Bigg Boss is a new challenge for me: NTR Jr talks about turning host and lack of privacy in digital age

Hemanth Kumar

Jul,08 2017 14:49 40 IST

For the first time in his career, NTR Jr is all set to turn TV host. The actor has been roped in to host the hugely popular TV show Bigg Boss in Telugu, which will be aired on Star MAA from 16 July. The first season will feature 12 contestants, who’ll spend 71 days together under the constant glare of 60 cameras.

Ever since NTR Jr took up the hosting gig, there has been a lot of speculation about why he decided to do this show, which has been the subject of several controversies especially in Hindi. However, both Star MAA and NTR Jr stressed on the fact that the Telugu version of Bigg Boss will be made according to Telugu sensibilities, without going into the details.

On Saturday (8 July), speaking at the official launch of Bigg Boss Telugu in Hyderabad, NTR Jr said, “I love taking up new challenges. I never thought I was going to host a show, and I have no clue how to host a TV show. But when I was approached for Bigg Boss show, I didn’t think twice before saying ‘yes’ to it. The show is extremely popular all over the world and I think everyone has a strong opinion about it, and I am excited to be associated with it. I found the format of the show quite intriguing. I’m a huge fan of Charlie’s Angels; however, we never know who Charlie is. We just hear a voice, which is similar to what Bigg Boss is. I believe that all of us have the urge to know more about a person and in the social media era, it’s become all the more easy. In the past, it used to take us a long time to get to know someone and it’s no longer the case. Bigg Boss gives us that opportunity and also to each of the contestants since they have to co-exist together without access to external communication like mobile phones or internet or even newspapers.”

NTR Junior on the sets of Bigg Boss Telugu

NTR Junior on the sets of Bigg Boss Telugu

Admittedly, it was his cousin who introduced NTR Jr to the show, when she exclaimed that Bigg Boss had reprimanded a contestant. Until that moment, NTR Jr claims that he didn’t know that Salman Khan, who was hosting the show, was not Bigg Boss himself. “I didn’t really follow the show in Hindi, so there is no question of emulating Salman Khan. I’m approaching the show with a clean slate and I’m just going to be a bridge between the contestants and Bigg Boss. I want to create an identity of my own as a host and I don’t think it’s going to be a cake-walk for me. Besides, I don’t believe in preparation. We might plan a million things, but until the right moment comes, we really wouldn’t know what to do. I’m hoping that I’ll tap into my fun side while hosting the show. There’s a misconception that Bigg Boss is a serious show, which is not the case. We don’t have to be negative either, but I can’t really predict what’s going to happen on the show,” NTR confessed, adding, “My cousin is thrilled that I’m going to host the show (laughs).”

The actor clarified that he has no clue who the 12 contestants are going to be on the show, although several rumours suggest that Tejaswi Madivada, actress, is one of the contestants. The show-runners are also tight-lipped about the contestants and say that just like the reality show, the names of the contestants too are going to come as a surprise.

The Hindi version of Bigg Boss, in particular, has traditionally been in news for the fights between the contestants and the more intense it gets, as the contestants grapple with isolation, negativity too reaches a whole new level. No wonder, every episode of the series has triggered an intense debate on social media and this level of obsession with the show is something which the actor is acutely aware of. “I must admit that negativity is an overwhelming force, but it takes years to cultivate positive thinking. At this point of time, it’s too early to predict what’s going to happen during the show. Whether it’s good or bad, success or failure, I’m open to new challenges and experiences,” he said.

The voyeuristic nature of the show has been its defining factor and it’s a reflection of our lives in the social media era where privacy is fast losing its relevance. NTR Jr himself agrees that the lack of privacy in the digital age is something that everyone has to deal with since we’ve all come under the social media glare.

“Everyone needs to have his/her own space and it’s very important. Now, how deep are you getting into someone’s private life depends on the other person’s willingness to allow you to come that far. You need to decide how much you want to expose your private life or let someone snatch away your privacy. When I think about my own life, I don’t tweet regularly — I only do it if I want to. Otherwise, I’m at home playing with my wife and son. It depends on each individual. When I say that we are all under social media glare, it’s not something we wanted individually, but it has come into effect because we — as a community, as people — made it happen. Social media leap doesn’t happen with you and me. It’s the technology which led to this change. I believe that technology is one person’s invention and all others’ want,” NTR Jr opined.

On a lighter note, NTR Jr admitted that he’s curious to know what’s happening at his own house when he’s away for film shoots. “Earlier, when I used to ask my son who his favourite is, he would say, without any hesitation, that dad is his favourite; however, of late, I haven’t been to spend as much time with him. Now, he says that his mom is his favourite. I’m curious to know if my wife is influencing my son in some manner (laughs).”