It took one Ashutosh Kaushik from Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, and a whole lot of Roadies, to entice India of the villages into the folds of reality television. Over six years of defining ‘cool’ for the reality television experience of young urban Indian audiences (despite the abuse-fests), in its seventh year, Roadies has attracted thousands of youngsters from rural India as well — most of whom want to become the next Kaushik, who won Season 5 of Roadies.
“We’ve had people coming in from all sorts of small towns and villages from across India, trying to replicate the success of Ashutosh,” says MTV General Manager Ashish Patil.” We’ve had people who only spoke in Gurmukhi trying out for the seventh season of Roadies.”
“It’s a mad leap of faith for them,” adds Cyrus Sahukar, who is on the jury of Roadies auditions this year. “Leaving the village, coming to the city, getting a break will usually take 20 years. But this is like that one mad shot that may give them a break instantly.”
The one thing that has really struck a chord with the Roadies crew this time has been the “heart” that the people from villages have. “It takes a lot of courage and heart to come into a new city, come into a hotel room and face two scary people and nine cameras. I would have got a heart attack, man. But these people are so enthusiastic about life!”
Expect the Unexpected
The seventh season of Roadies has also been unexpected in many ways. The most stunning change is the absence of Raghu or Rajiv Ram this season. Yes, you read it right — the twin brothers, who were the face of Roadies last year, have quit the show and moved on.
“After six years of working non-stop, I got tired of Roadies,” says Raghu Ram, who was the driving force behind it for six years and has a cult fan following. “And for all those who were expecting us to continue on the show – isn’t that what Roadies is all about? Expect the unexpected?” adds Rajiv Ram.
“Having said that, we are pretty sure Roadies will scale new heights this year,” says Raghu. “The team on Roadies is the best in reality TV today, so it will definitely be great.”
With the twins quitting the show, Patil thought of turning over the auditions on its face. “We know Roadies fans want only to witness the rough-and-tough side of the show, but this time, we’ve made the show in a way that it could have even been on Nicklodean!”
“But that doesn’t mean that it won’t be as grueling,” he quickly adds. “There are just fewer expletives! By getting Cyrus Sahukar and Cyrus Broacha on board for auditions, we’ve made things a lot lighter.”
Sahukar tries putting things in perspective, “If you take away all the jazz of ball-busting, the abuses and all the drama, there is a real sincerity about the people on the show. They are real people who go through this incredible journey that they will tell their kids about.”
“So there’s going to be a lot more laughter, a lot more trip taking, and a lot more fun,” he adds. “But Roadies, above all, is like a badge of honour for people. And this time, the soul of the show will come through.”