Chennai: This week I experienced the 'Round 3' of Bigg Boss run. Despite the usual fanfare and politics, Ulaganayagan Kamal Haasan has made it to host the 3rd edition to helm Bigg Boss on Vijay TV with all 'live' action commencing from June 23.
As usual, I was stripped off my possessions including my mobile, watch, pen, money etc, and there was something different from my previous episodes. Yes, a thorough security check of the 15 journalist participants to ensure that we were not carrying any hidden cameras or anything which would spill the inside secrets. I was the only one who was held for a while as they wanted to double-check the dark green ceramic pendant that I was wearing, for any spy cameras. After I explained that it was actually a lucky charm and a piece of traditional jewellery of New Zealand that I had received as a gift, they let me move to the next procedure. We were given a sling with a mike and asked to retain it on us at all times except in washrooms and while asleep. Some acts such as the blindfold escort to the palatial Bigg Boss 3 house continue. But everything else inside the house is transformed.
A task to enter the house: The BB house comes into view. The front elevation and exterior of the house designed in Chettinad architecture style and painted in organic green is grand and opulent. A lush artificially created lawn with a small swimming pool on its left and walls on the other side in the front are painted with pictures of temples, a shandy and busy stretches in villages. Like the last season, the jail is intact on the left with the only addition of an attached toilet, a mud pot for drinking water, which implied that wrongdoers would be housed inside for longer days. But the gym is missing and the smoking room designed symbolically as a chimney. There are at least a dozen cameras in this area.
The front door is still locked as we wait patiently in the hot sun. Our task starts early in the morning as Bigg Boss, in his bass voice, greets us and tells us that only 14 of us can proceed into the house. One person has to be put behind bars. After a game play of elimination, the last unlucky one is sent to jail. It is just for a minute, but Bigg Boss is kind enough to let him join us inside the house.
All new interiors: 'Theme Vehicles' and yellow color dominated in all places. As you enter the well-lit house, an angry man with an aruval in his hand was hanging by the wall, welcoming us. There's a half bicycle on the left that juts out of the wall. As we move on, the real Bigg Boss- our own Kamal Haasan sporting a Virumaandi look is featured in paintings. A little further, you see Rajinikanth's mural in a cool Petta pose. And on the left, the walls are adorned with traditional Tamil Nadu artworks - from Bharata Natyam to folk dances like oyillatam, bommalattam and mythological representation of folklore. There is also a huge portrait of a ten headed Ravana and exactly opposite him is the Confession Room seemingly designed like a demon's mouth with a huge crown adorning it.
The entire wall in the living room is decorated with paintings centered on the human body. In the middle is the significant 'Agam TV', from where our Kamal addresses the contestants.
A mobile kitchen and a round dining table: Unlike the last two seasons where the kitchen had a lengthy work area with gas stoves attached to it, this time, it is designed like a food truck. The rectangular dining table has become circular now. Like the last time, we were spared from even making tea and coffee (which I prepared in the first edition) and food was given at all times. We had to pick it up from the storeroom once the buzzer rang.
No Queen or King signs outside bedrooms: The previous year had two large well-decorated bedrooms with signs of King and Queen outside (eight on each side). But this year there seems to be no separate boys' or girls' room and the area is split in the center by another motif - a wheel like structure.
What did not change was the noise of a dog barking that beams out of a loudspeaker when you sleep in the day.
A task to select the leader of the house: Though I was unanimously selected as the thalaivi of the house for the last two seasons, this year there was a task given by Bigg Boss to select the captain from the shortlisted inmates. First, we were asked to nominate four captains (fortunately I was one among them!) and then the task of building a pyramid out of paper cups was given to us. Whoever makes it first would be chosen as the head. Well, I lost!
A 'task' at rest rooms : The washbasin and mirrors are designed in the form of a metro water tanker (theme) with iron valves instead of traditional taps. To open the iron valves was a big task for many of us.
Truly a splendid experience: We had plenty of other interesting tasks to perform and a day's stay in the Bigg Boss House gave me the much-needed break from the hectic lifestyle of a journalist. As the tagline of Bigg Boss Season 3 says, "It is not a mere show, it is your life," I felt it truly a splendid experience....