'Bigg Boss-5' has strong Nepal connection

Sudeshna Sarkar

Kathmandu, Oct 3 (IANS) It's not just that one of the 14 contestants who entered the 'Bigg Boss' house in Mumbai Monday night for the fifth edition of Colour TV's reality show is from Nepal, there are other connections with the northern neighbour as well.

While Nihita Biswas Sobhraj, the 23-year-old political science student from Kathmandu, is the wife of alleged former serial killer Charles Sobhraj, who is now Nepal's best-known prisoner, more participants have a Nepal link.

The lone male in the house and Bollywood's favourite villain Shakti Kapoor would probably still wince if Nepal is mentioned to him.

Three years ago, Kapoor triggered a row in southern Nepal's Birgunj city, where he had gone to shoot a Bhojpuri film being directed by Nepal's Sanu Shakya.

While Kapoor was playing a make-believe Indian villain who trafficked Nepali girls to India, the reel-life villainy act allegedly lapsed into real-life misdeed with the leading lady of the film, Nepali actor Rekha Thapa, saying the Bollywood stalwart had misbehaved with her.

Another contestant, Norwegian model turned aspiring Bollywood actor Mahek Chahal, visited Kathmandu in 2004 when she took part in a show at Galaxy, a nightclub in the capital.

The nightclub erupted in violence after the then crown prince of Nepal, Paras Bir Bikram Shah, picked up a drunken brawl with some of the guests, including Nepal's blue-blooded and plutocracy.

Another contestant, sexual minority rights activist and transgender Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, has been hailed by Nepal's sexual minorities.

'Nepal's lesbian-gay-bisexual and transgender community is very happy that Color TV's reality show 'Bigg Boss' included Indian third gender Laxmi Tripathi,' Nepal's openly gay member of parliament and the founder of the gay rights movement in the conservative Himalayan republic, Sunil Babu Pant, said.

Pant, who is currently in India's Bangalore city and watched the introductory episode Monday night with keen interest, said the inclusion of the outspoken and sophisticated Laxmi showed the Indian media was becoming more open and respectful of the community.

'We hope Bollywood will also start respecting (the community) and make movies on strong gay themes,' Pant said. 'We hope 'Bigg Boss' will continue including LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) members in the coming years and not just from India but also from neighbouring countries.'

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at sudeshna.s@ians.in)