The second season of Bigg Boss Tamil has turned into a lighter but more glamorous version of Solvathellam Unmai. For the uninitiated, Solvathellam Unmai, which translates to ‘Everything I Say is True’, is a reality show, where all the skeletons in the family closet of private citizens come tumbling out. The anchor of the show usually adopts take no prisoners approach while dealing with sensitive issues usually revolving around infidelity and domestic violence.
Solvathellam Unmai has courted criticism and has been a subject of much mockery in films and television shows. The new season of Bigg Boss Tamil is slowly wading into the Solvathellam Unmai territory, thanks to the show’s estranged couple Balaji and Nithya.
Majority of the contestants in the house seem to be playing the judge in the curious case of Balaji and Nithya. And with one or two exceptions, everyone is eager to play the peacemaker between the warring couple, even as they clearly don’t know half of what caused the estrangement between them in the first place.
Full disclosure: Neither do I know the details about the troubled relationship between Balaji and Nithya, apart from the fact that they separated after an ugly public fight last year. And that they were engaged in a legal battle too. I am also not interested in knowing the juicy details of their conflict any further. But, the Bigg Boss show seems to be keen on shoving it down my throat.
Since day one, Balaji has been running a smear campaign of sorts against Nithya and influencing other housemates’ opinion about her. The man has been double-dealing openly and nobody in the house seems to be bothered by it.
Balaji claims that he badly wants to reunite with his estranged wife Nithya but throws her under the bus in her absence. He has been going to contestant after contestant telling about her alleged illicit affair and spoon-feeding them about her nature as an adamant and arrogant person, who never listens to the voice of reason.
Has Nithya been stubborn in some case? Yes. Has she refused to buy into suggestions of other people? Yes, again. But, how does it make her a bad person? It only makes her human and a person that values her decisions, regardless of what others think of her.
In the first week alone, Balaji has used expletive language while talking about Nithya with his friends. And painted her as a homewrecker, who is denying him a chance to reconcile. Mind it, he is not just humiliating her in front of 14 individuals. He is causing some serious damages to her public image fully knowing that millions of people watch this show every night. The question is what is the guarantee that a man who cannot protect the dignity of his wife in public, will treat her with respect in the privacy of his home?
It’s clear that Balaji has an agenda. He is a jilted husband, wants to publicly get back at his wife. He has reasons. But, what I find more repulsive is the behavior of other housemates, who have taken upon themselves to convince Nithya to reunite with Balaji.
Let’s face it, we share similar sentiments with contestants of Bigg Boss Tamil on various issues. And the case of Nithya is no different. The studio audience on Saturday’s episode encouraged Balaji with claps and cheers every time he slammed Nithya, while he was talking to host Kamal Haasan.
Why can’t we stand the idea of a single woman? Why do we always burden the woman in a relationship with the responsibility of being more tolerant and giving? Why can’t we make peace with an idea that a woman can live life on her own terms?
Nithya made a good point on Saturday. She said, “People on the outside will give us thousands of suggestions, but they all have no idea what I have endured.”
The prejudice and societal pressure that women separated from their partners face are not very different from what Nithya is dealing with. While she had differences with other housemates, she never really used her failed marriage to seek sympathy or trash Balaji. That’s exactly opposite of what Balaji has been doing to Nithya.
The entire house, barring a couple of them, has developed a deep sympathy for Balaji’s story, where he is the victim, who is looking for a shot at redemption. And Nithya, an egotistic, unkind, troublemaker that refuses to give into pressure. How unwomanly of her, no?
While the housemates worry about how badly Balaji is hurting from inside, nobody even thought of asking Nithya, if she was okay? They have not tried to understand what she is going through or how hard it has been for her through the course of the break-up. Or allay her fears of not finding the acceptance in a group full of celebrities.
It is always easy to blame the woman, right? It makes the job of judging a situation easy for us as opposed to going into nuances, which is a lot of work.
Journalist Vaishnavi revealed how bad she feels for Balaji, who keeps ruing to her about his wife’s behavior. But, she did not for a minute stop and think about the possible motives of a jilted husband.
Without batting an eye, Aishwarya Dutta in a fit of rage said, “…who can be in a marriage with a woman like her (Nithya).” That’s a lot of misogyny coming out of a modern girl, who defended her rights to dress according to her liking.
Be it asking Balaji not to talk disrespectfully of his wife with others or correcting Aishwarya, only Mamathi Chari has been reasonable and understanding towards Nithya.
It’s past time that the contestants understand, “Nithya’s business is her business, none of their business.”
The producers, meanwhile, morally have an obligation to ensure that the widely-popular show does not get misused to serve one’s vindictiveness. And not to turn the audience into rubberneckers, staring at a show where a woman is treated with bias, mainly due to her personal choices.