You’ve been on all seven Roadies. How’s your personal journey been?
(Chuckles) I know what you mean to say — I’m getting older, right? You know, I was 20 at the time of my first Roadies, and I grew up with the show. The only reason I didn’t join the army like my father, even though I wanted to, was because I could do everything that excites me, on the show. I’ve become a man from a boy.
I’ve done everything on the show, man! I’ve helped the crew, done the tasks, even carried luggage around, and (grins) looked good. We’ve all done more than our part in Roadies, and I’m really proud of where the show is today. I’ve always done every task to the best of my ability so that I deserve the respect of the contestants, rather than just being a presenter. (Smiles) And I’ve made friends here, man. There have been moments when I injured myself and people on the sets were really worried. It’s good to know they care. Roadies has made MTV what it is and I’ve been a part of it.
Was Ride with Rannvijay your idea?
Not really. But last year, I decided not to be a part of the auditions anymore because my involvement wasn’t much as it was with the entire show. I also had a lot of film commitments, so I couldn’t give it that much time. MTV immediately agreed, but they wanted to involve me. And they thought of a whole procedure where the auditions could be task-oriented.
And it worked, man! The 14 people who finally got through had this amazing pride in themselves, because they had proved themselves.
What do you find different in Roadies Season 7?
Roadies works because there’s something new every year. New people come on board, there are new countries, cultures, tasks, situations and twists. We don’t believe in repeating something that worked. B****ing and plotting worked in the last couple of seasons, but we don’t want to cash in on that, and made everything performance based this year.
But you know, I feel upset that each year, the crew goes through a drastic change. Instead of retaining the same team that does so well in such a tight budget, they bring in a new team every year and it’s just difficult to pull off such a show. We need to maintain the rhythm. I also didn’t like the fact that they are running Roadies and Splitsvilla alongside. They’ve split our audiences, man. I just hope that after this, we again go back to being a family, rather than a corporation.
Did you miss Raghu this season?
(Smiles) Yeah man, we all missed him a lot on the show, since we were the only two people on the show who were there from Season 1. He was the one who got me the opportunity to work with MTV. But we all understood why he couldn’t be a part of the show. He was doing insane amount of work and really needed a break. And he’s doing so well right now! Personally, I don’t miss him because we talk every day. (Laughs) Raghu and Rajiv’s mother says that I’m like the third twin.
What about the contestants? Have you ever been emotionally close to any?
Never. If someone is falling, drowing or hurt, I’ll be the first one to help them out. But as long as the show is on, I don’t ever speak to them. Even if they try speaking to me, I don’t talk. Because if I do that, they’ll take me for granted or they may think I am biased if I speak to one person more than the other. You can’t have a favourite Roadie because this is not a singing or dancing competition that you know who’s the best. It’s about who can survive the longest.
(Smiles) But of course, once the show gets over, I always tell them that they can pack their bags and stay at my place until they get a job, if needed. Everyone from Ayushman to Nauman is close to me today.
From amongst the seven deadly sins, which one do you fall for?
(Chuckles) Lust, for sure! I’m really attracted to women. And yeah, even gluttony. I love to eat… I eat everything!
Have you ever had a crush on any girl in Roadies?
(Laughs) No, man. I’ve been around lots of attractive girls, and for me, the personality of the girl works most. On Roadies, I don’t even interact with the girls. If you get into that rut once, people lose respect.
So which is the one task you’ve really hated doing in Roadies?
There were a couple of tasks in the earlier Roadies that were bizarre, where we made people eat sugar and water and then had to see who vomits first. But for me, personally, I enjoy every task I do. I don’t do tasks that are mechanical, like (chuckles) the ball busting task last year. I didn’t need to do it! But where there is danger, and where athleticism is needed (winks), where things get impossible, I come in!
What’s been your favourite moment on Roadies 7?
My favourite moment had nothing to do with the show. It was during our off time, where I and Kamal, the camera guy, had gone on a safari at the Ambosoli National Park. We taped 12 cubs, three lionesses and two huge lions for around half an hour, and just when we were about to leave, we had a flat tire.
We were so bloody scared, man. We were 20 metres away from wild lions… who know how to kill. We changed the tire in front of the lion right there. It scared the hell out of me!