How to Win Bigg Boss: A Guidebook by Shilpa Shinde

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How to Win Bigg Boss: A Guidebook by Shilpa Shinde

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

 

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n a career spanning over 15 years, Shilpa Shinde has played a number of characters and risen to popularity as “Angoori Bhabhi” from the the show Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain! But with the wrap of Bigg Boss Season 11, we can safely say that Shilpa Shinde has played the role of a lifetime, and in doing so, has set down the guidebook for every reality show contestant who ever dreamed of winning the big pot.

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To be fair, the ball was set rolling by a masterstroke in brilliant casting by the makers of Bigg Boss — Shilpa Shinde was destined to spend the next three months with the guy she had a fall out with before entering the House, Vikas Gupta. For patrons of reality shows, there’s nothing more exciting than watching celebrities bring their off-screen controversies on screen, and Shilpa Shinde simply decided to make the most of this.

With a fight kicking off on Day 1 itself, Shilpa Shinde won all the rounds as she made life hell for Vikas Gupta in the initial five weeks. There was no dearth of masala and Bigg Boss lovers couldn’t wait to watch what would happen next. She hogged the limelight and ruled conversations, but instead of being looked upon as a troublemaker, she chose to play the victim. And she played it well. Shilpa Shinde forced us to pick a side and that’s exactly what we did. We picked her.

Angoori_Bhabhi

Shilpa Shinde forced us to pick a side and that’s exactly what we did. We picked her.
Image credit: Voot

As soon as she was sure that she’d won our vote and our hearts, she sprung a surprise. She decided to bury the hatchet with Gupta leaving everyone inside and outside the House shocked. Fans were loving it! The trajectory of the duo’s relationship kept everyone at the edge of their seats. Bigg Boss 11 was filled with unlimited action, drama, fights, and of course tears! So enamoured were fans with Shilpa and her shindig that there were discussions and debates about the possibility of her marriage with Vikas Gupta. If reality showmakers ever have wet dreams, this is what they’re made of.

Done with her bit as an avenger, Shilpa Shinde decided to switch roles. From playing a victim in the first five weeks of the show, she later transformed into a maternal figure of sorts with even host Salman Khan referring to her as “Shilpa ma”. The new Shilpa spent most of her time in the kitchen and the fans just lapped it all up. What a bechari! She cooked for people in the House and made a handful of sacrifices along the way.  

 

But every hero knows that she’s only as good as her villain. After the Vikas drama, Shilpa Shinde pitted herself against the other popular bahu on TV, Hina Khan.

But every hero knows that she’s only as good as her villain. After the Vikas drama, Shilpa Shinde pitted herself against the other popular bahu on TV, Hina Khan. No opportunity was wasted and the kitchen slowly but surely became the battleground. Even when Shilpa was her meanest self (the time she made fun of an emotional Hina Khan), the viewers overlooked it all; in fact many only saw the humour in it.  

The Bigg Boss makers struck gold as Shilpa Shinde’s reactions, especially when she was directly talking to the camera, became its USP. As the show progressed, she distanced herself from the two housemates she was closest to — Aakash Dadlani and Arshi Khan. And with this she emerged victorious in proving that she can go it alone. Every time, the housemates targeted her for not participating in tasks, it only seemed to have worked in her favour.

Bigg_Boss_Bhabhi

Every time, the housemates targeted her for not participating in tasks, it only seemed to have worked in her favour.
Image credit: Voot

The arc of Shilpa Shinde became the central narrative of the show. Instead of senseless bickering that most other Bigg Boss seasons offered, Season 11 had the audience hooked, as they saw Shilpa unravel. She went from being the most annoying contestant to the most loved one. I don’t think anyone in Bigg Boss history has ever managed to do that so effortlessly.

Nothing’s more fulfilling for viewers than watching a celebrity in his/her element. And Shilpa Shinde decided to play it straight and keep it real. So even her masterstroke move of voting against Hiten Tejwani because she saw him as competition, was appreciated by the audience — they loved her for her honesty.

By being true to herself, Shilpa Shinde connected with the audience in a way no contestant ever has. She mastered the art of knowing just what to speak in front of the cameras, of keeping calm in an ugly fight, and touching a chord in a moment of dubious morality. And with great tact, she won over not just fans but Salman Khan too.

What Shilpa Shinde has done then is created the definitive guidebook on how the Bigg Boss game should be played. So next year, if Karan Patel makes it to the show, maybe he should take a page from it.  

 

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