Television

Bigg Boss Kannada is a success story

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BENGALURU:  A few weeks ago, some film producers from Sandalwood held a protest in front of Innovative Film City in Bidadi, where the Bigg Boss house is located, demanding the actors not to participate or host reality shows on television. Season 4 of Endemol’s global format Big Brother through Endemol Shine India was and is still being held there. The current season will run through 100 days to culminate on 15 January this year on Colors Kannada. 

During the protests the Kannada film fraternity bigwigs also tried to impose a ban on the show because of its popularity affecting the performances of movies in the box office. These few opening lines indicate how much of an impact, how much of a success Bigg Boss has been in its Kannada avatar.

Right from the first season when the show was aired on ETv Kannada (now Colors Kannada), Bigg Boss has been a huge hit. Even during season 2, when Star India’s Kannada GEC Suvarna TV brought the rights, the show ended up with about 25 percent increase in viewers for the channel say industry sources. “We at Suvarna could not capitalise on the success and ended up losing money on the show,” revealed a source at Suvarna TV. 

Bigg Boss returned to Viacom 18 though it’s now renamed channel – Colors Kannada and grew even bigger for season 3, which was shot at Film City Bidadi for the first time. The location for the first two seasons of Bigg Boss Kannada was near Pune. And as for season 4, as mentioned above – is history.

A channel and its shows are successful because of the people behind them. With his vision of making Colors Kannada emerge as the ultimate storyteller, Parameshwar Gundhkal joined the channel in September 2012 as Business Head. Based in Bengaluru, he has escalated the growth of the channel from a number 4 player to being numero-uno. Gundhkal, who began life as a journalist, has experience as fiction head and later as programming head at the Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (Zeel) Zee Kannada.

“Today Colors Kannada continues to retain its number one position with a significant margin,” Gundhkal told www.indiantelevision.com

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Gundhkal has been personally involved in Bigg Boss as a de facto director say people at Colors Kannada. Season 4 has 55 cameras and 300 people working around the clocking recording the happenings in the house, picking up stories that could interest viewers and following them up.

“Bigg Boss is a study of human behaviour when cut off from the outside world. Their core character comes out because of the isolation. Though contestants sometimes become predictable, Bigg Boss is all about characters that really surprise you, some of whom have a very salted approach towards life, they will never become predictable,” explains an enthusiastic Gundhkal.

A big chunk of the success of Bigg Boss Kannada must be attributed to its weekend anchor. All the four season have been hosted by Sandalwood superstar Kiccha Sudeep whose name has become synonymous to the show and its format in the Kannada entertainment world. Rumours allege that Sudeep has signed a Rs 18 crore five season deal starting with Season 3 with Colors Kannada to host the show.

A special home has been setup for Sudeep at the Film City in Bidadi. The actor comes in on Friday nights, watches the interesting stories picked up for broadcast and then with the channel and production teams scripts the questions and the remarks that he will make for the weekends when he is host. So passionate are they for the show that the star and the channel head often work through the night for the weekend episode and sleep for a short time at about 500 am on Saturday revealed Gundhkal. 

On rumours that the drama on the show is a scripted, induced and does not come out from within the characters, Gundhkal explained, “It cannot be induced. Bigg Boss’s intervention is limited to tasks. Eventually when the participants come out, they will definitely share notes when they meet and would speak out if the show were scripted. More than 50 contestants have taken part in the show so far. It would be difficult to control the participants because they will have some level of disagreement with the direction team. Each of the contestants wants to be popular, to win, and there can be only one winner. At the end of the day it is a 90 minute piece of content per day telecast picked from a 24 hour period shot with multiple cameras. Of course the initial part where Sudeep speaks during weekend episodes is scripted, but then the continuation is not. Based on the response, Sudeep has to react, respond himself, often impromptu.”

Continuing on Sudeep and his role in questioning the contestants for the weekend episodes, Gundhkal explained, “We take a very neutral stand as far as any contestant is concerned. Based on our interpretation – Sudeep’s and my own, we script the questions and the possible follow-ups for these episodes.”

The show has been drawing in sponsors like a magnet does a piece of iron. For season 1 Bigg Boss Kannada was presented by jewellery brand Bhima and powered by slipper brand Paragon. The number of brands increased for season 3 which had OLX as the main sponsor and was co-sponsored by food brands Nisargalaya Brahmi Oil, Gemini Cooking Oil and Eastern. Season 4 has five brands associated with it- Vaseline as the presenting sponsor and it was powered by Nutrigain for the first 50 days. Special partners for the current season are Airtel 4G, McDowell No.1 Soda and MTR.

The show is aired on Colors Kannada and Colors Kannada HD simultaneously from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM every day. This is the first season of Bigg Boss Kannada to be shot and aired in High-Definition. A spin-off show, Bigg Boss Night Shift is being produced and aired on Colors Super from 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM every day.

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