Big Brother vs. Bigg Boss

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It has the perfect formula for a pot-boiler movie. It oozes out fun, emotions, romance, squabbles, scheming and offcourse the most melodramatic dose of family saga especially immediately after the eviction, where all contestants cry in unison and echo the much clichéd “I Love You” phrase for the evicted contestants.

While the reality shows mainly feed on the voyeuristic tendencies of viewers, Big Brother (and the Indian Bigg Boss) show goes several steps ahead in manifesting itself as the most entertaining show on the television. However for the first time, after watching the Big Brother show in Australia, I could not resist but draw some obvious comparisons between the variegated versions of this show in India and Australia.

So what makes this tantalizing show so different in the two parts of the world? While common people create the flavour for the Big Brother in Australia, the flavour for the Bigg Boss is whipped up by yesteryear celebs, flash in a pan starlets, wannabes and those who (despite multiples attempts) could not make it big in the highly competitive tinsel town of India. Ah! Not to forget the latest additions in the form of firang beauties who surely add dollops of oomph factor to the otherwise coy version of this reality show. So while in the Aussie version fame is almost unknown to its contestants, in the Indian version each contestant is bursting with notions of being the most famous and highly accomplished person in their areas. Consequently is it not surprising that the Big Brother show (down under) is perceived first as a game, an experience and of course a quarter of a million dollars and second as a short cut to fame by the viewers. On the other hand the Bigg Boss show has somehow managed to create a perception of being the last resort for fame and millions of rupees for losers and bickering lots, although I must admit that the entertainment quotient is equally high in both the versions.

Second most obvious difference is in the decibel levels. We have seen objects flying, contestants pushing and shoving each other, things being broken and abuses being hurled in oodles in the Indian version. Who can forget the might Dolly Bindra or her verbal diarrhoea each time when Shweta Tiwari came into her sight? Others in the similar leagues were names like Raja Choudhary, Sambhavna Seth, Rakhi Sawant and of course Pooja Mishra who were known for their flaring tempers and shrill voice strong enough to bring down the roof of Bigg Boss’s house.  The Big Brother show on the contrary shows contestants who maybe upset, weeping, cranky and even back bitting each other but I am yet to hear something so loud, deafening and atrocious (barring the exceptions of a few) which would come remotely close to our Indian patrons of sounds effects.

Another area of difference is the PDA. While public display of affection is rampant in the Aussie version the Indian version is still naïve in this area – the obvious reason being the cultural variations. Despite the strict regulations in India we have seen romance blossoming between its contestants on the sets of Bigg Boss every year. Of course the fact that none of these love stories have lasted after the end of the show is not surprising for the viewers. If cuddling, massaging and holding hands stir the moral police in India the nude running, showering in the open, sun-bathing, snuggling under the same quilt are perceived normal in this part of the world.

Despite all of the above differences this show is truly high on drama in both the versions. You can either love it or hate it but like they say, you just cannot ignore it. While the idea of being locked away in a house for 100 days with 100s of cameras prying on you each moment is absolutely scary and even repelling to me, I must admit that I don’t mind watching others in the same situation. It’s difficult to say which version of the Big Brother show is better than the other, but for me the Aussie version has definitely struck a certain cord with its simplicity, fun factor and yes the mystery element – all without the theatrical hullabaloo, much to my mirth.

By: Madhumita Thakur

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