Oct 162017

Arshad Warsi has put to words a notion that has, until now, only circulated in the media circuit through hushed whispers. “The [Bigg Boss] show is down market,” he says, alluding to the Salman Khan-hosted reality series that is now in its 11th season. The poor quality of the programme, which sees celebrities reside in a specially-constructed house for approximately 90 days, has been topic of discussion over the past few years.

“People on the show, I hear, are tacky,” says Warsi, who hosted the first season in 2006. “I haven’t seen this season, but I’ve heard about it. The channel is attempting to boost the ratings by showcasing the things that sell. And thus, morality is taking a backseat,” he says, alluding to the recent crop of participants, who, inarguably, turn to violence and misbehaviour to garner attention. Warsi calls the makers of the controversial show “businessmen”, who are not attempting to make the world better with their offering. Joining the likes of several actors and producers in blaming the audience for the worsening quality of content on TV, Warsi says, “People enjoy watching crass, and the channel is merely serving it. The content showcased on Indian television is regressive. The day people change, their taste [in content], the narrative of the shows will also change. If the world wants to see sensible people in the house, the channel will oblige. The audience wants to see dramatic people, those who fight, hit and abuse.” The suggestion, however, may seem debatable, given that the downfall of the show came to fore last week, when it failed to procure a spot on BARC’s top five TV shows, which saw Amitabh Bachchan’s Kaun Banega Crorepati ace the list.

An adaptation of the British sitcom, Big Brother, the Indian version, Warsi says, was not created with the intention of merely drawing attention. “The concept back then was to understand the psyche of people and notice the developments that occur when they are made to reside in a house, isolated from the world. No one wanted to cause any trouble. There was no nudity or violence demanded in the clause.”

Given that the drama unfolded only towards the latter half of the series, the makers decided to rearrange the format, Warsi suggests. “When you meet new individuals, you can be cordial for a week. Then, you discover their traits. When good behaviour wears out, the dynamics change. It takes time for people to reach that stage. But, now the channel wants immediate TRP success, so they are consciously sending nutcases into the house.”

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