The last three episodes of Bigg Boss have been troubling. We have issues with three contestants on one topic - women’s rights. First up, we have Sendrayan. Over the weekend he confessed that he misses his wife very much. While he regrets not having appreciated her, he expressed no regret for the way he has treated her. He even admitted to beating her. There was no trace of remorse or shame. It was strange that host Kamal Haasan who has been vocal about the need to respect women, chose to overlook it.
Then, we have Nithya. She came into the Bigg Boss house on the back of two things - as the voice of single mothers and, on a more personal note, to disprove the many taints heaped on her due to the rift between her and estranged husband Bhalaji. The past two weeks had been tough on her as everyone came to her with unsolicited advice and behests to reunite. Her repeated request for time went unheeded. Now in the third week, relations seem to have improved between Nithya and Bhalaji. So when it was Nithya’s turn to speak on Eviction Day, she stated that she wished Bhalaji would continue in the house as ‘she knew that regardless of whether he scolded her or even hit her, he would only wish the best for her.’ While what happens between Nithya and Bhalaji is a personal matter, and she’s entitled to her opinions, there has to be awareness of the platform on which they speak. With “3 crore” people watching, we take umbrage with the way Nithya expressed herself and her choice of words. For someone who claims to want to inspire single moms, she normalised abuse. And so did Sendrayan.
But something more distasteful appeared over the course of the weekend - Ponnambalam’s misogyny. He has been directing vulgar words towards the two young contestants of the house - Yashika Anand and Aishwarya. With respect to Aishwarya, he was especially cruel when he told Kamal Haasan that ‘she is ready to lose anything to win the show.’ He went on to claim that his intentions are pure (even though his words warrant a rinsing of his mouth with soap) because he merely wants to uphold Tamil culture. It was precisely this self-appointment as custodian of Tamil culture that got him thrown in Bigg Boss jail.
But that was not all. He teased the audience into believing that the two girls had been up to some sort of promiscuity. This was the bone of contention on Monday’s episode. Maybe it’s some consolation that Ponnambalam questioned Sharik as well. But it is the two women who have had to face the brunt of Ponnambalam’s accusation from both the contestants and the audience.
Yashika and Aishwarya had a heated argument in the face of dissent from fellow housemates to prove that Ponnambalam is wrong. That he, in fact, saw nothing inappropriate. That in place of a promiscuous act there was only a late-night chat. That the timing and proximity to his bed were insensitive as it was disrupting his sleep, is a valid point. But to slander two women just because he can, is unacceptable and vicious.
Will Bigg Boss and host Kamal Haasan please address the blatant and rampant misogyny in the house?