Bigg Boss 15 winner Tejasswi Prakash on her ‘questionable’ victory, giving a ‘tough fight’ to co-contestants, controversies, endless rivalry with Shamita Shetty and more.
After months of drama, controversies, fights and entertainment, was announced the winner of popular reality show Bigg Boss 15. The television actress, who went on to showcase various shades of her personality and emotions inside the house — from being funny, silly and entertaining, to aggressive, teary and strong-headed — lifted the trophy and received a sum of Rs. 40 lakhs. Not just that, she also bagged the lead role in Ekta Kapoor’s Naagin 6 while she was still inside the house. But Prakash, probably, is one of those rare contestants whose victory was questioned by many show fans and celebrities, including certain previous Bigg Boss winners. However, this did not dampen the actress’s spirits. While thanking her fans who are called the ‘Teja troops’, Prakash responds to negative criticism by saying, “You can’t expect sportsman spirit from everyone.” Firstpost chats up with the actress who is still trying to catch up with everything that has happened in her life in the last four months. “Honestly, I am still dazed…” she says. Excerpts:
What do you think went in your favour that made you win the show? Were you confident while inside the house?
I was being myself without thinking about the hundreds of cameras that I was surrounded by. Honestly, everyone wants to win….And so did I. Was I confident that I would win? I was at times and there are also times in the journey when you lose confidence. However, Ganpati Bappa was with me along with my fans and we completed this journey together successfully with the trophy coming home. It feels unreal. The feeling is still settling in. I am grateful to my fans that were with me in this journey that led to victory.
What were the most challenging moments for you? You were called insecure and that you were playing a victim card inside the house, how difficult was it for you to deal with all this?
Being away from home and my family was very tough. You don’t have your support system inside the house and hence new bonds form to find that support. But I never felt I played the victim card, in fact I was strong and due to which I was targeted many times. Look, the house is a very stressful place. I was never insecure of anyone but you are bound to keep your allies close because the game can change any day and any minute. And for me, keeping my bond intact with my people was important.
You and your co-contestant Shamita Shetty’s rivalry never came to an end, in fact, both of you were having arguments right until the finale. In one of your fights with her, you also said that she got a lot of privileges…
We meet people in life whose energies don’t match ours and that’s completely fine. As for the privileges the audience knows about everything and as a contestant it is not in my hands so I would rather not comment on it.
You were slammed by Bollywood and television celebrities like Bipasha Basu, Gauahar Khan, Kamya Punjabi…for your ‘age shaming’ remark on Shamita during one of the ugly spats. Though you later clarified saying it was just an expression, a reaction, how do you look at it now?
It was just slang and honestly I took back my words right away when I could see that she didn’t like it. Who would call her an aunty? Just look at her, she looks so hot!
Anything that you regret you should have done or not done?
There are no regrets, the one thing is that I have been who I am whether you loved me or hated me (which I hope not). But I was not wearing any mask, I was myself.
Did you find it difficult playing the game once your love story and that special bond with Karan (Kundra, co-contestant) started? Did it bring in more pressure on you?
I think the house overall is a very stressful place. Bonds are bound to develop and pressure increases as the game goes further. I don’t think that pressure had anything to do with my bond with Karan, it was more that with every given day the dynamics of the house were changing and the game was becoming all the more challenging.
If on one hand many of your colleagues rooted for you, there are also quite a few from the television industry who questioned your victory. People also attributed your victory to Naagin 6 saying you won because you are doing this popular show now. Was your joy of winning marred by so many controversies?
Well, you can never please everyone. No matter who wins the trophy, every year there are people who are not happy but there is one trophy and such is the game. I am extremely grateful to all those who have supported me, they know the real me and they could see and understand my reactions at each point in the game. But I did ask Ekta m’am and she said I won the show because of my merit and irrespective of the results she would have cast me in the show. Actresses who have played Naagin in the past were not the Bigg Boss winners, or those who headlined the show earlier were not made to win the show. People don’t want to accept the fact that someone has won. I really loved my journey. I know that I gave a tough fight to everyone; they looked at me as a threat.
It seemed that most people sitting inside the studio on finale day did not want you to win the show as you have yourself stated this. Why do you think they were against you? Even the show host Salman Khan, just before he crowned you the winner, said you don’t seem to be popular in the eyes of your fellow contestants who were voted out by then…
I don’t think it’s about being against, each contestant had their own team and their own people they were rooting for. We all had allies and opponents in the game. And for me all’s well that ends well, my Ganpati Bappa and my audience were with me and that’s what matters the most.
How has your life changed post victory?
I wouldn’t say that the ‘victory’ has changed me as much as the whole journey has. It’s quite a challenging journey to stay away from your family for four months and be in such a stressful atmosphere with people you don’t know. I have learned to not take things on face value, I know that you can never please everyone but yes if you are true to yourself then that shines out. I think it’s being the real me that truly worked for me and I would want to keep that with me.
You must be excited about being part of Naagin franchise. How different will it be from other parts?
I always wanted to step out of my comfort zone and this role is completely different from what I have done before. This season of the show is also very different from the previous ones. In terms of story, she is the sarvasreshta naagin. Unlike previous seasons, wherein Naagin was fighting for her love, this time she is returning to her country. Besides, she is more powerful than previous naagins as she not just has their powers but has other powers, too.
Seema Sinha is a Mumbai-based mainstream entertainment journalist who has been covering Bollywood and television industry for over two decades. Her forte is candid tell-all interviews, news reporting and newsbreaks, investigative journalism and more. She believes in dismissing what is gossipy, casual, frivolous and fluff.