Semi-finale week in the ‘Bigg Boss’ house is almost over and contestants Hina Khan, Vikas Gupta, Shilpa Shinde, Luv Tyagi, Akash Dadlani and Puneesh Sharma are doing everything they can to make it to the end. Each housemate has worked hard to be in the finale, but there can only be one winner. What does it take to be the champion of ‘Bigg Boss’? Here’s a look at past winners to see what worked for them.

Season 1 (2006) – Rahul Roy

Season 1 was filled with loud contestants like Rakhi Sawant and Kashmira Shah, but Rahul Roy managed to break the clutter by remaining calm and composed. His ability to stay above the petty fights and unnecessary arguments appealed to the audience, making him the first ever winner of ‘Bigg Boss’ (on Colors).

Season 2 (2008) – Ashutosh Kaushik

On the heels of his ‘Roadies’ win, Ashutosh Kaushik entered the ‘Bigg Boss’ house with a lot of confidence. The small town boy may have stuck out amongst his celebrity housemates, but the audience loved him for his relatability and he became a fan favourite. A true entertainer, Kaushik managed to win two reality shows back-to-back.

Season 3 (2009) – Vindu Dara Singh

Vindu Dara Singh played the game with enthusiasm and sincerity, remaining strategic and powerful throughout. He had his moments of anger, such as his fight with Kamal R Khan, but he always tried to acknowledge his mistakes and learn from them. Apart from winning his season, Singh also won the “Most Stylish and Bold Contestant” award and was voted “Bade Dil Wala” (Man with a Golden Heart) by his housemates.

Season 4 (2010) – Shweta Tiwari

Popular TV actress Shweta Tiwari entered the house as a frontrunner, but that didn’t make her journey in the competition any easier. She had to face the most controversial ‘Bigg Boss’ “villain” to date: wildcard contestant Dolly Bindra, who also made it to the finale. Tiwari’s strength, honesty and diplomacy against the bullying was appreciated by the viewers, winning her the prize over her competitors.

Season 5 (2011) – Juhi Parmar

Star of the superhit TV show ‘Kumkum’, Juhi Parmar entered the house with a huge fanbase. Her patience and caring demeanour amongst ugly fights and aggressive contestants helped her make it to the finale and win. During her stay in the house, Parmar remained a loyal and trustworthy friend to fellow contestant Akashdeep Saigal, despite his questionable behaviour. She also had good relationships with Pooja Bedi and Sunny Leone – all strong alliances that helped her throughout the competition.

Season 6 (2012) – Urvashi Dholakia

Nicknamed “vamp” inside the house, season 6 winner Urvashi Dholakia wasn’t known for her patience or diplomacy in the ‘Bigg Boss’ house. She was strong and fearless with a no-nonsense attitude, never afraid of confrontation, never playing the victim. Her ability to remain true to herself and stand up against antagonistic players like Imam Siddique made her stand out as a deserving winner.

Season 7 (2013) – Gauahar Khan

In a show where contestants are often accused of contradicting themselves , Gauhar Khan was one of the few housemates who managed to stay true to herself throughout her journey. A strong task player, Khan always focused on doing what’s right and fair. Never afraid to speak her mind, Khan even went against ‘Bigg Boss’ himself and walked out of the house in solidarity with Kushal Tandon, who she became romantically involved with during the show, after she believed his sudden elimination to be unfair. She returned to the show shortly after, eventually taking the prize money while staying true to what she believed in.

Season 8 (2014) – Gautam Gulati

Gautam Gulati was always the underdog, ever since his fight with fellow housemate Karishma Tanna in week two. However, Gulati embraced his status in the house and thrived by playing the game as a lone wolf. His positive attitude paired with unpredictable gameplay was a recipe for success. Gulati and his fellow contestants Tanna, Pritam Singh, Ali Quli Mirza and Dimpy Ganguly faced the biggest twist in ‘Bigg Boss’ history, when their season was extended by four weeks into ‘Bigg Boss Halla Bol’ and memorable past contestants came back to participate. He still emerged as the ultimate winner, entertaining viewers along the way.

Season 9 (2015) – Prince Narula

Prince Narula entered the house as a reality TV veteran, after winning ‘MTV Splitsvilla 8’ and ‘MTV Roadies 12’. While his previous experience helped him shine in tasks, the aggressive image he had established in the past hindered him initially, pushing him to grow as a person during his stay in the ‘Bigg Boss’ house. In a season where contestants were initially forced to live in pairs, Narula continued the theme of the show by establishing strong relationships, which ultimately allowed him to thrive on the show. When fellow contestant and friend Kishwer Merchant decided to exit the house to save him during a task, it motivated Narula to play harder and win not just for himself but for her as well. Narula himself dedicated his win to Merchant at the finale.

Season 10 (2016) – Manveer Gurjar

Season 10 decided to switch things up by inviting regular Indians to compete with celebrities. Their gamble paid off, as Manveer Gurjar, a brash small town boy, won the grand prize against fan favourite Bani J. Accused of relying too much on fellow contestant Manu Punjabi, he shone as a strong player after Punjabi had to leave the house due to a family emergency. Gurjar always believed in playing more with his heart than his mind, and this honesty paired with personal growth helped him gain the popularity that resulted in a win.

The final of ‘Bigg Boss 11’ airs on Sunday 14th January 2018 on Colors.