On a shallow level, Bigg Boss seems to be yet another noisy, high-pitched and pretentious show. There are elements — characteristic of a reality TV show infused into it — drama, fights, controversies, and meltdowns. As Bigg Boss enters its 10th season this month, it remains as popular as ever.
However, there is more to Bigg Boss than what meets the eye. It’s a wonderful experiment to see human behaviour in odd circumstances. All contestants are locked in a house and have no contact with the outside world for several months. They are under 24×7 camera surveillance. Everything they do is recorded on camera. The result is an engaging, entertaining show that keeps one wanting for more.
To pass the time, contestants have to interact with each other with fewer distractions in a house. They do everyday ordinary stuff like cooking, cleaning that demands discipline and some amount of work. Some of them turn out to be moody and distant. Others, at the same time, are friendly, talkative and engaging on the show. And few are just weird. In short, a mix of different characters and their interactions produce a gamut of human emotions on screen.
Some of the most successful shows and films have adroitly explored the ocean of human emotion –will power, guilt, secrecy, anger, jealousy, ambition and many more. Bigg Boss does the same.
Everyone loves a bit of drama. The show works on raw human instincts that allow viewers to watch very real people –at least for those couple of months. The format forces contestants to be themselves. Even if they don’t want to, they end up being so.
What makes the show tick is that all contestants are not just any vanilla people. They are celebrities. They come from different backgrounds and life experiences. They have some sort of ‘history’ behind them. They are people with layers.
Who doesn’t enjoy seeing a celebrity fighting for eggs or coffee? And there are small tussles and squabbling between housemates. The show has its share of funny moments.
There have been allegations that makers manipulate and control the narrative in the house. They eliminate or introduce a new member depending on TRPs. And all of it is simply scripted beforehand. However, the fights, romance, and tension in the house seem real. Heartbreaks are real. And none of it seems choreographed.
Sample this: Elliot, the protagonist of Mr. Robot TV series, is a cyber security engineer by day. But he also has an odd habit. He hacks other people including his friends during night. Moreover, he enjoys hacking to find out their obsessions and secrets. He confesses that he looks for worst in people.
There is an Elliot in each one of us – an erratic whim to look through people, to know what lies beyond the smooth façade of glossy pictures on Instagram and Facebook.
The show allows people that with a lot of entertainment value.
If you take out all controversies and glamour from the show, then Bigg Boss is eventually a survival game in its very basic form. Only one person is going to win. One has to be manipulative, convincing and cunning to win over other members. Viewers also get to see a shift of power, form of alliances and backstabbing through the elimination process.
The other thing that works is the unpredictability of the outcome. Anything can happen. That keeps the viewers on their toes.
Bigg Boss is based on original Dutch Big Brother format created by John De Mol. Different versions of Big Brother have been aired in around 50 countries.
The success, dear readers, is answer enough to critics.