With Kamal Haasan returning as the show’s much-loved host, Vijay TV last week released its promo video of the show with the tagline: ‘Neenge nalla vara or ketta vara?‘. Literally translating to ‘are you good or bad’, it takes a dig at the entire premise of the show – does the good survive or will the bad triumph.
It goes without saying that the show is in itself quite a raw one prompting the worst coming out of everybody. If we go by what happened in the first season, every little action, every little move is scrutinised with innumerable cameras constantly zooming in on what you do or even say under your breath. If anything, it’s an agonising activity of being able to maintain your composure despite knowing that the whole world is watching and even mocking you. It’s a scary feeling really if you imagine it.
On top of that, the judging begins. “Who’s really good here and who isn’t?” With that, whatever celebrity you’ve long admired or even mildly knew about develops a particular image thanks to the constant scrutinising they face. In the previous season, someone like Oviya rose above it and ended up being looked at as an icon with a devil-may-care attitude. A lot of positive votes flew in towards her favour. On the other hand, someone like Julie, who resorted to melodrama most of the time, earned all brickbats for her stint. Most of the people chose to troll her, making sexist comments about looks, her voice, judging her by watching her day and night on screen for a limited time, forgetting that she was the same person who earned praises for her protest against Jallikattu ban.
This piece is in no way in defence of any of contestants but is instead taking a look at what constitutes a good “favourite” contestant and a bad “awful” one. Aarav, the final winner, shared a very complicated relationship with the viewers. While he survived eliminations day after day, he was still branded the boy who broke Oviya’s heart. A lot of the incidents that transpired between most of the contestants wouldn’t have been considered a big deal had it happened at a party or office. With the idea that it’s a show adding in the heightened drama, some contestants understood the importance of not letting words, cameras or incidents affect them.
With this new season, there’s a lot expected. What’s more interesting is the fact that Kamal Haasan, who was simply recognised as an actor and filmmaker in the last season, will be recognised as a politician too now. With Makkal Needhi Maiam, his political party, still attempting to make splashes in the political arena, there are chances that Haasan might just use the reality show platform for proving that he can be an able leader spouting wisdom each episode. There’s the anticipation, at least, that Haasan would project himself as the ideal host who is not just approachable but might also weigh in on the ‘who’s-bad-who’s-good’ debate with his balanced views.
But again, one must simply wait and watch how this season could be any different or the lack thereof. Good or bad person, if there’s one thing that the show could hopefully aim to do is not deliberately force us to pick sides and instead allow us, as viewers, to dive into the lives of these contestants and the tasks they face.