An announcement made ten days ago left everyone curious and partially, aghast. Why? Because Akshay Kumar had been replaced by Priyanka Chopra as the host of Khatron Ke Khiladi Season Three. The shooting for the IPL Special show will start in Brazil later this month, as soon as the matches finish.
While eager followers have already begun placing their bets on who the 13 cricketers would be, the channel is tight lipped about the news. However, sources indicate that Yuvraj Singh, Brett Lee, Shane Warne, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, S Sreesanth and Gautam Gambhir have agreed to participate.
“The idea is to have a mix of Indian and foreign cricketers. That will spice up the content. And it will be a perfect blend on screen. Their revelry and the kind of bond they share will make the entire journey entertaining,” says a source from Endemol, the production house that has been anchoring the show.
Meanwhile, talks about Priyanka Chopra competing with Akshay Kumar on her fee have been going around since the announcement of the new host. While one section of the media is abuzz with rumours that the actress is one of the most expensive hosts on television, another believes that Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan rule the roost.
Priyanka Chopra has agreed to do the 13-episode season for approximately three crore.
When asked, Ashwini Yardi, programming head, Colors, firmly refused to comment on the issue as imparting any further information would be acting against the channel’s policy.
“Priyanka Chopra symbolises brains, brawn and beauty. She enjoys adventure too. This year, like every year, we have re-invented the format of Fear Factor Khatron Ke Khiladi. Akshay Kumar was fabulous and brought great content to the table. But unlike the last two seasons, which comprised 13 female celebrities, this year we have 13 cricketers supported by an adventurous lady host,” says Yardi.
Next in line
According to Deepak Dhar of Endemol, the format of the reality show needed a new face, as Akshay Kumar couldn’t be juiced any further.
He believes that Chopra adds a certain effeminate glamour to the show and carries a sporty image, much needed from someone who takes on this specific job.
When asked whether Akshay Kumar would return to the scene in season four, when it hopefully goes back to lady contestants and a male host, both Yardi and Dhar said that they’d want to focus on the current season and talk about the fourth only when its time.