Colors TV has been wanting to experiment with introducing non-celebrity contestants to its flagship reality show Bigg Boss for the past three years now.
Bigg Boss' 10th season has probably emerged as a game changer for the franchise as it brought this much-discussed twist of non-celeb contestants into effect. When the show premiered on 16 October 2016, there was speculation aplenty over how these contestants would survive in the hitherto celebrity-oriented reality show. Seven people from different walks of life finally entered the house to give the celebrities tough competition. Considering the celebrities’ huge fan following, it was hard to believe that any of the non-celebrities would make it to the top slot. Initially, it was felt that the latter (called 'Indiawale' on the show) would be evicted in quick succession while the celebs stayed on to battle it out till the end.
But with the fifth week onwards, it was the celebrities who were ousted while Indiawale Manveer Gurjar and Manu Punjabi made it to the finale week — among the strongest contenders this season. Celebrity contestants Bani J and Lopamudra Raut, who were at loggerheads right from the start, will also fight it out in the finale.
Both Manveer and Bani have a hug amount of support among viewers of the show at this point in time. But just a day away from the grand finale, it is tough to take a call on who will walk away with the prize money. What cannot be denied, however, is that each of these four finalists — Manveer, Bani, Manu and Lopa — have had the most interesting trajectories on Bigg Boss 10.
Let's trace their journeys over the season.
Noida boy Manveer Gurjar, the owner of a dairy farm, was the very first contestant to make it to the Bigg Boss 10 finale week.
Other than few minor scuffles with Swami Om and his link-up with Nitibha Kaul, Manveer largely played it quiet throughout his Bigg Boss stint and did not do anything drastic that might have turned the spotlight on him in a negative manner. He remained a good and loyal friend to Manu Punjabi and the recently evicted Mona Lisa, and the consensus is that he is genuine and honest. Humorous and witty, Manveer proved to be a good entertainer besides showing a lot of grit and determination while performing tasks. In one of the last tasks — the 'Bungee Cord Challenge' — it was Manveer's dedication that helped two of his partners in the task (Manu and Lopa) reach the finale week. Unlike the others, Manveer refrained from bitching and back-biting and slowly but steadily consolidated his position, won people’s hearts with his consistent efforts and likeable personality. His popularity was there for all to see when he and Manu visited a mall for the 'Ticket to Finale Week' task where he took on his buddy and emerged the winner by a good margin of votes. It’s evident that people want Manveer to win the show.
But otherwise, it has certainly been a roller coaster ride for Manveer, who started out as less active than most of the other contestants. As the game progressed, and he teamed up with Manu, the two became extremely popular and strong in the house. Initially, Manu had an edge over Manveer. Manveer lived under Manu's shadow and didn't seem to mind. But obviously, it dawned on him later on that was not good from the point of view of his individual survival in the game. Perhaps, he also took his father’s advice seriously: when Manveer’s father visited the house, he told his son that he should be careful of Manu and play the game as an individual. Then when Manu had to leave the house because of his mother's demise, Manveer emerged from Manu’s shadow and proved his mettle. So much so, that he started getting the audience's love and support more than any other contestant.
Not just his physical transformation (he shaved off his beard to save Manu from being nominated, and also shed a noticeable number of kilos), his behaviour also underwent a major change. The man who entered the house with a short temper and a warning, ‘Think before you mess with me’ for his fellow mates, was the one who remained calm in the toughest scenarios. In fact, he was the pacifier during several major arguments inside the house. He has also managed this journey while staying true to his friends and his beliefs. While many felt that the stiff competition would eventually affect Manveer’s friendship with Manu, nothing of that sort has happened from Manveer's side — even as the show was just days away from the finale.
MTV Roadies alum and fitness freak Bani J has turned out to be one of the strongest contenders for the Bigg Boss 10 trophy. She maintained an indifferent front throughout her Bigg Boss journey, but she has a characteristic confidence that impresses fans. Her friendship with co-contestant Gaurav Chopra may not have been passionate enough to affect viewers, but she provided some interesting footage courtesy her fights with Swami Om and Lopamudra Raut.
The VJ, however, has not had it easy — probably because she thought that Bigg Boss would be a cake-walk but it wasn’t. What worked in her favour was her immense popularity, not just among the viewers, but also among the celebrities who visited them in the house.
Bani's journey in the house gave her much to rejoice over, but it also had several low points. Considering she is majorly into fitness, one expected Bani to do exceptionally well — in at least the physical tasks — but she did not turn out to be half as good or enthusiastic as the other contestants. She would give up easily right in the beginning and almost never managed to make it to the end which became one of the reasons for her stiff competitors like Lopamudra Raut (who won many tasks against Bani) to show her up as a weak contestant.
The audience was appreciative of Bani’s independent streak, playing the game as an individual with absolutely no support. Manveer has had Manu, Mona's and later Nitibha's support, but Bani was nominated by everyone as she was playing alone. Since Manveer, Manu, Mona and Nitibha were supporting each other, Manveer and Manu kept escaping nominations. And even as present and past contestants as well as certain viewers find her self-centered and selfish, Bani's strategy in the house worked pretty well and it was commendable to see her standing alone without ganging up against others. Love and support from her fans has been pouring in and even some of the top celebrities in Bollywood like Karan Johar and Farah Khan have named her as their favourite contestant.
One of the first things the viewers noticed about Bani was her obsession with eggs. In fact, she made no bones about the fact that she had got a supply of unlimited eggs approved in her contract before entering the house. Looking at her fitness routine, this doesn't come as a surprise. In real life, Bani is best friends with ex-Bigg Boss contestant Gauahar Khan, and there were enough mentions of her inside the house and she was elated when Gauahar paid her a visit. While Bani missed her terribly all through, she did manage to find a true friend in Gaurav Chopra. Even though the two fought a lot, there was a deep understanding between them, which made them inseparable until he was evicted. Bani has been in a lot of trouble with the inmates, but her catfights with Lopamudra Raut stand out. Right from abusing each other to Bani getting aggressive and even physical with Lopa, the two made it evident enough that they can't see eye to eye on anything.
Bigg Boss' celebrity host Salman Khan almost always supported Bani and even gave her advice and tips on how to survive in the house which didn’t go down well with the other contestants as they felt she was getting special treatment.
An entrepreneur from Rajasthan, Manu Punjabi comes across as a dynamic person and is also one of the most consistent entertainers on the show. From his antics during every task to his unapologetic friendship with Manveer and Mona Lisa, Manu endeared himself to the audiences in no time.
In the initial weeks, Manu befriended Manveer and the duo together provided a lot of entertainment with their acts and one-liners. There were reasons why the audience loved him. Manu always took a stand and whenever there was a fight in the house, Manu always tried to stop it. Though Manu himself was not good at any of the tasks, he helped his friends win. His honesty and attitude was what kept him in the game. Unfortunately Manu had to leave the Bigg Boss house after the sad demise of his mother. He returned after over a week but many feel that he came back a changed man. Says former contestant Sambhavana Seth, “Together, Manu and Manveer were quite entertaining but after a short break when Manu returned to the house, he had turned negative and had started bitching behind people’s back. We got to see the other side of Manu.”
Instead of being the honest and blunt guy that he used to be, he turned into a two-faced diplomatic person, felt many viewers and avid Bigg Boss watchers. Says former contestant VJ Andy, “Manu had gone out of the house and he returned with plans and strategies... He started pretending to be a nice person, whereas Manveer remained himself. Earlier, Manveer was like Manu’s puppet and he did come under the influence of Manu’s calculating nature and gossip session because they were thick friends. Later, Manu felt threatened by Nitibha when she got close to Manveer while he (Manu) was away. Manu wanted complete control over Manveer and if he can’t have that, he has a problem.” Because of Manu's changed behaviour, people on social media nicknamed him 'chugalkhor'. Salman, who had once made Manu the ‘Man of the Week’ (after he returned) for his tolerance and patience with ousted contestants Swami Om and Priyanka Jagga, too confronted him about this quality.
Manu may be coming back on track but with the finale just round the corner, there is not much time left for him to regain lost ground, and as former contestant Kamya Punjabi said, “Manu is good, but once a contestant goes out of the house and then comes back, he becomes less deserving for the simple reason that then they get to review the show from outside. They get to know how they look from the outside, they meet people, discuss, and then come back and play accordingly which is not fair to those who have been in the house from start to finish.”
Ever since she entered the Bigg Boss house, Lopamudra Raut (Miss United Continents 2016, second runner-up) has been appreciated by the viewers as well as the host Salman Khan for her forthright stance, dignified appearance and standing by what is right. What really impressed the masses was her taking a stand against all the wrong things that were happening inside the house. Tussles, arguments, fights and romances are commonplace in Bigg Boss, but as seen in the past nine seasons, the one who manages to catch the spotlight stays longer in the house, sometimes till the end. And one of the many things that appealed to the viewers is the glamour which Lopa has in abundance.
Lopa showed a lot of confidence and will power and won almost every task, time and again defeating her arch rival Bani J. Her interpersonal relations with her co-contestants was also very good and she was often seen styling hair and doing makeovers for her fellow contestants. While all these qualities — good looks, straight forward attitude and the courage to call a spade a spade — going in her favour, in the last few weeks one found a change in her behaviour, with her ego coming in her way. Was she just losing patience or is this the real Lopa? It also appears that her hatred for Bani, who has a sizeable fan following, was something that didn't go down well with a lot of people. Her insensitive remarks on Bani's looks probably affected her reputation and led to a dip in her popularity.
VJ Andy said, “Lopa will scream and scream and wants to tell everyone what she thinks, she just doesn’t stop talking. Lopa also has the biggest ego and always has to be right. Her personality has undergone a change. Lopa, in the beginning, was like this beauty queen, poised and graceful, strong and independent. But all that looks like a facade now. Her ego is so big that she is never wrong. Bani apologises, but not Lopa. A beauty queen can’t go around shouting – ‘Kaat daloongi, teri auqat kya hai...’ Is that beautiful? By showing this side of herself, Lopa might lose out.”
Of late, even Manu and Manveer, who so far were friendly with her, went against Lopa because of her immature and childish behaviour and compared her to ousted contestants like Priyanka Jagga and Swami Om. It seems to have finally dawned on Lopa that she should work upon herself with the countdown for the finale having begun.
Updated Date: Jan 27, 2017 13:32 PM