It's that time of the year again.
The ninth season of the wildly-successful reality TV show Bigg Boss premiered on Sunday night, with Salman Khan returning as host. This time around, the theme is Double Trouble, which involves contestants pairing up. These pairings aren't couple-oriented, even though some of the contestants are together or have dated in the past.
Here's a look at each of this year's jodis, including fun facts about some of the contestants you may have forgotten or never known.
1. Digangana Suryavanshi and Roopal Tyagi
She is known as Indian TV's "very own Rapunzel" for her lead role in the show Ek Veer Ki Ardaas... Veera and, at 17 years of age, is this year's youngest contestant. In an an interview with Hindustan Times, Suryavanshi revealed that her mother initially thought she should wait for her 18th birthday at least before going on the show, but then relented, observing that it will, after all, also be a chance for her to see who her daughter really is.
Fun fact: She's written two books: Waves - The Endless Emotions and Nixie The Mermaid And The Power Of Love.
This 26-year-old actor-choreographer is best known for playing Gunjan on Sapney Suhane Ladakpan Ke, but has also appeared on Hamari Betiyoon Ki Vivaah, Dill Mill Gayye, and Ek Nayi Chhoti Si Zindagi. She's no stranger to the reality show space either, having appeared in Dance India Dance Li'l Masters 2 and Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 8.
Fun fact: She helped choreograph this creepy-as-hell number featuring Vidya Balan from Bhool Bhulaiyya (2007).
2. Aman Verma and Kishwer Merchant
Does he really need an introduction? Verma was famous as a TV host in the early '00s, with shows like Khullja Sim Sim and Indian Idol under his belt, as well as for appearing in films such as Baghban (2003). This is, of course, before he got infamous after a news channel caught him on video propositioning a young wannabe 'actress' as part of a sting operation. The incident all but destroyed his career, and this may well be the comeback he's been seeking.
Fun fact: Verma has acted in Jaani Dushman: Ek Anoki Kahani and Desh Drohi, both famed for being amongst the worst Hindi movies ever made, and the latter responsible for the phenomenon known as KRK.
Remember her as the easily-misunderstood NRI girl Nonie from Hip Hip Hurray? Merchant, now 34, has appeared in a number of shows since those days, including Kasautii Zindagii Kay, Sarabhai vs Sarabhai, and the ongoing Itna Karo Na Mujhe Pyaar. She is dating fellow actor Suyyash Rai (to fans, they're SuKish *sigh*), who is also a contestant on Bigg Boss this year.
Fun fact: She says she can never do mythological shows because the Hindi spoken on them is too difficult for her to master.
3. Rimi Sen and Suyyash Rai
Who doesn't remember Rimi Sen from movies like Hungama (2003), Dhoom (2004), and Garam Masala (2005), right? Having made her debut in Aparna Sen's Paromitar Ek Din (2000), she went on to act in numerous Bollywood and Telugu movies. However, after a string of films that turned out to be box-office failures, she has been largely missing from the scene. According to reports, she took up the Bigg Boss offer to "reconnect with fans".
Fun fact: She got noticed after this Coca Cola ad featuring Aamir Khan as an amorous Hyderabadi. #YouRemember
This actor-singer-composer, who first appeared on the show Pyaar Kii Ye Ek Kahaani, is known for his negative roles. Aside from walking many ramp shows as well as appearing in a number of advertisements, Rai also debuted an album called Khushnuma last year. The video for its title track featured Kishwer and himself.
Fun fact: He hit the big time after appearing on season 2 of the MTV reality show Splitsvilla.
4. Vikas Bhalla and Yuvika Choudhary
Many will remember Bhalla's pop-rock album Awara from the '90s, fewer will remember his roles in films such as Sauda (1995) and Dil Ke Jharoke Mein (1997). Following that, he went on to become a successful TV actor, appearing in shows such as Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi and Uttaran.
Fun fact: He is brothers-in-law with actor Sharman Joshi and is also very close to Salman, although he insists that his proximity to bhai has nothing to do with his selection.
Having entered the industry through the reality show Zee Cine Stars Ki Khoj a decade ago, Choudhary has acted in the TV show Astitva... Ek Prem Kahani. After appearing in a Coca Cola commercial, she was cast in Farah Khan's Om Shanti Om (2007) and has since appeared in a slew of movies. However, none of them have fared too well at the box-office.
Fun fact: Choudhary was once offered a role in Rajkumar Hirani's acclaimed hit Lagey Raho Munnabhai, which the director reportedly pitched to her for an hour. However, she rejected it and that role went to Dia Mirza instead.
5. Prince Narula and Rochelle Rao
Blogs and websites are abuzz with how Narula got rejected by the most number of female partners while pairing up, but this Punjabi munda is touted to be a strong contestant. Appearing in his fourth reality show this year, Narula has garnered a fan following for his tough guy image as seen on Roadies X2 and Splitsvilla 8.
Fun fact: He was a Mr Punjab runner-up last year. Check out his appeal for votes below.
A former Miss India International, Rao is best known for appearing on the post-match analysis show Extraaa Innings during the Indian Premiere League in 2013. She also appeared on season 5 of Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi Darr Ka Blockbuster. Her real-life boyfriend, Keith Sequeira, is also a participant on the show this year.
Fun fact: Her sister Paloma Rao, a Chennai-based VJ, model, and actor, was the more famous sibling until recently.
6. Keith Sequeira and Mandana Karimi
A well-known face, Sequeira has been a VJ, a model, and an actor (he recently appeared in Madhur Bhandarkar's Calendar Girls). Although born in Goa and sporting what he calls an "Anglo" name, Sequeira told Miss Malini that he is a regular "Delhi boy" and wants to "break the perception" that he isn't desi enough.
Fun fact: He was the last one among 3000 men who auditioned for the Raymond's advertisement (video below) that kickstarted his modelling career.
Karimi, an actress of Indian-Iranian descent, appeared in a cameo role in Ranbir Kapoor starrer Roy earlier this year, but only made a full-fledged acting debut with the recently released Bhaag Johnny. In an interview to PTI, she mentioned that her distinctive accent will entertain the audience as "they will find it funny".
Fun fact: Rumour has it that she's dating Tusshar Kapoor.
7. Ankit Gera and Arvind Vegda
A TV actor who debuted with the show Mahi Way, Gera is fellow contestant Roopal Tyagi's ex-boyfriend. Reportedly, the two met on the sets of the show Sapne Suhane Ladakpan Ke and dated for a while before she realised he was cheating on her with Adaa Khan (Amrit Manthan). Tyagi once said in an interview that she'd slapped Gera before and would do so again if he tried to talk to her again. We're guessing this dynamic will go a long way in making this season of Bigg Boss extremely entertaining.
Fun fact: Gera sure has been 'round the block. Four years ago, he was in a relationship with actress Monika Singh, who played his mother in the erstwhile show Mann Kee Awaaz Pratigya. That didn't end well either.
He is known as Gujarat's 'Dandiya King', but this singer will not be attending any Navratri celebrations this year. He achieved some form of national fame two years ago after his hit composition 'Bhai Bhai' was featured in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Goliyon Ki Raasleela Raam-Leela (2013). According to this interview, he decided to come to Bigg Boss because "9 out of 10 people" he spoke to said Bigg Boss is the best platform for him.
Fun fact: According to Business Of Cinema, Vegda snores really loudly and has apparently already disturbed the other inmates of the Bigg Boss house.