Bigg Boss Seven plays with hell and heaven

MUMBAI: Each year they try to take it up a notch, and it’s not getting any easier. But Bigg Boss never fails to surprise and entertain TV viewers and Hindi GEC Colors believes that this year as well, the seventh season, will ring well with TV audiences.

And it introduced it to the media on 11 September evening with a high profile launch with oodles of glam themed around a mix of heaven and hell, which is the signature for the year. And of course with the announcement that long time loyal backer Vodafone has signed on as the presenting sponsor for the fifth year.

Admits Vodafone chief commercial officer Vikas Mathur: “The program has huge followers and it gives us good impact and reach making it valuable for Vodafone.”

Deepak Dhar, Vivek Mathur, Salman Khan and Raj Nayak at the launch of Bigg Boss Saath Saat.

With the set in Lonavala once again, 80 to 90 cameras have been rigged to give audiences a peep into the lives of the 14 contestants who will this time face ‘jannat’ and ‘jahannum’ as part of the deal.

The show produced by Endemol takes up a good 300 days annually to be put together by a dedicated bunch of 150-170 professionals right from creatives to the casting and technical crews.

Like in the case of most international formats, the creative folks at Endemol India (the producer of the show) and Colors rely heavily on the Big Brother bible to add elements which have worked elsewhere where the show is telecast globally. The ‘Global Creative Team’ is also constantly working at coming up with new and different ideas. This team meets up twice in a year to look at the progress and variety in Big Brother across the globe.

"We are constantly looking at what are the best elements and we add to it as well as adapt,” says Endemol MD Deepak Dhar.

Once the conceptualization has been done, the art director and set designer moves the ship forward to create the set which takes up about four months in all. “It’s less of a set and more of a house because people have to live in it,” adds Dhar.

Today, Bigg Boss has moved beyond being produced for Hindi audiences; language editions in Kannada and Bengali have also aired on television, the credit for which Dhar attributes to Colors CEO Raj Nayak.

“We are slowly paving our way into the regional markets of India as well,” reveals Dhar.

The show has already started making a buzz in the digital sphere with the Facebook and Twitter engagement activities in the form of heaven and hell anecdotes.

“The fact that there is so much of expectation from Bigg Boss puts a lot of pressure on the digital team because we need to ensure it matches to it,” admits Colors digital head Vivek Srivastava.

The most important and integral part is prior to the launch when the curiosity needs to be built without giving away names or details about the show. “It gets easier once it has launched but then the workload is more as well,” adds Srivastava. The current idea is using cartoons to get across the dual nature of the show to the viewers.

The marketing mix seems to be the usual 360 degree campaign involving a lot of focus on TV, on both, Network18 group channels and other channels. “We believe we can reach many viewers through TV,” says Colors marketing head Rajesh Iyer.

Salman Khan has been the host for four seasons of the show and this is his fifth stint. He gleefully says that he will continue with Bigg Boss till the time Colors gets tired of him. Not much has been revealed about this season although rumors are floating aplenty.

“The beauty of this show is the surprise and suspense,” says Nayak.

The launch date has been fixed for 15 September at 9 pm. And as Bollywood’s biggest Salman says audiences will definitely tune in. Says the man: “Why should you watch my shows or movies? Because I’m in them!”

The coming weeks will reveal whether they are falling for his lines!

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