How easy, or difficult, is it to be a contestant in Bigg Boss? Rediff contributor Rajul Hegde (seen below), who was locked up in the country's favourite house for a day, finds out.
Though I have -- as a television reporter -- visited and taken many tours of the Bigg Boss house over the years, I have often wondered what it would feel like to be locked up inside, having no contact with the outside world as per the show's protocol for its contestants.
Yet, when I got a call from the channel's public relations team to spend a day in the house with 13 fellow journalists so that I could get a first-hand experience of what it felt like to be a housemate, I was reluctant. My family and friends, however, convinced me to give it a go.
The Bigg Boss house is situated in the hill station of Lonavala, a two-hour drive from Mumbai.
The night before I took the trip, I was both nervous and excited, wondering what the next day had in store for me.
I reached the venue with other members of the media. We were asked to keep our phones, chargers, medicines and money away. Then, we were blindfolded, made to wear mikes and sent into the house in pairs.
The first thing I did was take a tour of the house. As you can see here, it is done up beautifully in traditional Rajasthani decor that has been given a contemporary twist.
Within 15 minutes of being in the house, I forgot about the cameras.
After everyone introduced themselves, we played games, shared creepy stories and gossiped about television shows and their actors.
Then, Bigg Boss welcomed us in his deep baritone: "Bigg Boss aap sabh ka hardhik swagat hai (We welcome you on Bigg Boss)."
He announced the eviction process where all of us had to nominate two people and give reasons for our choices. It was a terrible feeling to nominate someone so soon -- it had just been 15-odd minutes since we walked into the house. To make it worse, we had to give the names in front of everyone. Thankfully, the people I nominated were cool about it.
After a few hours, we requested Bigg Boss to send us lunch. After some time, we heard a ringing tone, which meant food was kept in the store room. Unlike the contestants, we didn't have to cook lunch ourselves :). After lunch, we were asked to go the garden area for a task.
The five contestants, who had been nominated for eviction, were asked to judge the task. It was a good opportunity for them to take revenge.
I was hoping for a physical task but no such luck. We were asked to showcase our talent, using props kept on a table. The judges would rate our performances by showing placards. Most of the contestants gave good performances which made me very nervous, especially because I had no idea what I would do. I can't sing to save my life and I only dance in a group.
I cursed myself, and all those geniuses who had convinced me, for having agreed to be locked inside the house.
When it was my turn, I wore an apron, which was one of the props, and acted like I was hosting a television cookery show. I decided to share the recipe for making crispy, delicious onion bhajiyas.
Though I speak decent Hindi, it's a big task -- for me at least -- to explain a recipe in Hindi on stage. My friends and relatives have always considered me a good cook but, after listening to my recipe, they may change their opinion!
The judges challenged me to do another task but I refused. I just wanted to get off the stage. Thankfully, I was not sent to jail like two of the other contestants!
But the judges were not as kind when they rated my performance and called it "Bakwas"!
After spending three to four hours inside the house, we were bored and started missing our phones. I salute the contestants who mange to live in the house for so many days with same faces, without any distractions!
Finally, on our request, Bigg Boss played some music and we started dancing. Mid-way, one of the jailed contestants was released though the other one had to stay put since he had rebelled and walked out on his punishment. Later though, Bigg Boss decided to be kind and released him as well.
Six hours after we entered the house, we left with a smile on our faces.