Salman Khan is back with the seventh season of the popular reality show Bigg Boss woven around the Jannat Aur Jahannum concept representing Heaven and Hell. Harshikaa Udasi tries to decode what the actor and host of the show has to say

“What was wrong about Imam’s (Siddiqui) behaviour?” “There have been no aow, only wow moments in my life.” “Of course I recommend contestants to the Bigg Boss house.” If this was a true or false questionnaire, wouldn’t it be a tough one to crack? That’s Salman Khan in full flow for you. When the man speaks, it’s not exactly easy to decode whether it is the truth or a tongue-in-cheek retort. We caught up with the host of the seventh season of Colours’ Bigg Boss and came back, well, with more questions.

Last year, Salman had vehemently put his foot down on the kind of content that was going on air in the name of ‘live reality’. The obvious emphasis on the sixth season of Bigg Boss was on family viewing with even the time slot being shifted to 9 p.m., the family slot as it is known. But when everything was going clean, the channel had to obviously lift sagging TRPs with a bomb named Imam Siddiqui, a self-proclaimed casting director, who shook up the sanity of the house with his weird antics and abusive behaviour. We remind him about this all the while suspecting he isn’t listening to any of it as he prefers texting away, the actor looks up and says, “What? What was wrong with what Imam did? He was a regular guy and he behaved as anyone would if there was a fight in the house (?!) I can’t remember any abusive word he used that any of us wouldn’t. Do you remember any?” Pause. Sly smile. “You have the remote in your hand, don’t you?” Of course, it doesn’t help reminding him that his stand last year was ‘slightly’ different. “See, when it goes overtly overboard, then I take a stand. But then you realise that people are watching this stuff. See Imam now. He is doing well for himself. The show is about different personalities staying together so sparks will fly.”

Last year’s tepid response to the go-clean content doesn’t seem to have worked in the channel’s favour and that has apparently resulted in a shift to the new Jannat Aur Jahannum concept representing Heaven and Hell. “Yes, when you realise something is working and something is not, you need to tweak it, spice it up. I think it’s a great concept. What also works for the show is that it is set in one large house; doesn’t go out of its zone any time, not to the office, nor outdoors. That helps it connect with a large fan base. You clap for the good and hoot out the bad.”

Another volley comes our way when he is asked about recommending contestants to the Bigg Boss house. “Yes, I do. (Note: Till last year, the standard response was No.) I have been in the industry for 27 years now and I know some people and their characters and I can estimate how well they will fit into the Bigg Boss house. But these guys (Colours) don’t always take my recommendations. Worse still, they even don’t share the contestant list with me. The first year with them was really bad. They shared a false list with me and I happily told my friends to expect some names in the house. I had even prepared my questions according to the ‘inmates’. But when I finally saw them I was surprised. I suspect my sister Alvira had told them not to share the list with me else I’d let the cat out of the bag!”

Pending court cases, visa denials and a slew of exes don’t seem to bother the man as he says there is no Jahannum Ka Aow factor in his life. “I have had a good life with no negativity and problems. There have been none so far and I hope it remains that way.”