to stop kids from being exposed to vulgar content, then I think the decision makers need to know that there is worse available freely,” Prasad argues. “Entertainment news is as important today as politics and business. And needs to be spicy to be palatable, it can’t be like vanilla ice-cream.”
Bigg Boss Controversies
Thief Devinder Singh, aka, Bunty, exits the House on Day Two for breaking rules.
Ali Merchant enters to whisk girlfriend/wife Sara Khan from Ashmit Patel. Wed and beds her in the House. Parents claim they were already married. The trio exits soon after.
Dolly Bindra enters the House and cuss words start flying. Eventually, Sameer Soni and she are expelled for breaking rules.
Pamela Anderson sweeps the floor wearing a titillating sarong.
Kamal R Khan is thrown out for physically assaulting an inmate.
Bakhtyaar and Tanaaz Irani share beds.
Vindu Dara Singh and Poonam Dhillon bare their claws.
Rahul Mahajan-Monica Bedi-Payal Rohatgi in a love triangle.
Sambhavna Seth gets physical with Raja Chaudhary.
Chaudhary, Rahul Mahajan, Zulfi Sayed and Ashutosh scale the wall and attempt to break out of the House.
Aryan Vaid and Anupama Varma get steamy, their affair ends with the show.
Rakhi Sawant and Kashmera Shah upset over Carol Gracias speaking to her parents on Christmas from inside the House.