New Delhi: Indian television reality shows are always great fodder for public drama and spectacle. While being extremely petty, the drama seems to strike a chord with the masses at a base level.
A prime example is Bigg Boss (Colors), the popular Indian remake of the Dutch reality TV show Big Brother. Hosted by Salman Khan, the show is a TRP goldmine, and features TV personalities, DJs, and other people from the entertainment world holed up in one house, and asked for survive to win the grand prize of Rs 1 crore.
There have been numerous controversies in the show that have made headlines, but the most recent one has disturbed many more than entertained them. Earlier this week, a video clip from the ongoing 13th season showed a contestant, actor Sidharth Shukla, get physically violent towards another contestant, actor-singer Shehnaz Gill. The clip shows Shukla, on top of Gill on the floor, with his knee on her abdomen, pinning her hands down while threatening her. The other contestants don’t seem to intervene at any point.
If this is not Harrassment than What is. You can clearly see this Abuser thukla put his leg on her stomach and twisting her hands. No sane woman would tolerate such humiliation on national Telivision. @BiggBoss @ColorsTV @mnysha #BB13 #BiggBoss13 #BiggBoss pic.twitter.com/R7ISMYyuCl
— Raaz Bani Rahe ( MUFC ) (@KeepItRaaaz) January 6, 2020
Shocked Indians took to Twitter to call out the show, its producers, host actor Salman Khan, and Colors TV for letting the incident happen and then even airing it, thus condoning the behaviour.
— Rituparna Chatterjee (@MasalaBai) January 7, 2020
Let’s be real: The whole SidNaaz love story is fake and extremely toxic. Worse part is @ColorsTV is selling all the physical assault and violence b/w Shehnaaz & Shukla as “non-jhok” & normalising this behaviour! They even have celebrities endorse it! #BiggBoss13 @BiggBoss #BB13 https://t.co/MZMFStgFwS
— Amena (@Fashionopolis) January 7, 2020
— Poonam Mehra (@PoonamM24335285) January 7, 2020
There were many others who also pointed out that this has been Shukla’s modus operandi in the show. He is quick to get physically aggressive with people he argues with. Many even shared clips of him pushing other contestants and trying to instigate fights.
— §åmGïll 🌟#AsimRiaz 🌟 (@JDBtheROCKING6) January 7, 2020
Not the first time
The show itself has been particularly aggressive this season, with multiple instances of violence between contestants. In fact, just before the infamous clip, the episode showed Gill slapping Shukla multiple times over a petty fight.
Madhurima Tuli and Vishal Aditya Singh got into a war of words that turned violent, when Tuli hit Singh with her slipper. In another instance, Paras Chabra and Asim Riaz got into a fight over tea powder, which led to them pushing each other and having to be physically separated by other contestants.
Speaking to ThePrint about the growing aggression and violence on the show, former contestant Shefali Bagga, who was eliminated from this season a couple of episodes ago, said it shouldn’t be tolerated by the show. “While both (Gill and Shukla) are to blame, as they both were violent towards each other, and it was not meant in anger but in jest, the behaviour is not okay.”
The former journalist went on to reiterate that the show makes it very clear in the beginning that any kind of violence or aggression will not be tolerated. She also said Shukla got a talking-to from Khan and the Bigg Boss team after the incident. “This kind of behaviour is definitely not encouraged on the show. In fact, in previous seasons, contestants have been kicked out for getting violent,” said Bagga.
She is not wrong. In Season 8, Puneet Issar was ousted after he pushed co-contestant Arya Babbar. He was put in “jail” (the show’s version of the dog house) for it, too. Similarly, in Season 7, contestants Kushal Tandon and Tanisha got into a major fight, which ended with Tandon berating Tanisha and the latter pushing him.
In both instances, Khan intervened and reprimanded them and eventually eliminated them for their aggressive behaviour. In Season 5, Pooja Mishra and Siddharth Bhardwaj would consistently lock horns, which ended with Mishra trying to choke Bhardwaj and the latter retaliating. For this, not only were the two reprimanded, Mishra was also eliminated.
No comment from showrunners, Salman Khan
The controversial show, often criticised for being scripted and over-the-top, has always used these stunts grab more eyeballs, but many are asking just how far the producers of the show are willing to go in the name of entertainment. When ThePrint tried to contact the showrunners, no response was received.
Khan had earlier condemned any kind of rogue behaviour on the show, but is yet to publicly comment on the incident involving Shukla and Gill.
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