Salman Khan’s Bigg Boss 14 might be the most successful season of the show, and reason is Covid-19
Of all television shows, Bigg Boss 14 is perhaps the best fit to resume production amid a still-raging pandemic. The reality show is all about quarantining - a bunch of people locked up in a large house together for months on end and completely cut off from the outside world - and thanks to our months-long nationwide lockdown earlier this year, we know how it feels to stay cooped up indoors.
From being called frivolous to downright obscene, Bigg Boss gets written off each year for its displays of love, violence and abuse. Host Salman Khan, in his bi-weekly Weekend Ka Vaar episodes, admonishes the contestants for misbehaving but that does not stop tempers from flaring again. There are allegations that the fights in the show are scripted; after all, how probable is it to have people actually getting into shouting matches and near fisticuffs over consumption of tea?
Bizarre as these situations might have earlier sounded, being trapped in our houses during the lockdown, just like the contestants, has taught us to view these situations through an entirely different lens. Bigg Boss 14 seems to be more relevant than ever before, rather than escapist voyeurism, as our new normal finds a reflection on the show. The meltdowns and even Dolly Bindra blowing her fuse on Manoj Tiwari over eggs seem marginally more reasonable.
Television productions are still acclimatising to the dramatically transformed world of entertainment amid the coronavirus outbreak, but Bigg Boss 14 has an edge. The contestants have virtually no contact with the outside world or even crew members, as the cameras all over the house capture all the action.
Even so, the makers are taking every precaution to keep the coronavirus at bay. Manisha Sharma, Chief Content Officer of Colors TV, told Salman at the virtual press conference of the show that the contestants will be sequestered into bubbles.
“Bigg Boss is a real-time show, and we cannot take a risk. All contestants would be tested and quarantined before they enter the show. The crew will also be tested every weekend. We have taken all precautions and planned accordingly, but in case someone falls sick, we would have to give cameras to contestants to shoot. It is going to be tough, but we are committed,” she said.
The new season of Bigg Boss is also capitalising on the pandemic by weaving it into its format. For the first time in the history of the show, the Bigg Boss house will have a built-in restaurant, spa, theatre and mall. It is being reported that the contestants will get an opportunity to enjoy these perks by winning the luxury tasks.
Bigg Boss 14 is being advertised as a ‘befitting reply to 2020’. Explaining the new tagline, Salman said at the online press conference, “Now, you must be thinking, how will Bigg Boss 14 give a befitting reply to 2020? Whatever you missed during the lockdown, will be in Bigg Boss 14. We are leaving no stone unturned. This will be a dream-come-true season. After eating home-cooked food for so long, you must be dying to eat outside food. Those who are used to visiting a spa, when was the last time you enjoyed a spa treatment? When was the last time you watched a film in a theatre, eating popcorn and samosa? When was the last time you shopped to your heart’s content? The Bigg Boss house has a restaurant, spa, theatre and mall, and is fully equipped to give a befitting reply to 2020.”
Much of reality television actually requires a suspension of reality, but with most of us going stir-crazy during the pandemic, Bigg Boss 14 suddenly feels close to home. There is a strange comfort and familiarity in knowing that these stars might not be that different from us at all - doing all things prosaic and dealing with the unremitting intensity of togetherness by fighting.
Bigg Boss 14, which has the pressure of outdoing its previous season (the most successful yet), might just emerge as the biggest winner during the pandemic.
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