Fifteen contestants have been lined up to spend the next three months in the house, and actor Nagarjuna will host the episodes that are all set to start airing from Sunday.
Though 15 students from Osmania University protested outside the senior actor’s residence, saying he should not host the controversial show where the organisers have been allegedly accused of sexual harassment, sources from the Big Boss team tell us Nagarjuna is calm. The actor has assured the organisers that he wants to continue hosting the show. “These allegations happen sometimes... let the law take it’s course,” says a source, quoting Nagarjuna’s response. Interestingly, this is the first time that the reality show has been embroiled in such a controversy even though it has been televised in multiple languages and with multiple hosts.
The organisers too have decided to legally fight all the controversies coming their way. According to a source, the organisers approached more than 100 people as contestants. “Obviously, they can’t take all the people into the house as they need only 15. So after thorough scrutiny, 15 contestants were finalised,” says the source.
Some allege that the entire controversy has been raked up to boost the TRP ratings of all the channels, especially as all media houses started debating the issue.
Two women, Shwetha Reddy and Gayatri Gupta have accused the organisers of sexual harassment and filed a police complaint about the same. They also allege that the organisers initially told them that they would be taken in as contestants, only to backtrack on their word later. However, since the issue has taken a legal turn, no one is willing to talk about it now.
‘Lodge a complaint with the TV channel’
Thammareddy Bharadwaj, a member of the CASH Committee appointed by the Telugu film industry, explains that this issue is related to television and not the film industry as such. “We will look into the matter if they come to us. But I suggest that whoever is accusing the show organisers should first lodge an official complaint with the channel. Every workplace should form a CASH Committee to look after the problems faced by women,” says Thammareddy, adding that he has no information about the agreements given out by the show organisers.
Real couple in the house!
According to a source, the organisers have roped in real-life celebrity couple, actors Varun Sandesh and his wife Vithika Sheru. Popular anchor and actress Sri Mukhi, senior actress Hema and journalist Jaffer are rumoured to be some of the other contestants in this season of the show. “They have brought in some popular names for this third edition and most of them are quite well known,” adds the source.
Siva Balaji reacts
Actor Siva Balaji, who won the first season of Big Boss, became an overnight star after the show. Explaining that the process of selection is actually very tough and that many people are involved in the scrutiny process, Balaji says, “Raghu is the person who co-ordinates between the artistes and the organisers. He first approached me and asked about my willingness to do the show, after which he introduced me to the organisers, who then conduct many rounds of interviews to determine suitability.”
Further, he explains, “The first round of interviews alone do not qualify a person to become a contestant, because they want to check the person’s psychology and how he/she will be with people of different mindsets.”
Siva Balaji also reveals that many celebrities are approached to be a part of the show. “Their procedure of selections is different and they ask with full clarity. Some of the questions may be uncomfortable, but necessary,” he says.
As for the casting couch, Siva Balaji says, “The casting couch exists everywhere. But the film and TV industry is targeted as news spreads fast. People with complaints should go to the channel, the police or fight legally instead of appearing on TV channels and giving sound bytes.” The winner of the first season has a word of advice for contestants entering the Big Boss house. “People outside are judging every movement of yours. Make sure you keep that in mind,” he cautions as he signs off.