Indian Decade

Bigg Boss, Big Letdown

Bigg Boss 4 isn’t exactly great TV programming. But should the government be restricting access for viewers?

I recently watched two episodes of Bigg Boss 4, the Indian version of the reality TV programme Big Brother. In its Indian form, each season of Bigg Boss features around a dozen or so not-so-major celebrities who are required to spend weeks together in a house shut off from the outside world.

Over the course of its four seasons, the show has generated a lot of criticism, mainly for its sleazy language, objectionable content and vulgar scenes. The current season is no different. Of course, none of this has stopped the show from being one of the most watched TV programmes in India.

Earlier this week, meanwhile, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry asked for shows like Bigg Boss and Rakhi Ka Insaaf  (a relationship advice reality show) to be aired only between the hours of 11 pm and 5 am to ensure that families and children aren't exposed to such objectionable viewing.

I’ve never been much of a reality TV watcher, but Bigg Boss intrigued me. Some otherwise well-read, bright and intelligent people I know have become surprisingly addicted to the show. So, this week I decided to see for myself what all the fuss was about. And for once, all of the criticism is right on the mark. Much of the content is in extremely poor taste (although maybe it’s just me).

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Regardless of the taste levels, though, even if a show is seen as in some way harmful to the nation, should a government in a country proud of its free media really be decreeing suitable air times?