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Move over Big Boss. It’s time to look at The Big Picture—juvenile, but has Ranveer’s energy

Of course, you could watch both, as they are on the same channel—one after the other— but what fun would that be?

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In a news week that chimed in perfectly with climate change warnings coming out of the COP26 summit in Scotland, when the foam in the river Yamuna rose like `icebergs’— according to Times Now anchor Rahul Shivshankar—but didn’t deter women from frolicking in it, when Delhi’s air and water quality earned it the sobriquet “Toxicity” by India Today,  when a Mirror Now reporter bravely waded through the floodwaters in Chennai after torrential rains, when the Zika virus spread in Kanpur seriously enough for DD News to visit patients in city hospitals, and when BJP’s `D-Bomb’—courtesy former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis—was countered by the Nationalist Congress Party leader Nawab Malik’s `H-Bomb’ on Wednesday, it really is time to look at ‘The Big Picture.’ 

This is the latest reality show (ha, ha fooled you!) aired on Colors, on Sunday evenings before Bigg Bosska vaar’ breaks out at 9 PM. Now, the big question is this—who would you rather watch? Actor Salman Khan, slumming it out with Big Boss contestants, or actor Ranveer Singh dancing with the stars (Rani Mukherjee and Saif Ali Khan, for instance) or Devyansh Babu, the first engineer graduate from his village in Uttar Pradesh?

Ah, decisions, decisions.

Of course, you could watch both, without bothering to lift even a finger, as they are on the same channel—that too, one after the other— but what fun would that be?

Well, Ranveer Singh does everything he possibly can to entertain you—he hugs contestants, high-fives and jokes with them, commiserates with their misfortunes, laughs, teases, sings (or tries to) and dances, dances, dances. In between, he finds the time to gaze up at the big screen and play the game. We will come back to that in a moment.

Also read: Prateek Sehajpal, Biscuit Boys set the theme for Bigg Boss season 15. Jungle politics rule

Salman Khan—king of the Jungle that’s Big Boss

Salman Khan, into his 12th year as the Big Boss, prowls around the stage like the jungle king—highly appropriate, as season 15 of the show is called `Sankat in Jungle’, (Trouble in Jungle) and features a jungle house. Also, one contestant delights in the name Simba—we kid you not—and that is actor Simba Nagpal.

Khan—with his hands jammed perpetually in his trouser pockets as if they are stuck there—in his black attire, which changes from time to time, glowers and glows, scolds or consoles the contestants and just very occasionally, if he is in a good mood, bestows a beatific smile on them.

Without a doubt, he is the uncontested winner of Bigg Boss, which features TV actors, the odd Bollywood actor, models, and people who make a living out of appearing on reality shows. That’s no competition for Khan, who struts about the stage with swagger and a menacing eye—each time he growls, the audience, the contestants, and the viewers shiver with pleasure—oooh!

He is the stern schoolmaster, barking out orders, ticking off the inmates of the house for their transgressions, and sweetening this with a little homily—he told contestant Ieshaan Sehgaal that pyaar-vyaar, would not get him far on the show, that Bigg Boss`romance par nahin chalta’ (the show doesn’t work on romance) but to “cheer up… life will go on, the show will go on.”

And so it goes on—for three months and counting, until only two contestants remain to slug it out. This year, there are few big stars and well-known faces on the show—the majority are TV actors and models, from Jay Bhanushali and Karan Kundrra to Tejasswi Prakash and Shamita Shetty, the movie star.. Afsana Khan is there to bring the house down with her powerful singing voice.

These poor people, stuck with each other out there in the middle of Goregaon, Mumbai, try to generate more conflict than what India faces at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China or the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan. And they try to keep us interested in their interpersonal relationships with more “tu-tu–main-main” than on the nightly TV news debates.

When all else fails, they climb into bed with each other—yes, a girl and a boy, snuggle up together, whispering sweet nothings. Moral police, look the other way.

Also read: Bobby was Bigg Boss’s first gay darling. Today, Salman Khan’s season 15 lacks LGBT+ celebs

The Big Picture has Ranveer Singh’s energy

Look at The Big Picture (TBP) instead. An offshoot of Sony’s Kaun Banega Crorepati, this quiz show uses images as the clues to the questions—12 pictures, in all, to win Rs 5 crore, with four options to each answer and lifelines. The questions look simple, literally, as an easy way to make a fast buck, but that is not always the case—the photo of a scarecrow (what does it scare away?); Yoyo Honey Singh (name his song which features an item of clothing); Howrah Bridge (what kind of bridge is it?).

Like KBC, the contestants usually come from less-privileged backgrounds, and their aspirational stories and ambitions fill you with admiration—Devyansh wants to use the money that he wins at the competition to build a library for his village.

The focus of TBP is very much Ranveer Singh and his hijinx. Wearing a variety of gaudy designer clothes, with his short ponytail trying hard to keep up with his moves, he horses around throughout the show. He also creates occasions to burst into song and dance—doing a lungi dance with the hapless Devyansh, forcing Saif Ali Khan to reprise his famous Ole Ole item number, leading Rani Mukherjee through Mere Sapnon ki RaniKoi Mil Gaya, and generally having a ball.

A little juvenile, but clean, good fun nevertheless—with a host whose enthusiasm is infectious. As for Bigg Boss, well, it’s got raw emotions and the basic instincts of survival as contestants eat into each other.

Views are personal.

(Edited by Humra Laeeq)

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