Bigg Boss 7: Two Salman Khans, one Advani, and no toilet paper

When a show's big ticket item is the poster-girl of poor career choices – from dating Uday Chopra to acting in Neal ‘n’ Nikki to now participating in Bigg Boss , you realise the level of celebrity you are dealing with. Bigg Boss 7 began yesterday, and the first contestant to be announced was the aforementioned Tanisha. Sister of Kajol, daughter of Tanuja, sister-in-law of Ajay Devgn and so on. Salman Khan introduced her by reciting the litany of her seriously impressive lineage. If I was her, instead of shaking my booty in a glimmering bustier and chiffon skirt like a go-go girl, I would have instantly started digging a hole to hide in. But shame as we’ve discovered over the years, is not a friend of any Bigg Boss contestant.

So what wonders does this season’s Bigg Boss hold?

First off, there are two Salmans who greet you. Because there’s Jannat–Heaven and Jahannum–Hell in this season’s show. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out contestants will stay in either one of these areas. With Jannat having all the luxuries such as toilet paper in the loo, and Jahannum having none, water in the loo. Welcome to a day in the life of the average Indian.

The Bigg Boss contestant list, sadly, was out-ed by none other than the man with his finger on the pop culture pulse of the country, the Andy Warhol-meets-PeeWee Herman-meets-Nostradumus of our times – Kamaal R Khan. On September 11th, KRK announced all the contestants on his YouTube channel. Following which Times Of India and some others started replicating the list. As an aside, it’s a sad day for newspapers when you have to be pipped to the post by KRK. Time to shoot yourself with his golden Deshdrohi gun.

So was KRK correct? It seems so. I sat and watched his 8 minute video prediction (I’m a big fan) and saw a group of people, most of whom even I didn’t recognise. Which is quite odd because I consider myself the doyen of B-grade entertainment.

Tanisha was followed by VJ Andy. Who the show is trying to slot as this season’s Imam. Which is a little offensive because they keep referring to the fact that Andy might just be gay, like Imam might just be gay. And Salman’s jokes of “please don’t hit on me” have already started.

Salman Khan returns in Bigg Boss 7. Screengrab.

Salman Khan returns in Bigg Boss 7. Screengrab.

Since Andy and Tanisha are on the top of the food chain that is Bigg Boss, they were given the privilege of deciding which contestant will stay in which part of the Bigg Boss house – Jannat or Jahannum.

Then began the PT Barnum circus. There were doppelgangers, the world’s fattest man, the world’s most unknown celebrities, a body builder and the crying lady.

Every year, there are at least two starlets who most people have not heard of because they seem to have starred only in Sallu’s personal home movies. They’re usually of foreign parentage, have raven hair, white skin and seem to be Sallu’s pick of the season. After all, as host, if I can’t even choose the contestants on the show – what’s the point, really. So this year, Sallu has not one, but two starlets — Hazel Keech and Elli Avram. These two are the poor man’s version of Katrina Kaif. Also, I thought they were part of the crowd hanging out outside Leopold’s Cafe the other night, but who knows.

Then there’s Rajat Rawail. He weighs 750 kgs and is the shape of a globe. If PT Barnum were alive, Rawail would be HIS big ticket item. Who is Rawail – other than famous for being Khan’s friend? He’s supposedly a director-producer, as all my friends who live in Bandra are,and is remaking Kaalia.

Then came a stream of unknowns or half-knowns. From a pretty boy called Kushal Tandon to muscleman Sangram Singh who is also the lover of Rahul Mahajan’s ex-flame Payal Rohatgi, to Apoorva and Shilpa Agnihotri who are the married couple for the season, to TV stars Rattan Rajput, Kamya Punjabi and Pradyusha Banerjee, to Gauhar Khan. Rajput and Gauhar have already starred in their own reality shows. So they’re what we’d call veteran reality stars — our answer to Snooki.

The wild card which even KRK had not prepared us for was the entry of Armaan Kohli. He of Jaani Dushman fame. Nobody has seen or heard from Kohli in the last 20 years, but there he was. Resurrected for us all.

Of course there were the guest stars – who came in to shake a leg and entertain the masses. There was the supposedly hilarious Kapil and entourage from Comedy Circus and then came Akshay Kumar, to shake a leg on the show because he’s making a film called Boss. Get it? Boss-Bigg Boss. Direct connection.

Contrary to what my friend Shiv Aroor had tweeted – that LK Advani should participate in Bigg Boss – another Advani was on the participant list. Anita Advani. She of “I hate tears fame” aka Rajesh Khanna’s last girlfriend.

Advani, of course, cried from the moment she entered the set to the moment they put her into the Bigg Boss house. Khanna had obviously not repeated his favourite screen line enough times to her. I’m going to be watching just for her. Nothing like a much-wronged lover who knows she’s being beamed into millions of homes and can let loose dirty family secrets at any time, to keep the TRPs going.

Also, to underline my personal pain, they also showed us the most adorable looking golden retriever puppy who they’re claiming is going to go into the house at some point. Now if there’s a case for cruelty to animals, it is this. Where is Maneka Gandhi when you need her?

At the end of two hours, what we got was Salman who looked pleased as punch, and a group of people who have no toilet paper or water. Just the right mix of trash and more trash and dirty linen to keep people tuned in.

You can watch Bigg Boss 7 on Colors from Mon-Fri at 9pm.

Disclaimer: Bigg Boss 7 airs on Colors which is part of Network18 which also owns Firstpost.