Akkineni Nagarjuna.
Akkineni Nagarjuna. Image Credit: Supplied

Telugu ‘Bigg Boss 3’ is all set to begin on July 21. But the much-anticipated reality TV show being hosted by actor Akkineni Nagarjuna had been mired in several controversies over the last few weeks.

Violation of women’s modesty, breach of contract, seeking commitment (a euphemism for the casting couch), implausible conditions for staying in the house — you name it, they’ve got it.

While the final list of ‘inmates’ of the ‘Bigg Boss’ house has been doing the rounds on social media and TV channels, at least two women — a TV journalist and Telugu cinema starlet — have accused three coordinators of the Star Maa channel that’s hosting the show and the ‘Bigg Boss’ chief from Mumbai of violating their modesty and breach of contract.

Shweta Reddy

They have both approached the police in Hyderabad seeking action. Journalist Shweta Reddy claimed that Star Maa coordinators Ravikanth, Raghu and Bhaskar, who met her over ‘several sittings’ and made her sign a contact, asked her intrusive questions such as why she should be selected to be a contestant and to what extent she’d go to satisfy the ‘big boss’, Abhishek of Mumbai.

The mother of two says she was taken aback by their ‘demands’ and approached the police demanding that the show be cancelled and action taken against the accused.

She even wondered how Nagarjuna, who earlier detested ‘Bigg Boss’, agreed to host the show. Reddy questioned whether he would allow his wife Amala Akkineni and his daughter-in-law, South Indian star Samantha Akkineni, to participate in the show.

Nagarjuna has been widely trolled for agreeing to host the reality show a year after saying he finds it voyeuristic.

Gayatri Gupta.

Giving credence to Reddy’s outburst, Gayatri Gupta, too, claimed that the same coordinators of Star Maa asked her embarrassing questions such as whether she can manage to stay ‘without sex’ for 100 days.

The Telugu actress, who also does sensational ‘adult education’ videos on YouTube, claims the show’s representatives made her sign a contract that required her to not take on any acting assignments until the end of the show.

Both say they weren’t selected after all with no reasons provided. While Reddy has her TV anchor role to fall back on, Gupta says she has lost at least six projects. She is demanding compensation for the lost remuneration she’d have gotten had she signed up for those movies.

Reddy and Gupta are not alone in taking on the behemoth show.

A section of Osmania University in Hyderabad, Telangana, voiced their concern over the show that ‘breaches the privacy of inmates’ and ‘encourages immoral activities’.

They demanded that the show be banned in the wake of serious allegations against it organisers. They had also planned to lay siege at Nagarjuna’s Jubilee Hills residence, prompting police to provide security at the venue.

Despite all the controversies, channel sources said the programme will go on air as per schedule.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that the premiere episode was shot on July 19 at Annapurna 7 Acres, Hyderabad.

The list of contestants in ‘Bigg Boss Telugu 3’ show is said to include actors Hema, Varun Sandesh and his wife Vithika, Punarnavi Bhupalam, Mahesh Vitta, Ali Reza, Rohini, Himaja, Ravikrishna, singer Rahul Sipligunj, TV hosts Sreemukhi, ‘Teenmaar’ Savitri, TV 9 journalist Jaffar and choreographer Baba Bhaskar.