The producers of Bigg Boss Kannada may just have crossed a line both with its audience, and in using Huchcha Venkat as the TV version of clickbait.
Viewers are unhappy with the channel’s decision to invite actor Huchcha Venkat who assaulted a housemate, and now the show’s star host and actor Kichcha Sudeep has refused to host the show until “justice” is done.
In the episode that was telecast on November 15, actor Huchcha Venkat is seen assaulting actor and film director Pratham. One moment, Venkat is standing next to Pratham, who is seated at a table, egging him on. Venkat tells Pratham: “You will raise your voice against women, is it? You think you’re a man (because of this)?" Pratham is grinding something for the meal that the rest are making, and sings a song loudly as one of the participants approaches him. One of the lines of Pratham’s song goes, “How do I live with these people?”
The next moment Venkat grabs Pratham by the neck. It was all over in a few seconds as the bouncers standing behind Venkat intervened and rescued Pratham. Watch the episode here.
Viewers aren’t happy with this turn of events. Several people tweeted to both Sudeep and Colours Kannada, which airs the show, expressing their disappointment. Some scathingly pointed out that Venkat had a track record and that the whole thing was done to grab eyeballs.
I think @BiggBossTvShow kannada is irresponsible ....bcoz why the hell did tey invited hucha Venkat— Akshay (@akshayprabas27) November 16, 2016
They are playing drama by sending Hucha Venkat to the house to increase the TRP.— Siddaraju Kempanna (@siddu3728) November 16, 2016
#BiggBossKannada4 why the f... did u people allow hucha venkat inside the house....for TRP......? thu nim janmakkastu benki haaka— ANANTHA SHAYANA (@shayanaks) November 16, 2016
Respected Sir ,— Chetan Simha (@simha_chetan) November 16, 2016
This incident makes people to lose trust on big boss and host responsibilty.
Please take some action against Hucha Venkat https://t.co/wgMzvWmjA5
@KicchaSudeepSudeep sir inspite of knowing very well abt hucha venkat in last season, Hw shld biggboss supposed to allow him again.— niranjan (@niranja70116459) November 16, 2016
@KicchaSudeepThis prgram directr has sense,hucha venkat last he beaten Ravi, gt kicked out frm BBK3,hw thy cld bring hm in as guest at BBK4— Mr.Shashi (@SKBajantri) November 15, 2016
In its fourth season, Bigg Boss Kannada has very high ratings, thanks in part to Sudeep, who has been the host since the show was first launched in March 2013.
With Tuesday’s turn of events, he has taken the high moral ground and said in a series of tweets, that Venkat assaulting another actor is simply unacceptable.
Just saw th episode and this act by Huccha Venkat is inexcusable... I shall stand by wat needs to be done...— Kichcha Sudeepa (@KicchaSudeep) November 15, 2016
I do host the show,,but If he thinks he can walk in,physically abuse a contestant n walk out then he's wrong.. he should n shall be punished— Kichcha Sudeepa (@KicchaSudeep) November 15, 2016
How this situation will pan out remains to be seen. Sudeep’s exit could see a dip in the show’s ratings. On Saturdays he hosts the ‘Vaarada Kathe Kichchana Jothe’ show of Bigg Boss, in which he interacts with contestants and supervises the elimination. On Sundays, he holds a review of eliminated contestants. Sometimes, celebrities also drop in.
This is my promise to my viewers and the contestants tat I shall only appear again to host only after justice is done.— Kichcha Sudeepa (@KicchaSudeep) November 15, 2016
While the format of the show itself has been criticized and analysed, Bigg Boss Kannada has been especially criticized for using Huchcha Venkat for its own profitable amusement.
Writer and journalist Gauri Lankesh has in Bangalore Mirror criticised the tendency of the Kannada film and entertainment industries to make a spectacle out of Huchcha Venkat. Last year, when Venkat was removed from Bigg Boss 3 after he assaulted Ravi Mooruru, she wrote a column about his rise to fame when he placed ads in English and Kannada newspapers announcing his intention to kidnap actor Ramya. A year that after that, he wrote, produced and directed a film titled Huchcha Venkat. The film bombed, but the interview that he gave the sole journalist who went to cover its release went viral. Venkat became an online sensation.
However, there are others, such as renowned film critic MK Raghavendra, who argue that the question of morality was not applicable to a turn of events such as the assault on Pratham by Venkat.
“You cannot ask moral questions of this simulated reality. The whole show is designed to titillate. In the beginning of the shows there is all this talk of behaving well, etc, but there are intentional provocations, which are real. These provocations make the contenstants reveal aspects of themselves (bad behaviour) in public. The show is designed to make celebrities humble themselves, and they’re paid for it.”