Thamizh Talkies: When stars descend
Here is our take on the reality show Bigg Boss featuring Kamal Haasan
By the time this column goes to print, theatres in Tamil Nadu may have called off the anti-GST strike. But in case the strike continues, you have to wonder what will constitute as weekly entertainment for us. While urban towns have the luxury of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon, rural belts rely heavily on television for their daily dose of drama. The most recent addition isn’t a new mega-serial but the reality show, Big Boss. The dust on the presentation, the anchor’s humour and participants has now settled, and quite a few are following the trajectory of each participant in the past week. The fact that some of my friends even have their favourite Kamal Haasan moment from the episodes is proof of how much this has become the most anticipated television programme in recent times. My favourite jibe is when Haasan asks Namitha, “Any special tree?” after she says she had a spiritual awakening and mentioned the date and time of it happening. The actor’s wry humour and a hitherto unseen candour is a new experience which may need a certain getting used to. And the weekend episodes guaranteed just that.
This social experiment of a show already has its share of trolls online, and even celebs are joining in. Do catch the promos of the Motta Boss series from director Venkat Prabhu and gang, which shows Mirchi Shiva, Jai, Nitinsathyaa and their friends in a Big Boss setting, doing ‘chores’ and mumbling their complaints. Shiva faces the Big Boss camera and rants in secret, or so he thinks! It seems like a hilarious spin-off which proves that the reality show has caught on well, despite all the fuss during the first two days, thanks to unavoidable comparisons with the Hindi original.
But hey, here is the real deal. A household, say in faraway Muttam, Kaattumannarkoil, knows only this version of the series. For them, a Kamal Haasan is the face who has brought in the habit of watching a perceived urban channel, for a series which engages with their emotional and voyeuristic nature. Who gets expelled on what counts? Which participant comes across as most friendly and humane? Who is the most selfish contestant? Which participant doesn’t flinch from the toughest of chores (like Namitha, who set an example by showing how to keep toilets clean)? The machchan appeal of an otherwise oomph-girl now gets a make-over as we watch her do tasks that we normally do in our homes. Images get altered, and get real on this show. Only personalities like Amitabh Bachchan and Kamal Haasan (and Rajinkanth too, if he were to appear on television) could garner this level of rightful adulation and respect from everybody concerned, including the audience, viewers and participants. Haasan’s foray into television and his desire to be in more new-age platforms lifts an existing, veiled taboo that the Tamil film industry has on mainstream talents appearing anywhere other than the silver screen.
The writer is a former journalist who has worked in the film industry for several years and is passionate about movies, music and everything related to entertainment