The circus is back in town, complete with bearded ladies, clowns, snake charmers, ring masters and dancing ladies of all shapes and sizes. Bigg Boss 5 is already showing signs of living up to its earlier avatars, and promises as much sleaze, catfighting and all-round mayhem.
Now, the good stuff first. The hosts are surprisingly fabulous. Salman Khan is just a natural on TV because he's doing what he does best: play himself. Playing a thinly scripted version of himself may get repetitive in movies but it works like a charm on Bigg Boss because he's a true-blue entertainer, funny, self-deprecating, sceptical. And he truly is embarrassed when the ladies gush over him.
This time round, he's got boozehound Sanjay Dutt with him, and they have a nice 'boys will be boys' vibe going with plenty of insider jokes and dancing, as they played to the gallery in full. Sanju baba made so much fun of his three weddings in the first half-hour that we had to forgive his many trespasses, be it in guns, babes, or film roles. Anyone who can laugh at himself on international TV deserves a vote from me.
But little prepared me for what followed next. Shakti Kapoor in all his glory sporting an orange shock of hair resembling a dead Pekinese, dancing in a 'chaddi' to Bachna Ae Haseeno. And he's the only male contestant in the house!
The bevy of female contestants ought to sue Endemol for condemning them to a fate worse than death. Like all good predators though, Shakti Kapoor has his chivalry routine down pat. He dutifully dragged thirteen heaving suitcases of the thirteen heaving female contestants into the house. He obviously knows that age-old adage: "Always be nice before trying to cop a feel." Only time will tell whether adding Kapoor as the only man on this island of Lesbos will make for interesting television.
As for the women, the producers have clearly picked up their Khatron Ke Khiladi casting sheets for the last two seasons, and placed a few calls. First on the list is Pooja Bedi in a very strange satin gown. Then there's Shonali Nagrani who wore a mad Narendra Modi-esque glint in her eye and pancake smile while dancing to her entrance number. Also Sonika Kaliraman Malik, India's first female wrestler who is six months pregnant, and once declared 'Bigg Boss ka reputation psychic hai'.
The only known non-KKK contestant is singer Raageshwari, who we were informed is into Tibetan yoga — which is likely the secret of her washboard abs. The rest are the usual array of unknowns and skanks who will later thank Bigg Boss 5 for their dubious 15 minutes of fame. A strange blue-eyed Pooja Missra who is a VJ of sorts, and has hosted some very forgettable shows on UTV Bindaas. Nihita Biswas, the 22-year old bride of the 67-year old Charles Sobhraj. Shradha Chaudhary, best known for co-habiting with Raja Chaudhary who is usually in the news for either picking up prostitutes or beating up Shradha or threatening his ex-wife.
As in past seasons, Bigg Boss 5 has ensured that there's at least one hotty for the men to feast their eyes on. This time it's Mahek Chahal, whom no one will remember from that stellar classic Yamla Pagla Deewana, but who will definitely be remembered after this show.
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