[Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of ScoopWhoop. But this article is very salty. It probably has all the saat samundar ka namak in it.]
When Green Day talked about waking them up when September ends, little did they know that their words would get a different meaning altogether in the Indian television scene. Every year, a huge chunk of Indians wait for October and that's not just because of the festive season. We wait for October to see the most hated show (and the show with the highest TRPs during its run) in all its glory - Bigg Boss.
While a lot of us are quick to sneer at those who watch the show, there's a bigger picture left for us to address. In an article about the heavy dosage of misogyny in the season premiere of Bigg Boss 10, Kashika Saxena made a clever observation about the show:
Every year, several people pretend that this show is beneath them by judging the hell out of everyone who watches it. But if most of your country is watching something every night for three months, you have bigger problems to worry about than the shitty taste of your friends in TV.
It's particularly surprising because we can't stop hating the show but a lot of us keep watching it, because society can't get enough of second hand embarrassment and what better way to get our daily dosage of voyeuristic pleasure and general 'excitement' than to watch a few failed celebrities (and now we also have Indiawaale) doing daily chores and fighting over food.
I watch the show unironically because I have a taste for pettiness in general. I love watching people being at their primal selves and looking at these individuals indulge in banal verbal arguments over nothing gives me the much needed masala that's missing in my life. Wait! Hear me out before you judge me. I honestly believe that Bigg Boss is a true reflection of the modern Indian society.
Participants are selected according to specific criteria and there's a distinct pattern to this system.
In the past seasons, there was a quota system for every section of the society - a failed actor, an activist, a token 'free-spirited' woman, a non-heterosexual participant and a low life celeb who had done something so abysmal in the past year that they needed to clear their image. This season, they've broken this infamous pattern. Not-so-famous people staying together in a house might no work you think? Nope. Bigg Boss works because they assemble a group of individuals who are relatable for the audience.
We support a particular contestant because there's something about them that we tend to like or relate to.
To understand this better, we need to talk about the whole concept behind rooting for a certain participant in any reality show. And every year, there are contestants who are backed by thousands of viewers. So the audience inherently relates to these contestants. And who do we tend to relate to? With those who remind us of ourselves or who we want to become. Therefore, I believe it's safe to assume that the participants of Bigg Boss reminds the audience of who they are or aspire to be.
Some of you guys might want to believe otherwise. A lot of you might look down upon Bigg Boss because watching it is beneath you but how do you judge something without watching it? I'll use the premiere episode of Bigg Boss season 10 to further elucidate my argument about the show being a reflection of society.
Salman Khan has criminal charges against him but he continues to run Bigg Boss. A lot like our own politicians, eh?
From the hit-and-run case to hunting a blackbuck, Salman bhai has done it all. The court has given him a clean chit despite the fact that there were open-and-shut cases against him only for his money and power to manipulate the evidences in his favour. Sounds awfully similar to our politicians, right? And guess what. Salman Khan rules Bigg Boss like we are ruled by these politicians.
Swami Omji is one of the Indiawaale-s (?) this season and he's sexist and misogynist. He's every random creepy uncle whose misogyny knows no boundaries.
The swami also spent the entire episode making personal comments about each and every female contestant. Telling one, “Kashmiri hai, tabhi itni gori hai” and telling another that she was very beautiful. When the contestants were busy taking a look at the Bigg Boss jail, he went on to say "Dil churaana agar jurm hota toh aap bhi apradhi hoti". He's the perfect basket case who is so full of shit that it's appalling and hilarious at the same time.
Just like any other racist uncle we all know, he went on to say this about his birth:
Ajaz Khan was just like any other entitled spoilt brat with his ek number antics. I would like to believe that he will soon be seen thrashing a DJ for not playing his favourite song.
To be honest, we have all encountered a guy who is extremely Ajaz-y in his approach to life. This unapologetic brazenness to life is widely seen on Delhi streets and when you see him on the TV screen, it's hard to argue that we don't already know guys like him.
Dolly Bindra was crass, loud and abusive, much like a drunk affluent aunty who is too nosy for no reason.
I'm very respectful about Dolly ji's father because I live by her golden words: "Baap pe mat jaana". Keeping that aside, she was fierce as ever and took no shit from anyone; much like a typical Punjabi aunty. Come on, we've all faced an angry aunty like her. So what Bigg Boss offered isn't that peculiar.
Deepak Tijori was that person who could sniff out issues where there were none and would instigate people to fight over nothing. He would point out problem when there are none.
If you've never met a person with a penchant for controversies, I feel a little sad for you. Drama is the essence of life and who better than Deepak Tijori to make a mountain out of molehill. He would often create distrust between others because he was like a real-life version of Komolika. Now you can't just ignore the fact that such individuals do exist in the real world.
Because there are people in society who remain unaffected by things that happen around them and Rahul Roy was one of them.
While a lot of us talk about Bigg Boss as if it is beneath us, but their creative team once included a guy who is exactly like the critics. He maintained his class even when all hell broke loose around him.
Ravi Kishan was self-righteous guy who made sense a lot of times but turned out to be sexist at times.
Life is not black or white. We all have different shades to our personalities and Ravi Kishan was one of the prime examples of that. He was honest and likeable at times but not all the time. That's exactly how most individuals are.
Nirahua was that guy was judged on the basis of his looks but he won our hearts with his attitude. The society judges people on how they look even without getting to know them.
That's the thing about people - they have the power to surprise you. And to be honest, Nirahua was the most surprising of the lot. Even in real life, we judge people a lot according to their appearances or work but they turn out to be very different.
It's funny how we keep criticising Bigg Boss but fail to notice how the whole show revolves around a concept that is deeply rooted in Indian psyche.
We are a society that is still deeply concerned about what Sharmaji ka ladka is up to or why this padosi ki ladki came home late. Our voyeuristic approach to life is brought on our TV screens in the form of Bigg Boss. Why would we want to look down upon something that is so in-sync with the current social scenario of our country.
Now you can obviously talk about how watching this show lowering your IQ points but the fact is that this show manages to resonate with the audiences. It's a side of society that most of us want to brush under the carpet. We are not advocating the rampant misogyny or the general creepiness that is so prevalent in the show, but what we are trying to say is that Bigg Boss is only a reflection of our society. You might find it tasteless but it provides a brilliant insight into how our society functions and the creators deserve a lot of credit for this.
Now you can obviously accuse me of giving the show more credit than it deserves. But let's pay heed to Sia's evergreen song Cheap Thrills and treat Bigg Boss for what it is - Sasti Masti.