The reality show Bigg Boss (in Kannada) has been grabbing a lot of eyeballs since its debut on March 24. If the wide variety of contestants is a major crowd puller, the lavish and attractive sets are another factor. But very little is known about what goes on behind the making of the series, which has generated increased interest with each season — this is the first in a regional language, with the sixth season just completed in Hindi.
For instance, the swanky Bigg Boss house is part of a sleepy, abandoned mill. ABC Mills in Lonavala, Maharashtra, spread over 12 acres, was originally used to manufacture ball bearings. It shut down in 2005 and reopened only when Bigg Boss moved in.
While the house is the nucleus of pressure-cooker situations that often lead to ugly spats that make up for most of the entertainment, the production and editing studios are housed beyond the high compound walls with electric fencing.
The contestants may be isolated from the rest of the world. But just a compound wall separates them from nearly 200 people who work on the sets each shift. Working in shifts, there are approximately 25 producers, including of the daily reality (Monday to Thursday) and weekly (Friday) shows.
Meanwhile, keeping in mind the extreme nature of the psychological experiment, there is round-the-clock security for the housemates and crew. All personnel entering the premises are checked for proper authorisation at four different security rings. Even the crew members don’t have access to all areas of the house. Close to 96 hours of footage is received on a daily basis, which has to be edited into 60-minute episodes.