MUMBAI: "Bigg Boss", one of Indian television's most popular reality shows, had a grand premiere on Saturday night with its new season, minus the live audience, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Armed with a hammer, Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, who hosts the show, opened the 14th season, signifying that "Bigg Boss" is set to give a befitting response to 2020, which has been a difficult year so far.
In a reference to COVID-19, Khan said, "This is that year where the most negative word is positive."
"This lockdown has made people learn many household chores be it washing the utensils, mopping the floor and most importantly it has taught us to appreciate the past," he further said during the launch of the show.
Keeping in mind the pandemic and safety precautions, the 54-year-old actor said this time there will be no live audience on the sets, adding the show feels empty without their presence.
The makers showed a clip wherein the "Bigg Boss" set, put up in suburban Mumbai's Filmcity, is seen undergoing sanitization, along with the crew members taking all necessary precautions to create a safe environment for the housemates.
With the theme - 'Ab Scene Paltega, Kyunki Bigg Boss Dega 2020 Ko Jawab (Things will change as Bigg Boss will confront 2020') - the Bigg Boss house is equipped with a shopping mall, theatre, spa and dining area.
Khan introduced this season's contestants who entertained the viewers with their performances before entering the house.
They are TV couple Rubina Dilaik and Abhinav Shukla, actors Eijaz Khan, Jasmin Bhasin, Nishant Singh Malkhani, Pavitra Punia, singers Rahul Vaidya, Jaan Kumar, son of veteran singer Kumar Sanu, Shehzad Deol, a model, singer-model Sara Gurpal and south actor Nikki Tamboli.
According to a source close to the production, the contestants completed their quarantine period before entering the house.
Former "Bigg Boss" contestants Sidharth Shukla, Hina Khan and Gauahar Khan entered the show as 'Toofani Seniors', who will take over the reins of the house and will be instrumental in making important decisions for the first 15 days.
Khan closed the premiere event in his signature "Bigg Boss" style saying, "Do whatever you guys want to do, just don't give corona to your parents."
The show airs on Colors Channel.