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It’s showtime

An obscenity complaint, politicians in the backroom, neta’s son flirting with mobster’s moll... it’s all happening on a show that, among other things, has helped catapult a rookie channel to the big league. The housemates

india Updated: Oct 15, 2008 01:23 IST

It has everything that an Indian television show could hope for: Controversial characters, ‘item girls’, a politician’s son flirting with a mobster’s moll, kisses and the metaphorical cloak-and-dagger.

There was one potboiler ingredient missing and it fell into place on Saturday: A police complaint accusing Bigg Boss 2 of being obscene.

The police in Lonavla, where the show is being shot, will be busy from Tuesday watching the serial closely, reading the script, scanning reams of footage looking to arrest that elusive creature of Indian law: obscenity.

Mumbai Youth Congress Committee President Sunil Ahire had filed a complaint at the Andheri police station against the show, the central star of which is Rahul Mahajan, son of the late Pramod Mahajan who was one the foremost leaders of Ahire’s rival party BJP. The case was shifted to Lonavla on Monday.

Ahire claimed on Monday that his party leaders had roundly cheered his moral stance. “His main objections are to the
swimming pool, massage and the dance scenes,” said Police Inspector Ashok Jadhav of the Andheri police station.

In all this, the two-month-old channel, Colors, have dislodged Zee as No 2 with a 19.9 per cent share in the general entertainment category for the week ending October 4, according to data available with television viewership measurement agency TAM.

Bigg Boss 2, along with the channel’s bigger hits Balika Vadhu and Jai Sri Krishna, are powering its astounding surge.
“We put non-fiction shows on weekdays, an unconventional move that paid off. Fresh treatment of different content certainly helped us,” said Ashvini Yardi, senior VP, Colors. “About Bigg Boss, we are taking care to follow guidelines and not offend any of our viewers.”

The channel was also aggressively marketed and distributed, she said.

Meanwhile, Ahire told Hindustan Times that he would be hiring a good lawyer so that the accused did not get away easily.

“We are doing our follow-ups with the police. We want them to act swiftly,” he said.

While Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam had startled his party by deciding to participate in Bigg Boss, he was evicted in the first week without much controversy.

However, he seems to have taken it to the larger political stage by making it an issue between the Congress and the BJP. He has openly attacked the organisers for making Bigg Boss “obscene”.

Rahul’s dalliances on the show are fuelling the fight. Rahul was introduced as a “young neta’’ by Bigg Boss host Shilpa Shetty when the contestants first entered the Bigg Boss house in Lonavla. Through the past eight weeks, Rahul has been talking of an image change and positioning himself as a youth icon.

But the Congress might have jumped the gun a bit. The BJP was quick to distance itself from Rahul, labelling it as his personal venture. “This has nothing to do with our party,’’ said BJP’s Maharashtra President Nitin Gadkari.

First Published: Oct 14, 2008 22:57 IST