EXCLUSIVE: Sandiip Sikcand on Bigg Boss, being associated with 1st season, changes since then, Bigg Boss 14

In a candid chat with Pinkvilla, Sandiip Sikcand opens on how Bigg Boss 14 has amped the creative game and how the ongoing season is different from the first season of popular reality show.
EXCLUSIVE: Sandiip Sikcand on Bigg Boss, being associated with 1st season, changes since then, Bigg Boss 14 EXCLUSIVE: Sandiip Sikcand on Bigg Boss, being associated with 1st season, changes since then, Bigg Boss 14
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Bigg Boss today is a very successful franchise. However very few would recollect that Sandiip Sikcand was the Programming Head for Sony when the controversial reality show Bigg Boss gift premiered in 2006. A Hindi version of the hit show Big Brother, Sandiip revealed how they entered with absolutely no expectations and were stunned to see the reception audience gave to the contestants. In a candid chat with Pinkvilla, Sandiip walks down the memory lane to tell us everything that is wrong with the season now, whilst maintaining that the makers have definitely upped their game in terms of creativity. Excerpts below:

Since season 1 to now, what are the changes you have observed? Is it a good or a bad change?

I feel the change has been phenomenal on the creative side. In 2006, I remember all the nominations were very simple, go to the confession room and say what you have to and come out. Now it is different, now you have open nominations and other creative ideas are nice.

But I think the quality of contestants is going down and down with each season. When we did the first season of Bigg Boss, I will be honest when we were even going for shoot, we did not know what to expect. Although we had all seen Big Brother episodes, we did not know what to expect and what will happen and even the contestants had no idea. So, Rakhi Sawant, Amit Sadh, Rupa Ganguly, Rahul Roy, Bobby Deol, Deepak Tijori, everyone did what came naturally to them, we had a fantastic lineup. Everyone was enjoying, having a great time and I feel that was the best part.

Now I feel every contestant comes in and is trying to play a model that oh I am going to scream, shout, abuse and fight. That is what has changed and the quality has gone down.

Do you feel contestants today come with preempted roles in mind?

The fun is gone because you can actually predict how they might fight to win the task.

We see the violence and level of abuses have gone up in the last few seasons. I remember Gauahar had mentioned that she feels the contestants don’t respect Bigg Boss’ words anymore...

I feel that started last year. I feel last year a lot of things went wrong. I think a lot of people got away with many things last year. They just broke rules a lot last year. I think when we started the season, Bigg Boss would only come and speak when it was absolutely necessary but now even Bigg Boss comes and speaks often, he explains and tells them things. Now although the creatives have got very creative, in our initial times, they did not have dancing inside the house during finale, there was a zone where only reality happened. I agree though that the respect for Bigg Boss today is far lesser than what it was earlier.

What would you like to change about the reality show?

I would like to change the kind of contestants coming in. It is a show which is made by the contestants, it is the way they do it, and I feel that I would make stricter rules and tasks and punishments must be strict. Earlier, when things went wrong, they were penalised and punished without being baised, without any apprehensions.

These days, TV in general is TRP-driven. It is about your TRP which comes first and then comes the quality of your show, that has become the order on TV. I think that is one thing that needs to change. In Bigg Boss, you need to give more importance to the quality of contestants and tasks, make them more entertaining and fun and then bother about TRP. It should be not like oh his shouting gets us TRP, so let’s keep them, it is not like that. Somebody badly behaves, they should be thrown out of the house and example being set.

Everybody is more concerned about TRP rather than what message goes out. During Bigg Boss 1, we did not get TRP more than 1.4, 1.5, it was not like a 3 or a 4, but everyone was talking about the show. I think Rakhi Sawant, Ravi Kisan became stars after the show. That’s what the victory is. It is very rare that today someone comes across as strong and real as a Ravi Kisan or Rakhi Sawant, it is rare like we had a few like Hina Khan, Shilpa Shinde, Gauahar Khan. I think the buzz about the show is more important than the TRP. I don’t think anybody is in that business anymore.

But when it comes to TV, TRP has always been the deciding factor. Does that bound you as a producer?

A lot of content doesn’t get made because of TRP. I see a lot of good content on OTT and always wish that we should make something on TV as well but we follow one route on TV. It is a template. Creativity is all about not getting scared, but in today’s time we are all scared and only want to know ratings. Somewhere down the line, creativity has taken a back seat everywhere.

Who have been your favourite contestants in the past seasons?

I liked Asim a lot for the simple reason because when he entered I had no idea who is he but by the end of it, I was rooting for him. He was a guy, and he stood up to every fight and bullying and all alone. I think Gautam was fantastic in his season. When Gauahar walked out of the house when Kushal left, I was like this woman has guts. These are the people who left a mark.

Are you watching Bigg Boss 14? Are you enjoying it?

I am watching it yes but honestly, not enjoying it so much yet. I just watch it for a few friends but none of the contestants have impressed me or have me rooting for them. I feel everyone is still finding their bearings, they could be one or two who stand out. I think Pavitra Punia, Eijaz, Rahul are strong. I like Rahul because he speaks exactly what he has on his mind.

Also Read: Bigg Boss Flashback: Gauahar Khan reveals the major change in the show over years: Don’t see people fearing BB

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Anonymous 3 weeks ago

FInally someone who makes actually lot of sense. I was a Big Fan of BB but this year, makers have disappointed Hardcore BB Fans like me, by employing the same Bhai Mafia head as the HOST. hence not rooting for the show. watched glimpse and yes After SHukla Win , Noone take BB voice seriously. Like Aly Gony reacted to his voice. for BB Fans THE VOICE IS THE star but TV Actors doesnot respect him, like even Rubina questioned BB and the makers did nothing. PV PLS POST