Omung Kumar has been an integral part of the Bigg Boss production unit since season 5 (2011-12). He has excelled in creating an environment based on the different themes of the show through the years. Now, in its first-ever OTT only edition, which goes live on streaming app VOOT starting August 8, Omung and his team have once again come on board as art director and set designers. Asked about the look and feel of the Bigg Boss OTT house, he says the stay will be like a camping trip experience for the contestants and the ambience will be very ‘raw’.
First, he shares the idea that went behind the house design. “This time the house is over-the-top and something I have not done before. The show is going to air 24*7 and we thought of giving it a new flavour. During the briefing, we discussed going for a high-tech look with LEDs since it is a digital edition but decided against it because people will get bored looking at it all the time. We wanted to give viewers something they feel homely about and would like to see throughout. Then the idea came from the Covid situation. We thought people would like to go out since they have been stuck inside for so long. So we thought of a carnival theme with a bohemian and gypsy feel, like going outdoors and staying inside the tents and how it would be like. It also blends with the setting as there are jungles and gardens around the set.”
He also gives us a detour of the Bigg Boss OTT house where the twelve contestants will be staying for the coming six weeks. “When you enter the living room, the ceiling is full of curtains in a tent shape made of patchwork. These are full of lights. There is a 10 feet tall basket on the top that becomes the chandelier. The sofa is done with flower prints and matches the feel. The front wall where Karan (Johar) is going to come on TV is full of huge faces painted colourfully. There are eyes that are going to be lit up and will watch over the contestants all the time. The moment the lights go off, the eyes will pop out. The biggest change we have done here is taking the dining table out in the garden. The doors slide throughout and the garden becomes part of the living room. There are lots of lights over the wooden table and it will feel like you are eating under the starry sky. We have done wooden slacks in the walls all around the garden area. They are lit up from the inside. We have also given nooks and corners which can be contestants’ personal space. The swimming pool is the highlight here as we have made a dome on top of it and hung about a hundred rice lamps. In the night, the reflection in the water is enchanting. There is also a huge dreamcatcher hanging on top which becomes the entry point to the Bigg Boss OTT house.”
Omung continues, “We have done bunk beds for the first time. More cameras have been added on the top to cover everything. This also becomes a talking point as people will fight for which side, top or bottom, they would want. We have also made this into a tarot card bedroom with sun signs. This also becomes a point of discussion with the housemates. The bathroom area is also very raw and will remind one of a carnival space. We have done huge leaves with eyes inside, flowers and bamboo strips here. The whole feeling is you want to live here but it is only for a short time of six weeks so think of it like a camping trip.”
On his association with the Bigg Boss team, Omung shares, “Every year, this project excites me a lot. I am doing something that I have not done before. We have to keep thinking about the newness factor in the house design and how we excite people every single time. My job is done when people get a smile on their faces and they want to copy it in their homes. Every year I get messages asking me about the walls and how we are painting it. This time the new flavour is how to do it raw and make the place look beautiful.”
Bigg Boss OTT will be a prequel of sorts to Bigg Boss 15.