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Online gambling has created much trouble in society. Recently, a few committed suicide because they had gambled away their savings online. Many have asked that online gambling be banned seeing it as a social vice. If offline gambling is banned because it is a form of vice, why can’t online gambling be banned, they ask. The state government did ban it but the operators got a court stay. But voices against online gambling have only grown and attracted support. And it is unfortunate that Ace2three, an online gambling operator, is the main force supporting Bigg Boss that has been a huge success among Tamils across the world.

As Bigg Boss 5 comes to a close and there is much discussion on who will win among the six still left in the house, this is the time to analyze what the show claims to do and what is driving it in reality.

Bigg Boss, an entertainer through and through, is claimed to hold a mirror to its participants so they get self knowledge and turn a new leaf in their lives. There is a perception that such self knowledge and clarity comes to viewers also.

Bigg Boss viewers are said to gain the knowledge and skills to face challenging situations. Those who love the show say the same. If this is true, there would be no need for the disclaimer that the show starts with. The disclaimer doesn’t stay long for viewers to read it fully though. But it’s there.

The disclaimer says that this show is only for entertainment. The opinions and views expressed by the anchor, participants and guests are theirs and the channel and Asianet Star Communications Pvt Ltd does not endorse them. The disclaimer says that viewers or any third party who take any decisions or undertake any action on the basis of the show are doing it of their own volition and are taken independently. Neither the channel nor Asianet Star is responsible for them. Viewers are advised to be cautious and use their discretion. The small print should make supporters of the show revisit their views on whether the show intends to benefit anyone.

If it’s just entertainment and that’s told clearly and explicitly, then viewers can just watch it and laugh it off. But the show could have consequences

If the disclaimer is worded carefully to avoid any legal liability, then it makes us wonder what is the true motive of Bigg Boss: just entertaining the viewers or helping them in any way. If it’s just entertainment and that’s told clearly and explicitly, then viewers can just watch it and laugh it off. But the show could have consequences because it could affect the mental makeup of viewers. For that reason, the show starts with a warning, a disclaimer, so the channel or makers of the show are not held responsible.

In the 90s, there was a show called Shaktiman. Some children who watched it started believing they had supernatural powers and this led to loss of life. Sivakarthikeyan’s film, Hero, is based on this theme. If Shaktiman affected children, Bigg Boss has the potential to influence the thinking of adults. The disclaimer absolves the makers of any legal and therefore personal responsibility of any impact or consequences of the show.

If Shaktiman affected children, Bigg Boss has the potential to influence the thinking of adults

In the show promos, the fights and conflicts in a wedding were shown. Kamal then asked if a wedding hall can see so many conflicts after careful matchmaking, then the Bigg Boss house could have even greater conflicts. Bigg Boss is not just entertainment. It is a carefully constructed make-believe program that purports to be a guide to people.

The ruse that forms the basis of Bigg Boss is not very different from what online gambling concerns claim. They say that gambling is just sport and their product is a test of sporting ability. It is no surprise that an online gambling operation is backing Bigg Boss. Somewhere they sync.

Thamaraiselvi, one of the Season 5 participants, says in the show that those who instigate wrong are more culpable than those who commit the wrong. That may well be the judgment pronounced on Bigg Boss by a discerning viewer.


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