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'What is life without controversies?'

Last updated on: September 30, 2009 

'What is life without controversies?'

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Rajul Hegde in Mumbai

The third season of Bigg Boss promises to be an exciting one, thanks to its new host.

Yes, we're talking about Amitabh Bachchan, whose earlier stint as a television host made Kaun Banega Crorepati a rocking game show.

Now, Bachchan will be seen on Color's Bigg Boss 3 as the Pop Philosopher twice a week -- Friday and Saturday. The superstar will be the only link between the celebrity contestants locked inside a house under the surveillance of multiple cameras for three months, and the outside world.

The superstar will also lend his voice to a special song dedicated to the show. Musical duo Vishal-Shekhar has composed the tunes.

So how does Bachchan feel about his comeback to television? Rajul Hegde finds out.

Why did you want to be a part of Bigg Boss 3?

I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to talk to people and get more information from the participants. I wanted to know what a person goes through when locked in a room without access to mobiles, watches, television or newspapers.

I could have asked anyone about how he or she would feel but then they offered me a show. And I had not done a television show for a long time.

In the show's promos, you said people will be unmasked in the show. Don't you think at times one needs to put on a mask?

This is exactly what I want to know. It happens that a person dons different masks in his life and I want to know why he does so. This is human nature. 

Do you also wear masks?

Yes, why not? Artists use a mask everyday. As soon as we face the camera, it comes on.


Image: Amitabh Bachchan

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'I can't confine myself away from everyone and everything for 85 days'

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If we put Amitabh Bachchan inside the house, what new things will we discover about him?

You will have to put me in the house first. Only then will I tell you [laughs].

Would you participate in Bigg Boss?

No. I can't confine myself away from everyone and everything for 85 days.

What will be your role in the show?

I will question the contestants twice a week on what they did, why they did it and in what manner they did it.

On Fridays, we present the evictees to the viewers and on Saturday, one of them will be evicted. After that, I will sit and talk to the evictee for an hour. I think I would be an instigator, somebody who provokes them to open up and talk to us and tell us how he felt.


Image: Amitabh Bachchan

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'When our elders leave us and go, you feel their absence'

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Do you miss a Bigg Boss in your life?

This happens in everyone's life. When our elders leave us and go, you feel their absence. I would meet my mother and father everyday before leaving for work and talk to them.

It's not that they would always give me directions, but just to sit with them and have a chat. The whole feeling that there are elders to guide you was very satisfying.

Have you watched the earlier seasons of Bigg Boss?

Yes. I used to watch snippets of the show. 

The show also had a lot of controversies...

What is life without controversies? 

The show works because of voyeurism and you know what it is like when someone intrudes upon your privacy. Do you feel yourself drawing parallels with the life of the contestants?

I don't think that we should do that because that would be unfair. That job has been given to me and you should treat it as such. If you start comparing things with reality, it could go terribly wrong. 


Image: Amitabh Bachchan
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera
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'I do not know who the contestants are'

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Whom do you want in the house?

They asked me whom I want to see in the house and I told them that I do not want anybody to go. I do not know who the contestants are. 

How much of the real Amitabh Bachchan are we going to see?

I hope you will never ever be able to see inside the mask because that would be the end of me [laughs].

The channel says you are the only one who could engage a four-year-old as well as a 64-year-old.

That's what they think. I have never said or believed that. I am fortunate I get opportunities to do different things. If people feel, at the age of 68, that I am still capable of doing something different, then I take it as a challenge.

Any creative person likes to take up challenges and if you get those, then I simply comply with their demands. Like in the case of Bigg Boss 3, they had an idea of how to make this season different from the earlier two seasons by getting a person who will try and find out what goes on inside the minds of the contestants.

It was an idea we debated and discussed at length and that's how I am part of it now. I don't know how it will shape up and what exactly I will do when the show starts, but that's the challenge.

It's believed that those pearls of wisdom, which you would dole out at the beginning of every KBC episode, had gone down so well with viewers that Bigg Boss 3 is also looking for something like that. Is that why they have termed you Pop Philosopher?

Yes, it's going to be on those lines though I think we will sit and half script and then take it from there -- how we interact with the contestants on the basis of their behaviour in the house.

Image: Amitabh Bachchan
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera
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'It's going to be difficult to strike a conversation with the contestants'

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Given your age and wisdom, you think you can read people's minds?

I am not a mind reader. I don't think anyone can see through people, it's not possible. It's this mask or naqaab, which we are interested in unveiling.

Yes, but what happens is like in a family, when you have elders who have more wisdom and you want to take their guidance. It's natural. My role in Bigg Boss house is going to be on similar lines. I will be there to take the housemates forward, help and guide them, whenever they want me to.

You are going to attempt to understand and help viewers understand why a participant behaved the way he or she did. Is that a big responsibility?

Oh yes, absolutely. Even I will be meeting the contestants for the first time, so for me it's going to be difficult to strike a conversation and speak to them on a personal level.

You are sharing more of your life today (on your blog) than you ever did in your career. Does it help sharing with the media?

I have not started sharing because of the media. Every night I talk to myself and use my fingers to type all that into a computer. Some people come to listen and it feels good to interact with them. These people who we feel are common people are far more intelligent that I imagined.

The media remains the same because it is the most important tool in our existence and it must remain the same. It is not just what I write; I wait patiently for the evening to come and something important to happen so that I can convey it to them. Sometimes to just give them the assurance, that I'm here with you, but also to get their feedback, which is very important.

For me it was very exciting that if I wrote something, I got comments on it. Not all of them are compliments, sometimes they are abusive and derogatory. They question and I answer them. It is not hatred or ugly. 

You achieved much success on television with KBC. Now other stars think that if you can, they can too...

If they feel it that, I'm honoured. But at the same time I think every star who has done TV or is doing it, is doing a great job. Whether it's Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Govinda or Akshay Kumar, they have done their best to entertain the viewers. That's all we strive to do.

Bigg Boss 3 will premiere on Sunday, October 4 at 9 pm on Colors.


Image: Ashwini Yardi, Head of Programming, Colors, Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Kamath, CEO, Colors
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera
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