Much before the winner of Bigg Boss Season 7 was revealed in the grand finale, congratulatory messages kept pouring in on social media claiming Gauhar Khan to be the winner.
According to a report in the Times of India, while people were busy sending SMSes as votes for their favourite contestant among the finalists, the winner had already been decided.
This reportedly brings up the age-old question regarding the authenticity of reality shows. Are they actually real or just scripted shows playing out in a certain manner?
Viacom 18 Colors, which aired the show, dismisses these reports as mere speculation.
"It's completely because of fans that have enjoyed watching Gauhar inside the Bigg Boss house. She has been a very strong contender from the beginning and made it to the end, surviving all evictions," said the channel.
As per the channel's executives, it was simply the social media's response to the buzz surrounding the show and the finalists. They stated that similar messages were circulating about other finalists Tanisha and Sangram.
Talking about the credibility of the voting system they said: "The winner or loser of the show is in the hands of our viewers. As a responsible broadcaster we follow a very fair selection process where the results and tabulated and declared by Ernst & Young."
In an attempt to clear allegations of the show being scripted and some participants being given a role to play, the channel recalled the public tour of the Bigg Boss house that took place last year, where the people were able to see firsthand the contestants on the show.
"We have also introduced a 24x7 online live feed that gives audiences a constant view of the happenings," they added.