November 22, 2023

Revisiting Bigg Boss, the baap of all reality shows

As the countdown to Bigg Boss 2020 begins, we decided to revisit the previous seasons of the controversial reality show.

When Bigg Boss launched in 2006 on Sony TV for the first time, very few had an idea what it would turn out to be. An adaptation of Dutch reality show Big Brother, the show tests the survival capabilities of a person. While initially the series started with a humble setting, over the years, the house has undergone significant makeovers with a lot of luxuries provided to the housemates. It even moved channels in 2008 (season 2), when it started airing on Colors, and has been a part of its programming till now.

As the countdown to Bigg Boss 2020 begins, we decided to revisit the previous seasons of the controversial reality show.

Over the years, many celebrities have entered Bigg Boss. While many shocked fans with their behaviour, some managed to win hearts. A few celebrities also revived their careers through the show, while others soon vanished. The initial seasons saw people from different walks of life being pitted against each other. However, in the last few years, the show has been dominated by television stars. We can’t really complain as this works for the makers, given these actors’ popularity and recall value. Also, the shock element is also there as most bahus turn out to be babes in real life.

Going back in time, season one was probably the best of the lot as whatever the housemates did, seemed like a surprise. Be it Amit Sadh crying over a coffee mug, Kashmera Shah and Rakhi Sawant’s catfights to Rahul Roy shedding his ‘Aashiqui’ image, the season was a treat to watch. However, with time, things got predictable. The next two seasons were forgettable, to say the least. With super boring contestants, who forced the drama, the less said the better. Even with an elephant’s memory, it’s hard to recall a highlight from season 2, while the following season will only be remembered for KRK’s atrocious behaviour.

However, season 4 came as a breath of fresh air for all Bigg Boss fans. The show had everything – fights, drama, love, tears and for the first time, a marriage on national television. Yes, Sara Khan and Ali Merchant took their wedding vows inside the Bigg Boss house. While they soon got divorced, the televised wedding created quite a furore. Also, making some tall claims, the makers also brought in WWE champ The Great Khali as a wild card contestant. While he just lazed around the house during his stay, given his popularity, he even reached the finale. Oh, and did you know, Pamela Anderson was also a guest in the season (go, Google it now).

After Anderson, the makers seemed to be taken by the firang factor, as season 5 not only had controversial cricketer Andrew Symonds but also former adult star Sunny Leone entering as wildcards. The season will be remembered for having the most interesting lot of people, but strangely public voting made TV bahu Juhi Parmar the winner. Similarly, season 6 also had an atrangi lot, be it Imam Siddiqui, Sapna Bhavnan, Dinesh Lal Yadav or Gulabi Gang leader Sampat Pal Devi. But given her popularity, Urvashi Dholakia took home the trophy.

And then came another blockbuster season with some really strong players. While Gauahar Khan and Tanishaa Mukerji were frontrunners from the start, Kamya Punjabi, Kushal Tandon and Sangram Singh gave them a tough fight. This was probably the first season, where the housemates took tasks seriously. Kamya and Sangram even created a record of staying inside a box for a very long time. The contestants in season 8 also took tasks seriously, or rather too seriously. Remember how Karishma Tanna and gang started the trend of using chilli powder against the opposing team? The season will also be remembered for how Gautam Gulati was isolated by the housemates, but that helped him connect with fans and helped him take home the trophy.

There’s not much to talk about season 9, apart from the fact that Prince Narula found his life partner Yuvika Chaudhary in the Bigg Boss house. While it started just as an attraction, post the show, Prince wooed Yuvika, and today, the two are happily married. And then came a dhamaka in season 10. For the first time, the doors of Bigg Boss house were opened for commoners. And oh boy, did they make the most of the opportunity! Manveer Gurjar, Manu Punjabi, Swami Om and Priyanka Jagga created a storm with their fearless attitude. While not many really managed to impress, Gurjar went on to win the show.

After a long time, season 11 turned out to be a cracker of a season with the likes of Hina Khan, Vikas Gupta, Shilpa Shinde, Arshi Khan, Hiten Tejwani being locked inside the house. One of the best castings in the history of Bigg Boss, each contestant added a different flavour, and together they ensured a ‘mast’ season. While Shilpa Shinde took home the trophy, Hina Khan is still considered to be the ‘real winner’ of the season. And the opposite happened in the next season. Even with big names like Dipika Kakar, Sreesanth, Srishty Rode, season 12 turned out to be a dull affair. The housemates were boring, disinterested and lacked the passion. Overall, this was one of the worst seasons in recent times.

And after a failed season, Bigg Boss 13 went on to break all records. With names like Sidharth Shukla, Rashami Desai, Devoleena Bhattacharjee, Paras Chabra among others, the season looked promising from the start. However, the dark horses of the show turned out to be Shehnaaz Gill and Asim Riaz. Both of them were real and that made them relatable to the audience. Be it their fights, feelings for Sidharth and Himanshi, respectively, or just plain entertainment, the two are still a favourite for fans. The season, however, was won by Sidharth Shukla.

Apart from celebrities, Bigg Boss also makes quite a noise due to its much-loved host Salman Khan. It’s been ages, but in case you don’t remember, the first season was hosted by Arshad Warsi. Fresh from the win of Celebrity Big Brother, Shilpa Shetty came in next, followed by Shehenshah of Bollywood Amitabh Bachchan. Salman Khan joined in the fourth season, and this seems to be a forever association. Interestingly, Shah Rukh Khan was the first choice as a host for makers. However, given he was recovering from an injury, the makers went to Salman. And now, we feel Bigg Boss is incomplete without Bhaijaan. He not only adds his inimitable style and charm to the show, but he is the only host who can scold and joke around with celebrities at the same time. While a few have tried to stand up to him, at the end, Salman has the last word on the show.

In all his interviews, Salman Khan has mentioned how he too feels stressed out throughout the journey of Bigg Boss. There have been numerous occasions when there have been reports of him quitting the show. But given the close association and the fat cheque, Khan has stayed back. The show also brought him an added fan following, and changed his ‘bad boy image’. Wanting to do the same for his good friend Sanjay Dutt, Salman had got him to co-host Bigg Boss 5. However, Dutt just went on to look like a disinterested prop placed beside Khan.

Bigg Boss is usually termed as the ‘most controversial’ reality show. The initial seasons only became popular because of the many infamous fights. Be it KRK throwing a bottle at Rohit Verma, Dolly Bindra’s ‘baap pe mat jaana’ to Pooja Missra taking on the whole house is season 5. However, soon wisdom came calling, and people did not really fight without a cause (though the house does give many reasons to fight). In the later part of the show’s journey, controversies took a new turn altogether.

We soon had marriages being planned on the show and past lovers being brought face to face. In the last season, we even saw Sidharth Shukla being defended by the makers after he got physical. Bigg Boss 13 also for the first time had a contestant’s (Arhaan Khan) past being revealed by host Salman Khan on national television. While all these did add to the masala element, nothing can beat Swami Om’s infamous presence in BB 10.

If controversies were not enough to create drama, another strategy that has worked is, of course, romance. Though relationships formed in the Bigg Boss have not managed to survive the real world, that has not stopped contestants from falling in love. Few celebs who were struck by cupid include Aaryan Vaid- Anupama Verma, Gauahar Khan-Kushal Tandon, Tanishaa Mukerji-Armaan Kohli, Puneesh Sharma-Bandgi Kalra, Asim Riaz-Himanshi Khurana, Upen Patel-Karishma Tanna among others.

So well, thoda pyaar and a lot of takraar makes Bigg Boss a show that you might love, or hate but certainly can never ignore. It’s one of the few reality shows where you don’t actually need talent to win. Interestingly, even experts haven’t been able to crack the winning strategy for this show. After all, it’s the janta who you need to impress, and what they like or don’t like, well, that’s still a mystery!

Tonight, a fresh new season of Bigg Boss is set to hit the small screen. Excited much? Well, we definitely are!


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