Not Kamal Haasan, not Namitha or Jallikattu Julie; the woman who's been bringing home the TRPs for Bigg Boss Tamil this year, is contestant Oviya.
Bigg Boss Tamil was enjoying decent TRPs thanks to Kamal Haasan and the other contestants. But Oviya is responsible for social media timelines now being flooded with #OviyaArmy posts, Julie memes and BB Tamil discussions. The biggest surprise was when Haasan too joined the Oviya bandwagon.
The last time I personally witnessed such levels of hype for anything Bigg Boss related, was when ex-lovebirds Gauhar Khan and Kushal Tandon went all out during season 7 of the reality show's Hindi version.
In case you're still wondering what all the Oviya Helen buzz is about, here is a quick lowdown:
'Neenga Shutup Pannunga'
Not heard this yet? We are sure you must have seen merchandise with this phrase. Oh, there's also an anthem based on this — we kid you not. One week into the reality show, Oviya began grabbing attention for being the brash, bindass girl. She was also known for keeping away from schemers and being the frankest contestant this season has seen by far.
Now if you try to tell a contestant like that to listen to someone else — you can guess what happens next. of course if you are going to tell such a woman to listen to whatever the other contestants or a captain in this case said. You can guess what happened next.
And that's where it all began. At least for us, the beginning of the Oviya era was when she shunned fellow contestant Ganja Karuppu, saying, "Neenga shutup pannunga" (which means: with due respect, please shut up). After this incident, there was no stopping her. In the outside world, the audience was busy adding t-shirts with her slogan to their carts and inside the house, it was soon nine against one.
Gayathri, Oviya and the loo
Like many Bigg Boss (Hindi) episodes in the past, in Tamil too the bathroom played a vital role. While Oviya received enough flak as the 'outcast', she was also blamed by Gayathri for being irresponsible towards her duties. Once again, the actress stood up for herself and just walked off from a conversation considered rather 'important' by the other contestants. Frazzled about her behaviour, most contestants, especially Namitha began to plot: Why not make the whole house stand up against her?
But did it really matter? Not one bit. The audience was in awe of her straightforward nature, they loved that she did not give a damn about anything. Which in a way proved to be annoying during tasks for fellow contestants, but who cares? Looks like #OviyaArmy has anyway got her back.
Oviyans and Jallikattu Julie
Julie faints due to health issues and grabs eyeballs for being fake. Oviya, the good Samariatn, does nothing but wipe her tears and listen to her plight. What happens next is a huge blame game, web of lies and manipulation by Julie. Little did Julie realise that she was soon going to be grilled by the audience and especially Kamal Haasan, regarding the incident. Now, Oviyans (Oviya's fans) obviously went all out and Julie has been branded the new villain of the house.
Kamal Haasan joins the bandwagon
Kamal Haasan's weekend hosting gigs give us a hint or two that he too, has a soft spot for Oviya. From playing back videos that prove Julie is blatantly lying and manipulating the other contestants, to bringing Oviya back into the game — his decisions have taken many by surprise.
Like the contestants have pointed out, it isn't that Kamal Haasan hasn't highlighted Oviya's mistakes. However, he treats her like a child. His sarcasm has mostly been directed towards those against Oviya. The Bigg Boss Tamil anchor, in fact, took the internet by a storm when he called out Julie on her anti-Oviya games: "It is not manipulation Julie; it is hallucination".
Oviya mellows down, Aarav takes a different route
Oviya's got back into the game, but she continues to be a loner and has also broken down on several occasions. The Tamil audience has blasted Julie and Gayathri on social media, and if Oviya so much as sheds a tear, it becomes a topic of discussion. After all, she was bullied, threatened and pushed to the limit in many episodes.
On the other hand, Aarav who was always considered Oviya's love interest, too has backed out. After nominating each other in the past week to Aarav going around the house, talking about her unreasonable behaviour, Oviya is now showing signs of wanting to leave the show. However, considering the format of the show and Tamil makkal's emotions towards Oviya, we are guessing this is just phase two of the big 'Oviya project'.
Oviya the rebel
We also need to discuss how Oviya's lost the plot many times.
From pushing Julie to the ground during the red carpet task, to walking away from discussions and instigating people and swearing at fellow contestants, she has done it all. She was even shown bothering Aarav at times when it wasn't required at all. Why the undying support for Oviya then? As we have seen, her actions are usually justified in the weekend episodes, as a reaction to everything her fellow contestants put her through.
Oviya has several times in the past stated how she's "being pushed to do all of this". Also every time the actress is even slightly seen to be weak, tasks and other situations have got her back in the limelight.
The most recent episode of note for Oviyans is the 'shock treatment' one. The Bigg Boss Tamil house was converted into a research centre with contestants asked to behave as though they were suffering from a mental illness. Oviya pulled out of the task after playing her part for a while and torturing Aarav as her 'lost lover'. Why did this work for her? Well, the audience was already fuming over how a show like this could turn mental illness into a task. There, she struck gold again. Her withdrawal from the task pointed to her finding it insensitive.
Bindhu Madhavi, the wild card entrant who's been in the house for just three days, has already ranked Oviya as the number one contestant, and Julie as the least liked. Considering she's watched the reality show from the outside, Bindhu knows which way the wind's blowing.
Who would have thought Oviya's Bigg Boss stint would create movements, hashtags and merchandise? Now, is she too playing a smart game like the others? Will she make it to the end? Will she show us another side of her personality? We'll just have to wait and watch.