If there's an emotion that stays with you long after after a visit to the
Sarkar ki Duniya
sets, it's a sense of awe.
Spread across 13.5 acres of land, the set was built from scratch by 115 people over 56 days. But as a REAL network executive joked, the visit made one realise the grind the contestants (and crew) face every day.
Keeping in line with the format, Mango Island, which houses the set, is fairly isolated.. the nearest civilisation is an hour-and-a-half away.
Middle of nowhere
From the resort in Colva, South Goa, it took two hours to get to a ferry point near the Goa-Karnataka border at Koti Baug, Karwar. Then, four boats took the 40-odd journalists in two hours to the island, in rising temperatures and almost no breeze.
Even as network executives and journalists debated the 'reality' aspect of reality shows, a cameraperson fainted due to dehydration, thereby proving the executives' point.
Soon after, two boats almost collided with each other. Yet, the contingent had braved smiles on their sun-burnt faces when they arrived at 'the biggest set ever created in Indian TV history.'
Nikhil Alva, the CEO of Miditech and Real, at his informal best, took everyone around for a tour.. and retained his humour through a barrage of questions, some as inane as, "What is the show all about?"
Alva is apparently so attached to his 'baby', he puts up at Karwar almost four days a week to overlook proceedings. Evidently, everyone working on Sarkar ki Duniya feels the same way. Otherwise, the 250-odd crew wouldn't have stayed away from family for almost six months.
Alva now plans to tie-up with film schools for set-tours and perhaps take the show global next year, adding to the Rs 1 crore incentive.
As far as incentives go, a voluptuous one for the men was Kamini (Priyanka Kapoor), the only link between the contestants and the outside world. She was most in demand, until Sarkar, Ashutosh Rana, arrived. Rana, in character, had a session with the journalists, correctly recalling where he had last spoken to some of them - be it over the phone a month before or in a restaurant in Pune six years ago!
He remained true to his role of the autocratic ruler of the island: keeping an eye on everyone and informing them that he knew exactly what they had been doing. 'Sarkar' had planned tasks for the journalists but couldn't carry them out since "everyone went to sleep."
Once he got out of character, Rana awed the journalists with his impromptu pearls of wisdoms and his sharp wit.
Eventually, a tug-of-war was carried out between the TV and print journalists. And as Rana had said in his speech,
drama is created when you put several people in a challenging situation - a clash of egos broke out.. and was quickly resolved when the drinks came out.
Followed a grand dinner, dance and music with Rana, Alva, the crew and Kamini shaking a leg with the scribes.. it made for a warm finale to the scorching trip (pun intended).
The journos made their way back on a raft across the river, applauding the Sarkar ki Duniya team for having offered a first-hand experience of 'India's biggest adventure reality show.'