There are about 10 people in the Bigg Boss house. Considering each of them has 16 waking hours — that is 180 hours of content that the show has. Of that, 1 hour of selected content is telecast. The producers and channel select the content on their understanding of what would interest audiences. Based on what is telecast, viewers across geographies (Bigg Boss is viewed by Indians across the world), ages and gender have been surprised and shocked, disgusted and outraged by the relationship between Armaan and Tanisha.
This was an unlikely duo. Tanisha was in Jannat and Armaan was in Jahanum in the beginning. They didn’t particularly like each other at that time. In fact, they had even bad mouthed the other to other contestants in the beginning. Armaan shows himself to be extremely unbridled in his anger, not exactly couth most times, self-important and egoistical. Tanisha has always comported herself with a certain modicum of decency, self-respect and dignity. Their attraction towards each other was surprising, to say the least.
As time has passed, the duo’s dynamic is strengthened by the snippets shown – and Tanisha’s behaviour vis- a-vis Armaan becomes more and more inexplicable. He is rude to her, demeans her, rubbishes her, diminishes her – and yet she stays on. Why?
Tanisha comes from a family of strong women – starting from her grandmother Shobhana Samarth, through her mother, Tanuja and sister, Kajol. She’s grown up in South Bombay. Everything in her background suggests emancipation, strength and self-respect. Why would she then choose to be with a man who is seemingly consistently rude and overbearing with her? Why would she choose to be a doormat? Some say that flaring up, behaving disgustingly and then issuing abject apologies (that they do not mean – as shown by the repeat of their behaviour) are all signs of an abusive personality. Armaan displays all these signs. So in essence, Tanisha is choosing an abusive relationship.
This whole thing had become so in-your-face that on one of the weekends, even Salman Khan (the host) commented on it and exhorted Tanisha to stand up for herself.
Is this a reflection of the expected gender behaviours in our society? Most couples (especially married couples) show this same pattern. The concept of Pati Parmeshwar is so strongly ingrained in the collective conscious and collective unconscious that almost every girl at some time has been told (in different words and ways): “Men are like that, it is ok”; “Take care of the male ego”; “Gusse mein kuch bhi bol dete hain – don’t take that personally” etc. etc. Essentially women are expected to not have any backbone and self-respect.
Women in every class of the society, from every walk of profession are expected to grin, bear it and make good. Education and professional success levels do not matter. The “lick-his-boots” attitude is the great leveller and every woman is expected to do only that. Aishwarya Rai took beatings from Salman Khan, Deepika Padukone lived with Ranbir’s infidelity for a while, my maid lives with her husband’s second wife – all of them are products of this backward-looking and thinking society.
If the behaviours in the Armaan-Tanisha dynamic were reversed, and Armaan chose to stay on, there would have been an outcry against him and he’d have been defamed as being a spineless, henpecked namard.
When are women going to be seen as and taught to be a self-respecting human being first and foremost?
By Sujata Garimella