When Bigg Boss was launched in India, the concept was novel to us. Getting locked up in a house with one entity and several cameras watching your moves. The show was adapted from the American popular reality show Big Brother. While both the shows gained immense popularity in their own countries, there has quite a bit of difference between the kind of content portrayed on both the shows. We are sure everyone is curious enough to know more about Big Brother too and so here is a list down of all the similarities and differences between the two shows written to us by our reader Anuj Radia. Check out what he has to say on this:

Locked up in a mansion, with a bunch of strangers. Every word you utter, with every move you make, it is captured by numerous cameras. You’re constantly watched by this one entity. Big Brother and Bigg Boss, are watching you! (But perhaps you should watch them instead!)
Despite being two programmes, they follow one concept. So what are the similarities, and what are the differences? Let’s find out!…

a) Big Brother

A still from Big Brother UK
A still from Big Brother UK


From Davina McCall’s “You’re live on Channel 4, please do not swear”, to Emma Willis’ “the public has made their decision, your fates are sealed”, Big Brother has not only become a popular reality show over the years, but also the most controversial. Grabbing the attention of millions, the show has never failed to entertain!

1. The airing times:

When it turns 9PM, that’s my cue to flick to Channel 5. 9 o’clock is my time… dedicated to BB… No matter what else is on! But when exactly does the dose of Big Brother begin? Every January, when our year begins with a bang. Why? Because we get treated to the first ‘celebrity’ Big Brother of the year. After a long break, the civilian series commences in June, promising to bring more twists and turns, more than a roller coaster! After the 3-month Civilian series, our summer concludes with the second celebrity version of Big Brother, despite only aired for 3 weeks, it does not fail to intrigue the audience.

2. The Housemates:

“OMG! The contestants are so media hungry and desperate!” As the remarks follow. Regardless of what people think, the most essential requirement for a contestant is a lot, (and I mean a lot) of courage! Especially when you are in an environment full of game-playing contestants… You have to watch your back, as you don’t know who will throw what at you! Remember the Shilpa Shetty-Jade Goody racism row in 2007? This outburst sent out shockwaves within the media, and became the most internationally polemic and notorious incidents of Big Brother. With Shilpa winning the competition, the controversy slowly faded out of the public eye.

Since then, I have learnt that the most interesting thing about BB is the vast range of housemates from diverse races, and calibre. Watching and understanding the game-plans of every contestant is what makes it fun… Imagine just watching an empty house with only Marcus Bentley narrating… It would be terribly boring! So let’s just be happy that we have people willing to entertain us, by just being themselves!

3. Their very own spin-off show!

From ‘The Xtra factor’ to ‘The Apprentice: You’re fired’, most reality shows in Britain are followed by spin-offs. Big Brother’s bit on the side, is one of the most accredited and entertaining spin-offs. This could be due to Emma Willis and Rylan Clark’s witty and energetic hosting (and not forgetting the spontaneous gags!) plus the panel line-ups are an entertainment bonus!

b) Bigg Boss

Salman Khan in a still from 'Bigg Boss Season 8'
Salman Khan in a still from ‘Bigg Boss Season 8’

Like Big Brother, the Indian adaptation- Bigg Boss usually airs at 9PM… when the season commences in September/October. The popular reality show has been watched by millions across the globe, and continues to grow with a new different concept… It may not have a spin-off show yet, but it is just as spicy.

1. The host(s)

Bollywood Biggies, such as: the legendary Amitabh Bachchan, Shilpa Shetty, Salman Khan, and Sanjay Dutt have been the hosts over the last 8 years of Bigg Boss. With surprise celebrity guests, who enter the house at different stages, always add a special tadka to the game! However, one of the BIGGest difference between the show regarding the hosting, is the host’s involvement with the contestants. For instance, it was only last year when Bollywood superstar, Salman Khan was slammed by the media for siding ex-contestant Tanisha… When in reality, HE WASN’T! Since 2010, Salman is seen every weekend, grilling the contestants… And of course sorting out the shenanigans of the housemates. (When was the last time we saw Emma or Davina do this? Hmm… I wonder!)

2. One Celebrity series per year!

The only sad thing is there is only one celebrity version of Bigg Boss. In which the stars are locked up for 3-4 months. Despite the long wait, the audiences around the globe anticipate for it to begin….

However, I’ve always been bemused as to why ONLY celebrities participate in the show. In India, there are many other reality shows in which non-celebrities participate in, (for instance, Kaun Banega Crorepati? (Who wants to be a Millionaire?), Dance India Dance) and have become celebrities as a result of participating in it! Remember KBC winner, Sushil Kumar… And dancer Salman Yusuf Khan (of Jhalak Dikhla Jaa fame?)

So ultimately why is it that non-celebrities do not participate in Bigg Boss, when there already are many successful shows with non-celebrity participants? Could it be that the audiences of Indian show prefer to watch celebrities instead of non-celebrities locked up in the house for 3 months? Or could it simply be that celebrities are put in just for more viewership and higher television ratings?

3. Dishoom, Dishoom and more Dishoom!

Have you heard that saying, “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”? Well, this also applies to the housemates… ALMOST literally. I mean, the show could not have become polemic from contestants singing Hum Saath-Saath Hai! (Or Can they?!)

From the first season to the current eight season, Bigg Boss has left no dearth in broadcasting fights… Regardless of how ugly it becomes. There have been numerous verbal spats, which have even escalated into violence. Last year, many incidents as such had occurred. One of these had infamously occurred last year between Andy Kumar and Kushal Tandon, where Tandon charged towards Andy, and aggressively grabbed the back of his neck. Consequently, Tandon was ousted from the house… While his partner Gauhar Khan joined him.

Although there have been animosities between housemates in Big Brother I have never seen any such serious physical attacks (and hope I never do!)

Whatever these similarities and differences are, both shows share one common thing, ENTERTAINMENT. Big Brother and Bigg Boss currently remain to be one of the most popular reality shows, in India and the UK!

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