‘Bigg Boss 7’ was unique in many ways!

MUMBAI: The end of the year 2013 seemed to be really good for the general entertainment channel Colors. One of its biggest properties of the year, Bigg Boss7, reportedly made on a big budget of 115 crore, not just got it audiences’ attention but also took its tally a notch higher in the ratings chart. The show was high on viewership throughout the season, however it was its finale episode on 28 December that added the cherry on the cake.

Interestingly, the finale of the reality show became “phenomenon” according to Colors’ weekend programming head Manisha Sharma. “It had all the makings of a ‘masaledaar’ blockbuster including power-packed performances by the contestants and the host Salman Khan himself. This season has been the most watched, most buzzed and most trended season of all times. We are ecstatic with the response that the Grand Finale has garnered, not only in terms of TVTs but also with the kind of conversations that were generated across social media platforms,” says Sharma about the show that garnered 9,577 TVTs in the week 52 of TAM TV ratings.

Many things have worked for the reality show that went on for 104 days unlike 96 days in the earlier editions. From a unique contestant mix, a fresh look and feel of the house, two different living conditions with the hell and heaven concept, to unique tasks and inclusion of an adorable pet – Heaven as a friend and confidant, just added to the show. “We have pushed the boundaries to raise the entertainment quotient of the show. The combination of all these elements have made the seventh season of Bigg Boss as one of the most popular season with the audiences,” says Sharma.

It wasn’t easy for the team working behind the show to put everything together in place. Endemol’s (the show’s production house) MD Deepak Dhar says the process of planning and casting for the show begins much before it goes underway. “The moment one season is over, our casting team starts short listing contestants for the next season,” says Dhar, who remarks that a total of almost 500 people were involved in the production of the show out of which 420-430 persons were stationed in Lonavala where the 10,500 sq ft Bigg Boss house designed by Omag Kumar was located.

“While managing the production crew has been a big HR exercise, what has worked in our favour in all the seasons is that the crew is really enthusiastic and are on its toes 24/7 to come across that one moment that could make the episode fun and entertaining,” says Dhar.

For the recently concluded season, the crew could see the action unfolding in the house from the 147 windows in the house from where the 80 cameras were also placed in the camera galli(a dark alley that surrounds the periphery of the house and supply the editors with constant feed about what is going on inside). “There was a projection control room where the story editor sat with his team of 15 editors as they ran through the 24 hours of footage on a daily basis and edited it to a short episode of 44 minutes. With so many different elements, the USP of the show remains the editors who work on 12 hour shifts to ensure that all key moments and happenings are captured within the 44 minute time frame of the episode,” says Sharma.

Dhar seconds and adds, “It is like a newsroom. There’s never a moment in the house that we can afford to miss.”

There used to be a lot of hustle bustle for the weekend episodes for which host Salman Khan visited the house. In fact, there was an additional crew of around 100 people to take care of things during the shooting of the weekend episodes.

This season, according to both Dhar and Sharma was very unique. Sharma says each day in this season was unique in its own way. “Emotions like friendship, hostility, jealousy, love that manifested within the contestants set the stage for an engaging viewing experience. There were some tasks that pushed the contestants to achieve targets that they had not even considered. The biggest example of this is the fact that two of the contestants - Sangram Singh and Kamya Punjabi broke the international Big Brother record by staying under a box for more than 50 hours.”

Dhar, who has been personally involved in the production process over the years, says that this season they knew how to handle the difficult situations that cropped during the show. “Our 24/7 security team assures that there’s no complication on-location,” he says when quizzed about handling the situations when contestants got in to a brawl with each other, or threatened to jump off the fence etc.

“Our teams are extremely alert and over the seasons have learnt how to handle on-ground situations. Our primary prerogative is to ensure that the contestants follow the rules of the game as well as remain safe throughout their stay inside the Bigg Boss house. For this, we have Bigg Boss who steps in as the ultimate authority inside the house. He guides the contestants and ensures that harmony is maintained,” adds Sharma.

While it’s too early to say anything for the next edition, Dhar remarks that they are going to make the show bigger and better. “It’s going to be a new challenge,” he concludes

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