Good Golly Miss Dolly

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From fighting over kitchen knives to hurling abuses, she kept us riveted to the reality show Bigg Boss. Nishita Jha unravels the phenomenon that is Dolly Bindra

Drama queen Dolly Bindra in her youthful past
Drama queen Dolly Bindra in her youthful past

FOR THE PAST WEEK, our television sets have been screaming at us. Through the garish visage of a woman we would otherwise never invite to our homes, Colors TV introduced us to a new side of ourselves — the schadenfreude seeker. As Dolly Bindra, 41, hurled abuses at the housemates of the reality show Bigg Boss, we were mesmerised. Domestic squabbles assumed gargantuan proportions. It was official; a new TRP magnet was born. Dolly, who has apparently been inundated with fan mail since her recent eviction from the show, says, “People write to me saying I remind them of their mothers, maasis and taais. They’ve accepted me as part of family.”

To be fair, Dolly is mesmerising. Much in the same way one is unable to look away from a train wreck. Once a vaguely familiar film extra, Dolly has been thriving on the periphery of stardom. She has appeared in over 130 Hindi films and co-owns an event management company, Starz&showz Ltd, with her husband Kaizad Kermani. Why did Dolly appear on Bigg Boss when her career was already ‘thriving’ (Starz&showz only deals with A-listers like Salman Khan and (ahem) Mahima Chaudhary)? “I don’t need an image makeover. Colors TV had approached me before, but I joined for Salman bhai this season.”

As she transforms now from perpetrator to victim, one can see her appeal for television audiences. We watched with dread and satisfaction as weeks of mounting tension exploded with Dolly turning violent with Shweta Tiwari and Sameer Soni. With the channel in legal trouble over the abusive content, Dolly was forcibly evicted on the participants’ behest. “Majboor ho gayi thi Dolly Bindra — Punjabi kudi ka Punjabi dimaag kharaab ho gaya tha,” she beams in response to the allegation that she was declared unfit for family viewership.

As far as monsters go, Dolly was also predictable. Her ultimate threat to Shweta Tiwari, her arch nemesis, was that if provoked, she would begin ‘naming names’ of everyone Tiwari had been intimate with. In spite of constantly bitching out promiscuity, Dolly’s official website is full of pictures of scantily-clad actresses and some far from coy pictures of Dolly herself. Her constant refrain on the show — that all the actresses on the show were easy and money-hungry — was followed by Dolly inexplicably breaking into a jig when ex-Baywatch hottie Pamela Anderson entered the house. She describes Anderson (famous for her silicone implants as well as her two sex tapes) as a ‘mature’ and ‘sorted’ woman. “I felt bad that Pam didn’t talk to me. I think she realised I was a straightforward woman and that I’d give it back if she gave me any drama.” Of the one conversation she did share with the Playmate, Dolly says, “She asked me about my family. It was an attempt to make me emotional and break me, so I said bas.” After her forced elimination, Dolly broke down. “In the presence of my bhai (Salman) and mother, I couldn’t hold it in any longer.”

‘I felt bad when Pam didn’t talk to me. I think she realised I’d give it back if she gave me any drama,’ says Dolly Bindra

American sociologist Neil Postman says an advance in technology has not created the Orwellian future we were once afraid of. What has emerged instead is worse — the Huxleyan dystopia, where Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice, but instead, we watch him, by ours. The question we must ask ourselves then, is not who is Dolly Bindra, but rather, why we miss her so.

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