Meet the first Kannada Bigg Boss winner
It was a tough battle between Arun Sagar and Vijay Raghavendra to win the first edition of Kannada Bigg Boss, hosted by Kiccha Sudeep. Actor Vijay emerged victorious and walked away with the cash prize of Rs 50 lakh.
Vijay, who won a National Award as a child actor, is related to the legendary Kannada actor Dr Rajkumar and is the cousin of actors Shivarajkumar and Puneeth Rajkumar. His brother, Sri Murali, is also an actor.
In conversation with Rajul Hegde, the actor walks us through his Bigg Boss experience and what worked for him.
Did you expect to win? Most viewers thought Arun Sagar would walk away with the title.
I figured Arun would win because of his talent and experience, and the way he handled every task.
In fact, I was already imagining giving him a congratulatory hug when they called out my name.
When I was given the trophy, I was wondering, 'Did I really win?' It was my wife's birthday on June 28, so this win is like a gift to us.
Image: Vijay Raghavendra, Sudeep and Arun Sagar
'Yes, it was very difficult for me to even say 'bye' to my wife'
What do you think worked for you in the show?
Patience, simplicity and the values I have learnt in my life have paid off. I had no strategy. I just had to be myself and go with the flow.
I was not completely away from the controversies in the house, but I didn't allow them to affect me. I handled it in the best way.
In the beginning, you were emotional, thinking about your wife. That was a big hit with women in the audience.
Yes, it was very difficult for me to even say 'bye' to my wife when I went inside the house.
Within a few days I started missing her. During the third week, Bigg Boss made me hear her voice. After that I was fine.
Image: Vijay Raghavendra and Sudeep
'I wasn't too keen to take up the show'
Did you have to make an extra effort to be friends with your fellow housemates?
No. I knew half of the people in the house from before. Things just fell into place gradually.
You are a successful actor. What made you take up this reality show?
Actually, I wasn't too keen. However, my wife convinced me to do it. She said that I should play to my strengths and also, my fans would know the real side of me. I also needed a break from films.
This show has helped me become a better actor and person.
Which moment would you consider the most memorable in the house?
When my birthday was celebrated with my family picture on the main door. Everyone was participating like I would have done with my family.
Image: Vijay Raghavendra and Sudeep
'Arun is one of the best friends that I have made in the house'
Did you have any unpleasant experiences in the house?
There were a few. One would be when Nikhita and Chandrika had a fight. I had to be a part of it for the right reason. Finally, Sudeep (the host) sorted it out.
What do you have to say about the host Sudeep?
I knew him much before the show. He is like my brother, and turned out to be an angel. He made the show a success together with the wonderful audience.
Did you follow any seasons of the Hindi version of Bigg Boss before entering the house?
I vaguely remember watching the first season a few years ago. After I got the offer, I didn't want to watch any other seasons. I felt that it would affect or influence my stay in the house.
Did you make any new friends in the house?
As I said, I knew most of them much before the show, though I got to know everyone better inside the house.
Today, I consider Arun a brother. He is one of the best friends that I have made in the house.
Do you think your popularity, plus your uncle's (the late Dr Rajkumar) and cousin's fans helped you to win?
Yes. I look up to my uncle, not as an ordinary man but much more than that. I am really lucky to be part of his extended family. Definitely it has helped me to be successful in life.
Finally, what will you do with the prize money (Rs 50 lakh)?
I want to spend it sensibly. This is hard-earned money. I have a few plans for the dance classes I run.
Image: Kannada Bigg Boss finale