I Like Bigg Boss and I Cannot Lie

Pop Culture

I Like Bigg Boss and I Cannot Lie

Illustration: Rutuja Patil/ Arré

T

he events of last month have demonstrated that we’re living George Orwell’s 1984 dream. A relentlessly curated pop cultural landscape, where everything is under scrutiny – from the Befikre partying of our youth to the Dabanggi potency of our forces – where everyone has a shtick to sell. In this carefully manicured version of our realities, Bigg Boss is the present-day equivalent of the Bombing of the Assembly. Shocking, bare-assed, and confusing. All of it usually before the first commercial break.

Bigg Boss is the culmination of our “Oh no they didn’t!” fantasy. The raw human emotions on Bigg Boss are what you’re unable to display IRL. For the viewer IV’d to the show, it is simultaneously perverse and cathartic.

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We don’t like to admit it but when the cameras are off and there is no 3G signal, we’ve all been there. In the same places that these hapless people – out-of-work stars and those hoping to be in their place one day – who come on our screens, year after year, only to be slagged off by the media.

We’ve all tried to verbally pants a dude who is trying for the same girl we like, but Raja Chaudhary did it to Rahul Mahajan. We’ve all had to take shit from fake-tanned and gymmed-up jocks of the Kushal Tandon variety, so we cheered deliriously when VJ Andy got him evicted to complete his side’s revenge of the nerds. We’ve all struggled through relationships, so we’ve pinned our hopes on Rochelle and Keith to see if they can make it in this twisted house of cards. (Spoiler alert: They did.) We’ve probably never felt how it would be to try to woo your ex-wife on national TV – while trying to hit on a girl 15 years younger than her – like Rajeev Paul, but it’s nice to have that experience for reference.

The most fulfilling moments on the show occur at the climactic engagement of pent-up angst with a “fuck this shit” realisation.

Bigg Boss brings together the two biggest drivers of human drama in history, romance and conflict, and distils the spectacle to its raw authentic core.

In the first ten minutes of this season, VJ Bani was seen quibbling with a Priyanka lady with a voice so disturbing, it warrants Y-level security. Bani was miffed with Priyanka, who had asked her about her age. It’s cool. The resulting exchange had them trying to justify their positions to each other, while looking good for other housemates and the cameras. You will recognise this exchange if you have ever been self-conscious in a group setting. The struggle to stay “on brand” with whom you’re conversing while making sure it fulfils your unbridled and anxious narcissism for a larger group, is a real struggle. Especially so in a post-privacy world where everyone – from friends and family to acquaintances and the government – are privy to our intimate information. Bigg Boss allows us to live out the fantasy of deciding to go “off brand”.

Consider for a moment, the world we occupy. Where we say what we don’t mean, and we don’t mean what we say. Where euphemism, circumlocution, and pretence are part of lingua franca. What consequences might await if you actually said what you wanted to? Bigg Boss captures the feeling of telling off a slacking co-worker in front of your boss. It shows you what being vulnerable in front of a stranger feels like. How edifying it is to fend off a bully with support from your friends. When small-time model Niketan Madhok stood up to big-time stylist Imam Siddique after months of abuse, we cheered because that was us right there, vulnerable and real.

But what if we all started getting real? What if I told this arsehole that thanking his mother on her “very happy birthday” on Facebook is a pathetic plea for attention? I won’t actually tell that dude to go fuck himself, but someone tonight in the Bigg Boss house will probably say that to another human. It’s voyeuristic, pleasurable, and emblematic of our acutely cultivated projections. It is the #ContemporarySocialExperience.

The most fulfilling moments on the show occur at the climactic engagement of pent-up angst with a “fuck this shit” realisation. There’s an unadulterated cathartic kick when the veneer of our carefully crafted world is lifted even a tiny bit.

This is Bigg Boss’s world. We’re just lucky to be floating by.

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