Popular stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqui on Sunday was announced as the winner of the reality show Bigg Boss season 17, beating actor Abhishek Kumar through live voting.
Besides Faruqui and Kumar, the other three contestants who were competing for the trophy in the finale were actors Mannara Chopra, Ankita Lokhande, and social media personality Arun Mahashetty.
Faruqui called his journey on the show a “roller coaster” ride that tested him but also helped him evolve as a person.
Looking back at the show, which saw him competing for the winner’s trophy with other popular contestants like Mannara Chopra, Ankita Lokhande, Arun Mahashetty, and Abhishek Kumar, Faruqui said it was not an easy journey.
“It tests you. It’s up to you how you react and what you say. It is not easy. I was drained out a bit mentally. I kept going for myself and my fans. It has been a roller coaster journey,” the comedian told PTI in an interview.
“I’m blessed I got that strength to tackle all the (negative) things that were thrown at me in the house. I’m happy about my journey. It was the best experience and it gave me the opportunity to become a better person,” he added.
Being adjudged as the winner on his 32nd birthday was extra special, says Faruqui, who took home a cash prize of Rs 50 lakh (approximately £47,314.00) and a car.
The comedian first made headlines in 2021 when he was jailed for over a month for his alleged remarks on Hindu deities during a stand-up show.
In 2022, he won the reality TV show, Lock Upp season one which was hosted by actor Kangana Ranaut.
During his stint on Bigg Boss season 17, Faruqui entertained fellow housemates and viewers with his wit. His personal life also remained a topic of discussion throughout the show with his ex-girlfriend joining the show as a wild card contestant and calling him a “womaniser”.
Speaking about the focus on his personal life during the show, Faruqui, who has a son from a former marriage, said, “There are certain things in your life that are private and you get into a situation that’s uncontrollable and you can’t handle it, or you don’t have anything to defend yourself (with).
“It (focus on personal life) had an impact on me. This tag of womaniser definitely hurts you. But I’ve worked with a lot of women in different projects and I know how comfortable and respected they feel around me. So, I’m happy I can go and make eye contact with them. As a public figure I’m paying the price, this is like an EMI that you have to pay.”
The show premiered on Colors TV channel from October 15 last year with a total of 17 contestants locked in a house in Mumbai’s Filmcity, including Vicky Jain, Ayesha Khan, Anurag Dobhal, Aishwarya Sharma, Neil Bhatt, Isha Malviya, Jigna Vora, Firoza Khan aka Khanzaadi, and Rinku Dhawan.
Faruqui said he was confident that he would win but he started having mixed feelings in the final moments.
“I had that belief that I’m going to win but at the same time, you are aware of the competition. In the final moments, I had mixed feelings. Now, I’ve processed this feeling that I’ve won the show.”
Going forward, Faruqui said he will continue to do stand-up shows.
“Stage is my home. I love humour, and you will see me doing a lot of stand-up comedy,” he said.