A lot has happened after Bigg Boss Season 1 wrapped up. Host Kamal Haasan went on to launch his political party. Some contestants bagged plum deals. Some vanished into obscurity. But what has remained is the excitement and curiosity the show generated in 2017. This time, we as viewers are more aware, more perceptive. Contestants this Season may have a harder time winning over the audience.
But host Kamal faces no such challenge. He is back, and how! Season 1 initially saw him hamming it up for the camera till he got his footing in this medium. Now, he’s taking jabs and jibes at TN’s political scenario with a lot more ease. He stuck a quick one in regarding the split verdict on the disqualification case of the 18 MLAs and ‘resort’ politics. Season 1, Kamal was toying with the idea of entering politics. Season 2, he’s playing to the arena like a seasoned politician would. He’s pretty open about it, too. Kamal is clear that Bigg Boss is a platform for him to connect with the people. And if the stats are to be believed, he’s connecting with 5 Crore viewers. It’s a definite win in visibility for his party, Makkal Needhi Maiam.
What we already do love about this Season’s mixed bag is that it’s packed with stellar, accomplished women. The first entrant is the young newbie, Yashika Anand. She sounds very sure-footed for her age. And that will be handy in the days to come.
There’s RJ Vaishnavi. It’s nice to put a face to the voice. She comes from a literary background. Her grandfather is the late Sa. Vishwanathan (a.k.a Saavi), renowned journalist and writer. A journalism graduate herself, she says she too, writes. Well, if things go South, there’ll be no dearth of inspiration.
Another person with a famous voice to enter the show is Playback Singer Ramya. She’s got Cine blood on both the paternal (NS Krishnan) and maternal (TA Mathuram) side. Even though she chooses to stay behind, she may, in fact, be utterly at ease in front of all those cameras.
Actress Janani Iyer, a familiar face, hopes to make a more lasting impression with this show.
We were transported to the torturous tea estates of Director Bala’s Paradesi the moment we caught sight of Riythwika. She was dressed to the nines but we couldn’t help the flashback. The actress played a small but memorable role in the film.
VJ Mamathi Chari, a face from prime time, wowed us with her lyrical Tamil. Apparently, she’s a polyglot. But there are somethings language just can’t communicate. We’re keen to see how she navigates this show.
The bubbly and effervescent Aishwarya Dutta too bowled us over with her fluency in Tamil. It’s not her first language, but she makes a real effort to speak it. And that combined with her optimistic attitude makes her an interesting contestant. In fact, it places her several notches above the very forgettable Anuya of Season 1 who struggled to make an impression and express herself in Tamil.
And then, there’s Mumtaz. She makes a return to the limelight. But the question foremost in our mind after viewing her intro piece on Episode 1 is, ‘Is this the new Namitha?’ She seems to be gearing up for a fight and she’s pretty vociferous about putting people in their place. This ‘battle mode’ is reminiscent of the in-yer-face Namitha who had a troubled run on Season 1.
As for the men, they’re not as eyebrow-raising as the women. A few familiar faces - stunt actor Ponnamblam, Super Singer Voice Coach Ananth Vaidyanathan; new faces Mahat, Daniel a.k.a Danny, Shariq Hassan and Sentrayan.
The show’s thrown a googly already - by throwing in comedian ‘Dhaadi’ Bhalajie and his estranged wife Nithya in the same house! All eyes are on this pair now. Are they going to work it out? Are other contestants going to be made to take sides? How will this unravel? Questions we look forward to seeing answered.
Oviya’s back! Talk about throwing a spanner in the works even before things kick off. She’s in the house as a guest but none of the contestants know that. We’re quite sure we spotted some ladies get nervous when they saw her at the door. And knowing Oviya, she loves a good prank. Can’t wait to see who’s going to be left red-faced!
As for the house, it’s as gaudy as ever. A little change here and there with the seating arrangements. A lot more bling. The jail is a new addition and we’re waiting to see what kind of role it plays in the scheme of things. The pool is the same old murky blue. We felt a little kinship with Yashika Anand when she remarked ‘how old is this water?’
Going by the little snippets we glimpsed of contestants greeting each other and chatting, their biggest concern right now is who’s doing the cooking and cleaning. No one wants to be the janitor, but it’s not like they have much choice.
If there was one thing that grated in the first episode, it’s the candid talk we were privy to as the new gang of boys were discussing if the next contestant to enter the house would be male or female. One of them remarked ‘what if it’s someone in-between?’ To which there was nervous laughter. Bigg Boss with its wide viewership should take the opportunity to sensitise people on whatever issue it can. They could address this by giving a Wild Card Entry to a transperson. Maybe that would be a step closer to normalising trans people in society.
Lofty ideals aside, we’re eager to get started on Season 2. But it’s hard to shake off that uneasy feeling as we wait to watch how fast things fall apart. How soon will this go the way of The Lord of the Flies? Like Mumtaz quite rightly said, ’there’s a devil inside all of us’. But maybe this lot will give us something to be hopeful about.