Are Bigg Boss makers utilizing the negative publicity for the show?
The latest furor over the defamed director Sajid Khan – currently a big boss 16 contestant – is fast becoming the talk of the town. The man who showed his true face (and more allegedly) to female actors and singers in Bollywood has been garnering a lot of attention since the #MeToo movement.
There are those cynics who’d say all this negative publicity isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However the purists, idealists, those at the receiving end and even the woman writing this article will gladly tell you it is quite a low point in Indian television.
Sona Mahapatra and Urfi Javed among others have expressed their displeasure over how Colors TV is normalizing the behavior of sexual predators like Sajid Khan by bringing them on a mainstream Television show that has arguably some of the highest viewership ratings in recent times.
But let’s look at it from the cynics’ perspective for a moment; Sajid Khan, #MeToo and Big Boss are surging on online searches, making SEO statistics do crazy backflips. Sajid seems to have hit a home run, thanks to the public penchant for voyeurism that makes peep-hole TV shows like Big Boss sell like hot cakes.
There’s something about the culture of crass and cringe that gets the audience’s minds hooked, even as it makes them smaller. Sajid has descended on the show currently in what can be called a newly minted ‘pious horror’ avatar, seemingly repentant for his past misdeeds. Sheer cringe-worthy genius, market pundits would say.
But who’s complaining? Certainly not the advertisers, the channel, or the contestants enjoying their short lived fame.
The fact is that #MeToo, a serious movement that exposed the endemic sexual exploitation of women at workplaces, has been co-opted to market and re-brand a creepy Bollywood director on prime time television in a strategic masterstroke, getting eyeballs glued to the screen and leading drawing room conversations as well as online threads. But at what social cost?
The conversation is rapidly veering away from the feminist struggle against the exploitation of women in the industry, into the territory of sordid gossip fueled by hashed and re-hashed sound bites.
Look in the mirror: Are you, too, guilty of using the all-seeing ‘eye’ of Big Boss for your voyeuristic pleasure? With your popcorn or dinner laid out on your coffee table and eyes unflinchingly glued to the screen…I know you are watching!!
(The writer is an Independent Media professional, Communication Coach, Radio Personality, Anchor and Performing Arts Artiste. She has a deep love for nature, animals, spirituality and culture.)