A number of people, including some members of the Rajasthan-based Karni Sena, gathered outside Salman Khan’s residence in Bandra Bandstand (Mumbai) on Friday, 11th October, to protest against Bigg Boss. The show, aired everyday on Colors TV, comprises 13 celebrity contestants (housemates) who are locked together in a specially constructed house and assigned a number of tasks and challenges in order to compete. Their words and actions are continuously monitored by live television cameras and personal audio microphones. The fights, arguments and flirtations on the show keep the audience engaged and contestants are gradually evicted from the house based on public voting, with the final contestant winning a cash prize. The show has always been controversial and has come under fire since the premiere of its 13th season on 29th September 2019.
Protesters who gathered outside Bigg Boss host Salman Khan’s house were of the view that the reality show promotes vulgarity -- with concepts such as Bed Friends Forever, which requires the contestants to share beds with each other -- and is against Indian culture and values. Around 20 protesters have been arrested by the Mumbai Police and the security around Salman’s house has been beefed up since Friday to avoid any violent incidents.
Meanwhile, several organisations have asked for the show to be censored. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry of India is currently reviewing a similar complaint against the show lodged by a BJP MLA, Nand Kishor Gurjar, from Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. As per news reports, the MLA has written a letter to the Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar requesting him to ban the telecast of Bigg Boss 13 saying it is “unfit for family viewing” and “spreading vulgarity and hurting the social morality of the country." He said the show had “highly objectionable intimate scenes” and added that “couples of different communities were being made to share their bed with one another.”
Prakash Javadekar has responded to the complaint, during an event in Pune, saying he has asked ministry officials to compile a report on the show’s content, which he will be reviewing this week.
A few days ago, the Confederation Of All India Traders (CAIT) also wrote to the Ministry, saying “the current show has crossed all limits of ethics.” Speaking to a news agency, CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that each episode of Bigg Boss “should be duly scrutinised by the Censor Board.” He said what was happening on the show was “absolutely wrong” and it was difficult to “watch the show with the family.”
The Brahmin Mahasabha has also sought a ban on Bigg Boss by submitting a memorandum to the Ghaziabad district magistrate, while the President of Uttar Pradesh Nav Nirman Sena has said he will not eat any food grains till the show is taken off the air. He said, “I will survive on fruits and vegetables until the government takes steps to ban the show which is promoting vulgarity and misleading the youth. Showing young couples sharing bed on national television is not acceptable and I am shocked that the RSS which claims to be our moral police, has not even taken note of this.”