We've seen the Ulaganayagan clap-back in style at bullies in his films and the powers that be in real life. Can he extend this to the show?
Week 4 of Bigg Boss has been a pretty explosive one. Complete with verbal abuse and near fisticuffs. Fans were beside themselves and pounded Twitter baying for justice. Vindication of the very likable Oviya and condemnation of the lie that keeps on giving, Julie. Having been tagged in almost all the tweets, Kamal Haasan surely had a pulse on the audience. And he did address this prime concern in the weekend wrap-up, but we were left wanting. Here's what we wish he had delved into: Bullying.
Every week the contestants have homed in on one outlier among them. This person is made to feel alienated and cast-out. Even with valid reasons their approach each week could have been handled with empathy and maturity be it in the case of Bharani, Julie or Harathi. Kudos to Kamal for so rightly and succinctly pointing out that Bharani's transgressions may not have been transgressions at all. Maybe if there was a touch of this empathy in the house, this past week wouldn't have been septic with distrust and disgust.
Instead, all pretense had worn off in the 4th week. The contestants are bullies. And it was plain and simple for all to see.
Interestingly, Julie went from being the bullied to joining the pack of bullies. Call it survival skills if you will. And one mustn't be quick to judge her for doing so for even the most strong-willed can buckle under the pressure of a herd. Being an outsider, this probably seemed the easy way for her. While we're not justifying her highly questionable actions, we urge you to see the big picture within the context of bullying. How bullying begets bullies.
Bullying is not something that happens in a vacuum. It's not even a case of idle minds being the devil's workshop with regard to the Bigg Boss House. It's as rampant outside as it's inside the house.
Throughout the Q&A that Kamal had with the team, Shakthi, Gayathri and other contestants were quick to point out Oviya's assertions as a 'trigger' without admitting their own hand in pulling it.
For instance, why did Oviya leave the team meeting that was held to discuss her replacement as Leader of the Cleaning Team? Because Gayathri and Shakthi insulted her by asking if she was deaf, by accusing her of snooping on the women, and a whole bunch of things that were unrelated to the matter at hand. Oviya did the smart thing and left. The atmosphere was toxic. No one was discussing what they were supposed to. There was only dissing.
While everyone is quick to point out that Oviya has no patience to listen, no one is willing to introspect why. Her actions cannot be held separate from their behaviour.
While Kamal dispelled the commotion around Julie's tears and proved beyond a doubt that Oviya had nothing to do with opening the floodgates, it was dealt with as an isolated incident. While it in fact, set off a chain-reaction that accelerated the bullying.
Our concern is that bullying is a serious crime with severe repercussions. To see it so blatantly in the Bigg Boss household on a daily basis shouldn't normalise it. Neither should people on the outside feel that Bullying can get a free pass.
With an unprecedented number of people watching the show, host Kamal Haasan and the production team are duty-bound to step up to the plate. School the contestants. Educate the viewers. Bullying is never ok.