Rahul Vaidya, Rakhi Sawant, Aly Goni and Nikki Tamboli open up about their Bigg Boss 14 journey
'I am not a popular television actor, so much love coming my way makes me humble,' says Bigg Boss 14 runner-up Rahul Vaidya.
Rahul Vaidya reached the top two in the grand finale of Bigg Boss 14 but lost out to Rubina Dilaik by a thin margin. But the singer-composer is not complaining as he says, “I came with the sole intention of winning a new fan base and that has been achieved. I just did an Instagram live session with 70,000 people joining me. I started this journey with 180K followers and in four months I am at over a million. I am not a popular television actor, so much love coming my way makes me humble,” said Vaidya, who was judged second runner-up in the first season of singing reality show Indian Idol, in 2004-2005.
Before entering the Bigg Boss house Vaidya had told Firstpost that people already knew him as a singer, but now they want to know him as a person. “I love the fact that people love knowing me, they are very happy to know the human being Rahul. How I conduct myself, how I behave, how I do things, how I play mischief...And it really means a lot to me,” said Vaidya.
He furthers, “Honestly, I didn’t expect this kind of liking for me. I have always believed that all the marketing decisions can never promise you love, love has to be organic and that’s what I am getting now. I never cared where I am going to reach on the show, whether I would win or not, all that I wanted and ever cared for was I wanted love. So I didn’t feel bad about not winning, what I have achieved is priceless.” he said.
Vaidya had claimed to be missing his family and he had walked out of the show mid-way, “in one of those weak moments”. Also, besides Aly Goni, his co-contestant, the singer could not connect with any other housemate on an emotional level and after Goni’s eviction, Vaidya made a voluntary exit from the show. Does he regret the decision as that could have hampered his chances of winning the show, and he says, “No, it really doesn’t make a difference. Gauahar Khan had stepped out and she still won that season. In the previous season, Siddharth Shukla had also left for some time but he won. I walked out of the show and I own my decision. I feel people relate with your entire journey and forgive your mistakes. My parents are happy, my girlfriend is very happy, what more would I want?”
But Vaidya had to bear it when some of the contestants bullied him and he was tagged ‘bhagoda’ (Deserter) for a very long time. Did the tag ever get to him? “Well, initially, it did. But then, I was like it's a show, people are going to use words to bring you down. After a point, it was okay,” he said.
Vaidya was constantly at loggerheads with Dilaik, his staunch rival but he says that he has left behind all his fights and differences in the house. “The show has come to an end and so have our fights. I have respect for everyone. I don’t intend and wish to have animosity with anybody. My strong friendship will continue with Aly (Goni) and Jasmin (Bhasin),” he said. When asked what could have gone in favour of Dilaik, and he said, “I don’t know, I have no clue what people would have liked about Rubina’s game. I don’t want to think about it now. I will think about the game only when I am in the game, not otherwise. The show is over, she has won and I am happy for her. I wish her the best in life. You need to have a strong mental strength to be in the game. The show has made me a better human being. All of us have some flaws and my journey in the Bigg Boss house helped me to correct those flaws and that makes me feel so special.”
Rakhi Sawant entered the Bigg Boss house as a challenger and stuck on till the very end while the rest of the challengers beat a hasty retreat. Sawant walked out of the game show with Rs 14 lakh prize money at the last moment. “My journey was a mixed bag of khatti, meethi, very painful, very beautiful…I used to always wonder how I should play the game. Now that I am out of the house I know that people have been loving me, supporting me, so whatever pain I felt inside the house...somebody broke my nose, somebody poured dirty water on me, or some contestants degraded me, accused and blamed me for many things, I forgot all that pain and I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love,” she said.
“I am not feeling bad for not being the winner, or not coming in top three,” Sawant furthers, “Sometimes I felt that I can be the runner-up, or even the winner since I was able to win people’s hearts in a span of 10 weeks but I didn’t want to take that risk. You don’t get anything being first, second, or third runner-up except for spending three hours more on the show, so as soon as I got this opportunity of taking home Rs 14 lakh, I just grabbed it. It is a huge amount in these pandemic times. I have zero bank balance at the moment, and I needed the money for my mother’s medical needs. I have spent all my savings in the last few years on her surgeries, and needed financial backing. I have no regrets, as that moment all I could think of was the growing bills that I need to pay soon. So I don’t regret my decision. Also, the bracelet that Salman sir gave me, no award is bigger than that. And dancing as Basanti in the Sholay song with Salman and Dharmendra sir was yet another award for me.”
When asked about the accusation of crossing lines with co-contestant Abhinav Shukla, when she pulled the drawstrings of his shorts leaving him embarrassed and his wife and contestant Dilaik furious, Sawant nonchalantly said, “I did not cross any lines. I know my boundaries. I was in a task that I had to follow him, massage him and be around him. In a reflex moment, I did pull the strings, but his shorts didn’t fall off. So why make a hue and cry about it? They just wanted to create an issue out of it,”
Second runner-up Nikki Tamboli, who had a fiery start on the show and was soon branded a spoilt brat and was given the tag of ‘badtameez’ (ill-mannered) given her constant brawls with other housemates, is thrilled about coming in the top three. While she was evicted during the early finale, makers invited her again given her popularity. What surprised everyone was the eviction of Aly Goni, one of the top contenders, and Tamboli ending up in top three along with Rubina Dilaik and Rahul Vaidya.
“But I wasn’t surprised about being in the top three because I had always felt that I am a deserving contestant. I would like to say that I had a lot of confidence when I was in the show before I got evicted but when I came back into the show the challengers had also come in and some of these challengers like Rakhi (Sawant), Kashmeera (Shah) and Arshi (Khan) kept attacking me, they tried to pull me down and spoil my game. So, during my second stint, my personality underwent change because there was a lot of negativity and I started losing my self-confidence. I started feeling weak. It wasn’t possible for me to fight those three women. But nobody in the house supported me and I had to fight my own battle. Rubina came to support only towards the end and slowly I regained my confidence,” said Tamboli, who got two opportunities to take the prize money (Rs six lakh and Rs 14 lakh) and leave the show but she stuck to the game.
Tamboli, not a familiar name in showbiz, said that initially she was nervous about competing with big names like Dilaik, Vaidya, Eijaz Khan and Jasmin Bhasin among others, “But I believed in myself”. “I have always seen myself as a winner and therefore I reached in the top three. I may have not been a famous personality but my dreams were bigger as compared to the dreams of other contestants. In fact, when Aly was evicted I felt I could even emerge winner because Salman sir had said that anything can happen. For a moment I thought probably I will defeat even Rubina and Rahul (laughs), but then I thought if not me then Rubina will be the winner. Bigg Boss gave me a new life and how I will enhance it further is all in my hands,” said Tamboli.
Aly Goni, who had entered Bigg Boss 14 as a wildcard contestant to support his good friend Bhasin, gradually emerged as a strong contender but was out of the top three race as he received fewer votes than Dilaik, Vaidya and Tamboli. “I can’t help it; it is not in my hands. I did think that how I can get fewer votes than Nikki but then it is people’s decision. I did feel bad about it and wished to be in the top three. I am just taking back with me some good memories and feeling happy about getting so much love and positivity. People are congratulating me for my clean image. I have earned a lot of love and respect, some things in life are bigger than the trophy,” said Goni.
He further said, "I entered the show for Jasmin but then she got evicted and I stayed back. I was fighting for myself, and for me, relationships are also important. I behaved in a normal manner and was never fake, I was just the way I am in real life. I wanted to project my true and real personality. Bigg Boss is not just about fights or controversies, people like watching normal people. But I am really happy that the show helped me control my anger issues and has made me learn how to be patient in life.”
Don’t forget to tune in to 154 to watch it on Tata Play, and 117 on Dish TV and D2H on June 28, 2022 at 7pm for the Indian Television premiere of Baaghi.
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