I am a huge, huge Bigg Boss fan. I have watched all the episodes of the Colors show in the past six years. So often I’ve told my friends that my nights become colourful October onwards (since Bigg Boss airs from October to December). I’ve laughed and cried with the contestants, wondered why they gossiped so much about each other and why they always nominated the strongest contestant.
But never, even in my wildest dreams, did I imagine that one day I would get to live like them in the Bigg Boss house!
That happened last week when 13 journalists from Calcutta were flown out to Mumbai to spend 24 hours inside the house, this time for Bigg Boss Bangla, the show produced by Endemol that will be aired on ETV Bangla, Monday to Saturday, at 8.30pm from tonight.
After a three-and-a-half-hour drive from the Mumbai airport to Lonavala on a rainy June day, we walk into the studio floor, which looks very much like our own Technicians studio! And why not? It has been specially built for the Bangla Bigg Boss.
Post-lunch, our phones, chargers, credit cards and wallets are confiscated by the Bigg Boss team. One by one, we are all blindfolded. Many of us are unhappy now, wondering how we would survive without our phones. But the rules are set by Bigg Boss, we are told, and nobody can challenge him. So be it.
We are frisked by a security guard, and it takes a lot of time but I can barely hide my excitement. I am about to get into a house I know so well. The swimming pool is there, the green lawn, the smoking area, the kitchen, the dining space, the lounge area and the two bedrooms. Exactly like in the last six seasons. Only this set — designed by Oomang Kumar and Leela Chanda — is less spacious than the one in the Hindi version.
Forty-seven voyeurs... er, cameras... are watching every movement we make, every word we utter. So I have decided to say nothing objectionable and not gossip about anyone. It’s not that difficult, I used to tell myself when I was a viewer.
The first two hours are super boring. We hardly know each other. There’s no water in the washroom and all we want is a hot shower and some strong coffee. Finally, Bigg Boss speaks to us. Yes, in Bangla! And his instruction? Speak only in Bengali and wait for the task. Thank god, there’s no instruction to cook. Tea/coffee is not on the menu; we are given sandwiches with mashed potato stuffing. I’ve never been so hungry and mashed potato has never tasted better.
Now the biggest question is how to kill time. With nothing to do, we start gossiping about everyone and everything — from our fellow contestants to filmstars, the crew, the house, the colour, the Bengali decor, the fake Jamini Roy paintings on the wall, the kitchen, the artificial ilish maachh hanging in one corner of the kitchen...
Bigg Boss sends us another instruction, this time written in Bangla. Someone points out the spelling mistakes. Anyway, we have to act like mentally unstable patients in a hospital. Yay! Stupid things excite you when you are cut off from the world. Someone does a goddess Kali act, someone else is acting drunk. And cushions are flying all over the lounge area... yes, it sure is looking like bedlam. Task over, we sit down for dinner sent by the team. It’s time to hit the bed. Girls have chosen the room with pink bedspreads and comforters. Boys have camped in the purple bedroom.
Next morning, we are bored. Totally. Thoroughly. All we want is to get back our phones and wallets and head home. And 24 hours since we stepped in, we are allowed to walk out. I am happy I got to spend a night here. If nothing else, Bigg Boss does unleash the madcap in you. So, all the best to the real contestants out there!