Rationalist and human rights activist Babu Gogineni was announced as the fifth contestant in Bigg Boss 2, Telugu, as the show kicked off on Sunday.
The show premiered on Star Maa and is being hosted by actor Nani, who took over after the first season, which was hosted by Jr NTR.
Speculation was rife earlier on Sunday as Babu had taken to Facebook and said, "Dear Friends and Followers. Due to a professional engagement, this account will be inactive for a few months."
Earlier this week, speaking about the show in an interview, Babu called it a 'social experiment', and said, "When so many cameras are constantly surveying you and tracking your social interactions in a closed house and observing your behaviour, it is an experiment."
"However, it is also more than that. Why I am showing some interest in what happens in the house is that a 'pressure cooker' environment is being created, psychologically speaking, by denying them communication, and they are made to work in teams, against teams or within teams. I think it’s worth watching," he added.
He also posed questions. "Do the members in the house stop being normal? Do they become different people or do they just go crazy? In a controlled atmosphere, I think it offers an interesting insight."
Babu also spoke about how he was introduced to Big Brother, the American show on which Bigg Boss is based, by his Dutch friends, who were psychologists and sociologists.
"I saw the link between the original 'big brother' idea in George Orwell's book and I'm interested in knowing how the people behave when they are not given any privacy," he added.
According to sources, it was the makers of Bigg Boss who approached Babu with the proposal. The activist is said to have accepted because the TRPs for a single episode were far greater than that of the daily news debates on Telugu news channels in which he is a regular panelist.
This will, Babu believes, help him spread his message of humanism and rational thinking, to a greater number of people.
Babu is also a regular myth-buster on Telugu TV channels, and participates in debates that debunk astrology and pseudo-sciences, besides offering his take on several human rights issues.
He is a former Executive Director of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) and was also actively involved in campaigns for the protection of Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, and bringing Pakistani freethinker Younus Shaikh to safety in Europe.
Babu also took on the Dalai Lama when Sambhavi, a minor from Andhra Pradesh, was projected and hailed as a child goddess, and a friend of the Lama in an earlier incarnation.
The sets for the new season have been built in Hyderabad, unlike the first season which was shot in Lonavala. The Bigg Boss house has been constructed at the popular Annapurna Studios where the contestants will stay during the entire course of the show.
Speaking at the launch of the show earlier, Nani is reported to have said, “I am excited to be a part of the show and looking forward towards this new experience. A house full of celebrities with cameras all around watching their every move. There will be varied emotions like love, friendship, drama making it more entertaining with 'Inkoncham (little more) masala'. But most importantly on this show everything is unscripted. Like I said in my promo 'yedeina jargachu' (anything can happen).”