Mr Culture Minister: Are we in double trouble with Bigg Boss 9?

Yikes! I just saw the promo for Bigg Boss 9. One-third of those who viewed it on the Colors website have already turned it down.

What were they thinking when they aired this?

A boy and a girl in the same shirt! Haw. Sallu Mia making fun of the words “Streeling and Pulling” all in the same breath! A mug breaking in two to emphasise the “double”. And then, the “raat aur din” promo. Wince-worthy creative strategy. And all for the sake of a mamooli “look alike”. Sallu bahar, stepni andar. Aur beech mein movie promos and guest appearances. Yeh toh really big baas hai.

The launch “video”….Salman unplugged? Nangi auratein doing boob thrusts and pelvic pushes to Salman’s dhun. Then the Boss huffing and winging it without a script. (How can you give a script to a superstar on Indian TV!? Mad or vot?) Wau for the Nau.

And then…the “official list”! Or at least part of it. All versions of it all over the net. From the dreaded promise of Poonam Pandey to the hope of the new Mama Mia of boob jobs: Mia Khalifa.

It’s raining promises of bosom friends and bum chums in Season 9. I have seen the “surround sound” shows perhaps planted by PR chaps who are clearly losing their touch. And, of course, we have all been part of the conjecture. So now “aprintly”, Mia Khalifa IS the promised resident Hum Aapke Hain Porn. ( Pumeela Andeeson bhi aayi thee, says one news report on a show called something “Bakda”.) And yippee, we have Radhe Maa and I am told by a report that she promises to “paint the show red”. Wau again.

And then, allegedly of course, is the “woman who slept with Shahid Afridi”. More bau wau. Who cares what her name is. This streeling line up is pukka pulling eyeballs onto the show. The thought of fantasising about them in action may actually work for the sex-deprived Indian audience. But wait! This is a family show?

An LGBT activist? Hau hau? Is our culture finally recognising freedom of sexual choice? Will a Papa actually watch the show with beta and pat him on the back as he smooches his new boyfriend? And we need a Salman show to recognise homosexuality as legit? That’s really Being Human, I must add. Mahesh Bhai? Suntey ho ji?

Bigg Boss is clearly becoming just a platform for wannabes and have-beens to sleep together. In different beds, of course. When John De Mol Jr first created the original format of Big Brother out of Holland, free and unpredictable intercourse was the main reason to watch the late real-time show. And this in a country like Holland, with official pornography channels and a terrific Museum of Sex.

The vicarious pleasure of looking into other peoples’ lives and discovering their sleeping habits was provided by Big Brother to a population of lonely and asocial adults in ageing societies. Why the format ever came to India is still a mystery to me. Nothing about it is worth the licence fee now.

The name had to change. The format had to be tweaked, so tweaked it is now – a cross between a Sooraj Barjatiya flop and Ragini MMS, with a bit of contrived PR activity around it to keep audiences kinda interested. And yet, if ratings are to be believed, people do actually watch this type of TV and media planners actually recommend it to clients. Perfect brand fit, I guess.

I saw a newspaper report this morning that Salman’s lawyer has argued that his “samples were tampered with”. Much as I admire Mr Khan for his talent and screen appeal, a word of caution to all brands who ride on celebrity endorsements. You are what your host is, until suddenly, he isn’t.

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Normally, the show format should be bigger than the host. In this case, the only reason to watch is Salman. Again. The nangu-pangus are at the mercy of our dabangg Culture policeman and this time, he’s the one with the moves.

Author: Bigg Boss

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