A Pakistani reunion on an Indian reality TV show

Published: October 4, 2010
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: Ali Saleem aka Begum Nawazish Ali and Veena Malik greeted each other happily in the “Bigg Boss” house. PHOTOS: FILE

: Ali Saleem aka Begum Nawazish Ali and Veena Malik greeted each other happily in the “Bigg Boss” house. PHOTOS: FILE

It was, by all accounts, an engaging debut for Veena Malik and Ali Saleem aka Begum Nawazish Ali on the fourth season of “Bigg Boss”.

Saleem, who hosts a popular television show in Pakistan and has worked in India as well, was a surprise addition to the show. Saleem’s initial claim to fame in Pakistan was his impersonation of the late former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

The season premiere of the show, which aired on Colors TV on Sunday night, was overshadowed by the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games taking place at the same time.

When Salman Khan asked a black sari-clad Saleem about cross-dressing, he said, “Variety is the spice of life … In Pakistan and India people love this ‘buy one, get one free’ offer.”

Saleem added, “I will pray for Pakistan and Insha Allah I pray that the situation will improve quickly.”

On the other hand, Veena Malik performed a dance number and greeted viewers with “Assalaamulaikum Hindustan.” Clad in a glittery outfit, she addressed Salman Khan with, “Aap jaise dabangg ke saaamne saanson ko aur dharkanon ko theek hone mai time lage ga.” (It will take time for me to regain my composure in front of such a fearless person.” Malik’s answer was also a way to allude to Khan’s recent film Dabangg.

The two Pakistani contestants greeted each other exuberantly once they met in the “Bigg Boss” house. This is the first time two Pakistanis have participated on an Indian reality television show. However, the casting move may attract more controversy as the Shiv Sena has reportedly registered a protest against the inclusion of Pakistani actors.

NDTV reported Shiv Sena MNS chief Raj Thackeray as saying, “Great singers like Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle were never allowed in Pakistan then why do we need Pakistani people on the show?”

An interesting element to the show is the inclusion of controversial figures. Ajmal Kasab’s former lawyer Abbas Kazmi (who introduced himself to contestants as “Kasab’s lawyer … you must have seen me on TV”), reformed bandit Seema Parihar and ex-robber Devendar Singh are also competing in the show. Other contestants include actors Ashmit Patel, Sameer Soni and Shweta Tiwari.  According to the Times of India, Singh has been asked to leave the show following unruly behaviour.

The show opened with Salman Khan giving viewers a tour of the “Bigg Boss” house, which includes a common bedroom, a change from previous years where the house had separate sleeping arrangements for men and women.

Indian shows featuring Pakistanis have become a huge hit on both sides of the border. The inclusion of Pakistani comedians such as Shakeel Siddiqui on “Comedy Circus” paved the way for more Pakistani stars. Musician Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is part of the judges’ panel for “Chhote Ustaad”, a musical talent hunt show that is currently on air. Contestants include children from Pakistan and India who have been paired up together.

Twitter users on the ‘Bigg Boss’ premiere

Kaalakawa: After having seen the complete “Big Boss” premiere I can safely say that Veena Malik is the most charismatic character in there.

YusraSAskari: So does Ali Saleem’s make-up artist have to spend three months in the “Big Boss” house as well?

Bijli: Shiv Sena protests inclusion of Pak actors in “Bigg Boss”. Didn’t know Shiv Sena has started worrying about Pakistan’s image!

Snehalwankhedel: The fourth season of “Bigg Boss” may have Salman Khan, but the final list of contestants has turned out to be quite dull.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (40)

  • Oct 5, 2010 - 1:00AM

    this is not good coz we want friendship with india. india not agry. But this is fect india and pakistan are enemy thats why i just say pakistani actor don,t go india.
    I just only say for pakistan
    how every i live where i live i am proud to be a pakistani.Recommend

  • Oct 5, 2010 - 3:24AM

    Two Pakistanis are enough for igniting fire in the the chaddis of the whole sena.

    Expecting a great season.Recommend

  • minkuuu
    Oct 5, 2010 - 4:02AM

    As Big Boss evolutes the set and rules will change, and as for contestant they are getting more controversial by the season so I am gonna sit back and enjoy. I feel the Pakistani in this season might be lonely if they don’t mingle well, also they are so silly for getting into big boss and thinking it will boost their career or whatever, coz it will just embaress them further. But well every participant will be embaressed later so all good.
    Shiv Sena is just being a pain, they need to grow up and act like adults.Recommend

  • Oct 5, 2010 - 7:20AM

    Shiv Sena he is a Stupid Man !Recommend

  • Hamza Baloch
    Oct 5, 2010 - 9:23AM

    i saw veena malik entry in show,tottly indian style and indian dressing.
    Why we dont promote our culture in such events?Recommend

  • Sarah Malik
    Oct 5, 2010 - 11:20AM

    I have seen both of them in this show and I think there doing a gr8 job till now…. why are we always criticizing?? Come on guy we have to belv that bollywood is much much stronger then lollywood here (in PAK) as well. So why shouldn’t they go if got an opportunity.Take things positively, If India cud call them to THERE country for THERE show inspite having the best lot why wud’nt they participate.
    I just hope they will live up to the country’s name.Recommend

  • Azhar Vapiwalla
    Oct 5, 2010 - 11:24AM

    Hello folks well Indian also want to moved forward for friendship so what we are looking for? no friendship! war again our country is already going down down day by day, At least they welcome our actor and children to come India and be apart of reality show And as far as constant about shiv sena they always against muslims so leave them what ever the say, Pakistani media n indian media should take a poll and ask public do they want to see veena malik and begum ali in big boos season 4 or not, thats only i want to say.Recommend

  • Azhar Vapiwalla
    Oct 5, 2010 - 12:14PM

    I agree with sarah Malik 100%Recommend

  • Yasir
    Oct 5, 2010 - 12:44PM

    do we have a culture? jk

    but if you think about it…its a matter of time when both veena and ali will be eliminated. BUT..ali saleem will open up..and the begum will unleash on the indians big time..hana bigg boss?Recommend

  • Hakim
    Oct 5, 2010 - 12:52PM

    Cool down Sena !. They are actors not military.Recommend

  • Hakim
    Oct 5, 2010 - 12:59PM

    Cool Down Sena! They are actors not military. We Indians and our culture welcomes everyone who does not harm us. Its a matter of 85 days. If you want to eliminate them, Colors voting lines are open, your strong sena force can eliminate them in a very decent manner maintaining our dignity and pretigious. -Hakim SyedRecommend

  • Noreen Shams
    Oct 5, 2010 - 1:45PM

    its all about Money game Giant Indian media thinks to score millions and billions of money but only viewers from India will business though but what if they get Paki viewers too? brilliant TRPs they will score so they add paki interest in their shows wheather it is chotay ustaad or BIG BOSS …. Recommend

  • Z Ali
    Oct 5, 2010 - 3:01PM

    OUR Culture is Begum Nawazih. Role model of Pakistan. Dont we have any man in pakistan.Recommend

  • aslam
    Oct 5, 2010 - 4:15PM

    @Noreen Shams- Pak Viewership? Colors doesn’t get any viewership from pak…Banned Remember? So any TRPs from pak unofficially don’t countRecommend

  • Ashutosh
    Oct 5, 2010 - 4:48PM

    Big Boss is hardly an entertainment. But if people buy “crap”, you not blame the seller for selling it.

    I am sure it is harmless and entertainment (as some will like to portrait). So, don’t take it seriously or to your heart. Its not worth it.Recommend

  • Oct 5, 2010 - 6:59PM

    Z. Ali,

    Who says big brother is about cultural representation? This season has a bandit , a thief and a controversial actor in there . Do you think they are there for their country’s ‘representation’.

    It’s all about entertainment. Relax all of you.Recommend

  • Anoop
    Oct 5, 2010 - 8:55PM

    I cant wait to catch the rest of the season. On a different note I find it fascinating to see Pakistanis discussing about an Indian TV show whose channel is banned there. Nice to see the soft power of India spread.

    Hollywood, Coca cola and Micheal Jackson were the biggest brands in the world and everybody knew about it. I see a similar role for India in the future.

    Salman Khan will rip up the people if they act unusual. I like that Ali guy. Seems far more intelligent than Veena Malik.Recommend

  • Oct 5, 2010 - 10:21PM

    I am a fan of Big Boss. I have watched its previous season but now Supreme court has baned the Indian channels on cable so unfortunately force to miss this season.I think Pakistani channels should be allowed to air some of good programs of Indians channel like Big Boss, Chote Ustad, Comedy shows… etc.Recommend

  • ik
    Oct 5, 2010 - 10:55PM

    in the first show (Bigg Boss) itself ali saleem is put in place – IT deserves it. This person is all out to degrade Pakistan internationally. Recommend

  • Oct 6, 2010 - 1:59AM

    Anoop,

    The power of TWO Pakistanis is giving nightmares to chaddis. I can see the power of PAKISTAN spreading.Recommend

  • Indian
    Oct 6, 2010 - 10:21AM

    @Natasha,which world you are leaving in..its a ploy to get pakistani audience.They will keep one of them till end but they won’t declare them winner even if they win..iftadaye ishq hai rota hai kya..aage aage dekhiye hota hai kyaRecommend

  • Anoop
    Oct 6, 2010 - 11:02AM

    @Natasha,

    “The power of TWO Pakistanis is giving nightmares to chaddis. ”

    –>I think you watch some other TV show than the one I am watching.

    “I can see the power of PAKISTAN spreading.”

    –> If you say so. By power you mean fear of Terrorists migrating to Western Countries and causing havoc then yes, power of Pakistan is spreading.Recommend

  • Noreen Shams
    Oct 6, 2010 - 11:17AM

    Aslam ! you talk about the banned channel ..dnt you know after 65 war indian movies were also banned but still those indian movies got much revenue from entire pakistan through several means similarly today starplus is also banned bt everyone here knows what has happend in Pratigya`s last day episode again Indians are generating money across border … nowadays there are lots of free highways to get information … you cant stop the flow of information as every episode is available on youtube ..Recommend

  • Zainab_Pakmedia
    Oct 6, 2010 - 2:49PM

    They will keep one of them till end
    but they won’t declare them winner
    even if they win..iftadaye ishq hai
    rota hai kya..aage aage dekhiye hota
    hai kya

    1- India’s systematic campaign to invade Pakistan culture seems to be working//
    2- inclusion of these two will sweep entire Pakistani audience towards Indian channel// 3- its already getting difficult for us to stick Pakistani audience on Pakistani channel and now big brother..another damage to us :( // our cinemas also lack pakistani movies because these guys been working in india and entire Pakistani market is at loss due to them//chaddi or you call’em dhoti they seriously damaging the nations culture and media by making us fool…think on commercial basis and see how these two stages will sweep entire pakistani crowd and sponsors to indian televisions….//Recommend

  • Oct 6, 2010 - 2:57PM

    Indian,

    Read my comment again. Especially after Anoops comment about India’s power. Connect the two and use your comprehension skills for a change.

    Anoop,

    My child – This is a Pakistani website. I see your comments on every news item. I also know that Indian websites don’t allow so much freedom of expression especially to Pakistanis. Since you have been affected by the power of PAKISTAN, you are found here all the time. You are enjoying your freedom of expression here – this is the ‘soft’ power of Pakistan – hosla rakh puttar!Recommend

  • Oct 6, 2010 - 3:30PM

    In case you two don’t understand my reference to chaddis – it is SENA/RSS and other radical extremist Hindu organizations.

    Two Pakistanis giving nightmares to Sena and the likes. TWO Pakistanis are ‘poisoning’ a nation of more than 1 billion. Isn’t that the power of Pakistan ? : )Recommend

  • Anoop
    Oct 6, 2010 - 4:11PM

    @Natasha,

    I really appreciate Express Tribune and the platform it provides for people from all over the world to comment. If you think this amounts to spreading of its soft power then I cant stop you. Soft power is defined a little differently than that all over the world.

    “TWO Pakistanis are ‘poisoning’ a nation of more than 1 billion. Isn’t that the power of Pakistan ? ”

    India is a nation of several states. Shiv Sena is an organization just in Maharashtra and their supporters are confined to Mumbai only. Its couldn’t even win majority seats in Mumbai.

    It practices a kind of politics which can be compared with MQM’s. I call it mob-politics. They gather all their supporters and do things which might get them media time. This would seem they have more support than they really have.

    I dont like their brand of politics any more than you do. But, their members dont go and blow themselves in public,do they.

    Pakistani artists and other talent should always be welcome in India. Some dude acted as they male lead in a major commercial movie and he wants to move to Mumbai. Thats fabulous news. Same with the 2 Pakistani “stars”. India need all the talent it can gather from Pakistan. Anyway, they cant make much money or achieve their dreams in a society like Pakistan.Recommend

  • ik
    Oct 6, 2010 - 5:08PM

    Pakis should be ashamed of these 2 – they do not represent pakistan or do they??????? Pakistani “POWER” Recommend

  • Patriot
    Oct 6, 2010 - 5:28PM

    Seniks are just like Jamat-e-Islami of Pakistan. They did not allow Michael Jackson in Pakistan and other Indian artists to enter Pakiland.Recommend

  • Neeraj, India
    Oct 6, 2010 - 7:27PM

    @Natasha, You were very proudly pointing out that the Indians like @Anoop and myself are given an opportunity to comment here on ET, well, the magnanimity is appreciated. But, don’t forget, we are not paid a single paisa for doing so and we have no complains on that.
    However, you have conveniently forgotten the magnanimity of the Indian media, who not only invited two Pakistanis to participate in a most popular show, but also paying them in millions of Rupees. That is not the end of the story, dozens of other Pakistani singer, actors, musicians and other artists were invited to India and were given an opportunity to earn fame and fortune.
    Ok, agreed, that there is no mentionable film industry in Pakistan, therefore you cannot reciprocate, but, how about inviting and honoring the legends such as Lata Mangaeshker, who is as much loved in Pakistan as in India? That is exactly what the shiv sena loonies are asking.
    For a good vision why don’t you change your outdated spectacles mummyji!!Recommend

  • Singh
    Oct 6, 2010 - 8:11PM

    Natasha,
    It is big news to me, Pakistan has culture. Is it terrorism? LOLRecommend

  • Oct 6, 2010 - 10:48PM

    @Hamza Baloch

    i saw veena malik entry in show,tottly indian style and indian dressing.
    Why we dont promote our culture in such events?

    Like put Veena in a Burka and Ali Saleem in a knee high pyjama.Give me a break.Recommend

  • Mohsin Hijazee
    Oct 6, 2010 - 11:14PM

    I think that those channels are earning in millions too. Its all commercial nothing specific to be proud about being India. People like Anoop and Singh are responsible for partition because they cant coexist without boasting.Recommend

  • Raza
    Oct 6, 2010 - 11:58PM

    @Anoop and Neeraj, I am a pakistani but I frankly find these pompous claims about Pakistani power and other crap seriously ridiculous. It usually comes about due to less awareness and exposure to rest of the world and sitting in a cocoon. But I do agree pakistani state is too over powering for the artists community in pakistan to invite indians over. It’s not that we would not love to have indian artists, but sometimes it’s either security concerns or they don’t have budgets to pay for big celebs. But in our hearts we love our neighbors as much as you do. And that’s the same reason programs like these create a sense of interest and curiosity on both sides of the border – and hence good ratings.

    @Singh, Terrorism is a plague not a culture. I hope you never have to see your countrymen and loved ones with no fault of their own become a victim. So appreciate your freedom and try to curb down the hate so we can leave a place worth living for our next generations.Recommend

  • Mawali
    Oct 7, 2010 - 12:46AM

    @Anne Morgan
    “Shiv Sena he is a Stupid Man !”
    Seems like your sedatives are working well for you. Go back to sleep now!Recommend

  • Neeraj, India
    Oct 7, 2010 - 3:57AM

    @Raza, Thank you buddy for representing the right kind of face of Pakistan, people like you are true patriots and present the real soft ‘power’ of Pakistan, only if such thing do really exists. Yes, I am aware of the situation in Pakistan, where inviting and honoring an Indian artist is going to be considered as a national shame, if not downright treason.
    No, I don’t agree that Pakistan lacks infrastructural, administrative and economic prowess to host Indian celebs, but, it certainly lacks the will and determination to shed the religious bigotry and the courage to kick out the ‘mendak in the well’ mentality, which, in my view is the main reason why Pakistan is stuck in the time capsule.
    Pakistan has been given such a large doses of religion that, now she finds herself breathless, an ounce more and she will die. Please save her. Recommend

  • Oct 7, 2010 - 4:28PM

    wow !!

    Do you people actually read the context of the comments before blasting out and showing your comprehension skills.

    Why is this Singh’s nonsense bein tolerated Tribune? Recommend

  • Vivek
    Oct 19, 2010 - 1:10PM

    @Natasha.. Nonsense in Nonsense either its yours or someone else’s Tribune is good to tolerate. Hats off to Tribune.Recommend

  • Oct 31, 2010 - 1:01PM

    good sense of observationRecommend

  • pratik
    Nov 22, 2010 - 12:57PM

    as we all know that indian film & television industry havs a tight dominance on pakistan public,only bcoz pakistan people have never craeted good quality movies,seriels,reality shows lke india doing.bcoz of lac of creativity & financing they have never been come up to the mark.
    they have been much more focused only on religious & traditional things.
    as a result despite of watching their own channels,pakistan people are intrested in watching indian channels.
    its a strategy 2 bring pakistan artists & celebrities 2 indian shows by the show makers. by this they can get a better TRP and huge benefitial ammount..
    but at the end of the day both r getting benefitted. pakistan artists can also get better exposures,money,name & fame. they r becoming huge stars in both the countries.
    finally indian channels r doing a great & fantastic job.Recommend

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