People can’t help but binge-watch the biggest TV reality show – Bigg Boss. It’s season 13 was a big hit and season 14 is nowhere behind. It has become one of the most-watched and most talked about a TV reality show in recent times. But did you know that it can affect your mental health? And not just the viewers, even the contestants can suffer from several mental problems.

A housemate suddenly cries out for help. Another being asked to just shut up while speaking of the need for a psychiatrist while staying in the Big Boss house. Someone else talking about how bad memories keep haunting since the time he/she stepped inside the Bigg Boss house again. These are a few highlights of Bigg Boss’ season 14.

Bigg Boss 14 And Captive Bunch Of Housemates

Since the time Big Boss was first aired, we have seen a captive bunch of housemates act in a way that is far from normal, serving up their quirks, insecurities and instabilities for voyeuristic consumption and big ratings.

Some of the housemates have mentioned how the situation inside the house has even forced them to think about committing suicide. Scary isn’t it?

Behavioural scientists compare life in the house to living in prison, adding that while the show itself promotes aggressive behaviour and normalisation of abuse, it also reflects perversion among viewers who savour such “humilitainment”.

Which makes us one wonder — can the show have a lasting effect on the mental health of contestants, as also the audience watching it? Can engaging in such activity week after week in a captive domain or, as audience, deriving pleasure out of watching such activity, be deemed ‘normal’?

Jasmin Basin On Taunting Comments By Bigg Boss 14 Housemates

Last week, actress and Big Boss 14 contestant  Jasmin Basin was evicted from the house. The actress is back to the house to support boyfriend Aly Goni. After entering the house for the second time, the actress shared how taunting comments by the housemates affected her mentally. She even broke down and admitted that all the bad memories of her stint in the show had come back to her after seeing the house.

On the other hand, Big Boss contestant Rubina Dilaik blurted out about harbouring suicidal tendencies, having temper issues and having a strained relationship with her parents in the past.

Rubina Shares Her Story

Perhaps staying locked away for months does that to you, too. You want to exorcise your inner demons. Rubina, after all, spoke of her need to consult a psychiatrist, following which her husband, the now-evicted Abhinav Shukla, asked her to not mention these things on camera.

“Bigg Boss is an interesting social experiment with people living in a closed space with no connection with the outside world. Even during the pandemic (when people were locked inside the house) people had a connection with cellphones, but in the (Bigg Boss) house that is also not there,” IANS quoted Sunil Mittal, Director, Cosmos Institute of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences (CIMBS), as saying. Mittal even compared the Big Boss house to “living in prison”

“It has a huge impact on the mental health of people who are inside, and the people who are watching it,” IANS quoted one psychotherapist, who feels that the show promotes bullying, aggressive behaviour and normalisation of abuse.

He further added, “It normalises a certain language. I agree that abusing and cuss words are used in real life, but (what about) the context with which it is used in the show. Then there is a heightened drama for TRP”.

It Appeals To The Voyeur In People

Speaking to IANS, clinical psychotherapist, Radhika Bapat said that such reality shows appeal to the voyeur in people.

“There is a perversion in looking through a peephole and gaining access to information. They say ‘there is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable’. There is also the psychological term ‘humilitainment’, that is used with such reality ‘dramas’, which is the tendency for you and me as viewers to be attracted to spectacular humiliation and subjugation of real people,” IANS quoted as saying.

Bigg Boss 14 And It’s Ripple Effect In Real Life

The drama, as pointed by Mittal, has a ripple effect in real life, too.

“The dramatised behaviour becomes a norm for people who are watching it, because we become what we see and hear. People imbibe the language, body language and aggressive behaviour,” Mittal said.

“It glorifies and justifies bullying behaviour, and brings out the worst side of people locked inside the house. People watch it for voyeuristic pleasure. There is also a lot of body-shaming. I remember one of my young patients called her aunt ‘moti bhains’ (fat buffalo) because she saw someone calling that to someone in the show. Once, they were given the task of a mental hospital where they had to make fun of the ‘patients’. So it justifies aggressive behaviours, dramatised hysterical behaviour and language, and brings pressure on the contestants, because of which they break down and weep,” added Mittal.

Then there is the difficult task of getting out of the Bigg Boss zone for the contestants, once the show is over.

“It is like leaving an institution that is like jail, with people opting for rehab to come back to normal life,” said Mittal.

Bapat feels “when people forget the line between this reality television ‘show’ and their own reality, consciously or subconsciously, it can wreak havoc in their personal lives. One must be mindful of the difference between real and reel drama”.

To avoid that, Samir Parikh, Director and Head of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences Department at Fortis Healthcare in New Delhi, stresses on the need for media literacy.

“They need to have the ability to understand that it is something that is being portrayed and does not exist in real life. It is a scenario being created, and if you are able to understand that, then it is fine,” he said.

Source: | This article originally belongs to

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