With Silvassa, the Indian leg of the Roadies journey had come to an end and it was now finally time for Hell Down Under! I remember sitting in the MTV office two months before the shoot, brainstorming with the creative team on the different things that we MUST do in Australia.
Somehow, most of those “must-dos” involved wild animals! Topping the list was the crocodile. There is a saying that “you don’t bite the hand that feeds you”. Somebody please explain that to the croc! What happened was that midway through our crocodile task, the croc handler actually got bitten by one. This was just one of the many encounters we had with the wild animals we were oh-so-keen to shoot with.
There was this one time when we were shooting the roadies riding their Karizmas. One camera team had whizzed ahead to set up a shot from a height. The cameraman found an overbridge from where to take a shot of the approaching roadies. Just when it was time to get the perfect shot, I heard a shriek like that of a scared little girl, and there came my fully grown cameraman sprinting down the overbridge.
Once I calmed him down, he explained how just as he was setting up the shot, he felt a reassuring pat on his shoulder. Thinking it was me, he turned around smiling, only to find himself facing the biggest python he had ever seen!
As we were facing the critters of Oz, the Aussies were encountering a new breed of wild creatures themselves. It was a moonless night in the wilderness known as the outback. The Australian safety crew had warned us about wild animals in the area. What they had not been prepared for were the wildcats known as roadies! The outback saw one of the biggest catfights in roadies history. That day, the Australians added two names to their list of deadly animals and suggested caging the two roadies as a safety precaution.
Let me end with one of our big regrets — a task we were very keen on doing but couldn’t. While researching Australia, I had come upon a very interesting sport called kangaroo boxing. Picture a kangaroo with boxing gloves on one side and a roadie on the other. The task, though, would not have been a boxing match, since obviously we would not allow the roadie to hit the kangaroo. Since we had no such qualms about the kangaroo hitting the roadie, the plan was to tie an immunity pendant around the kangaroo’s neck or waist and have the roadie attempt to take it. But laws are laws, and this sport had turned illegal, so this was one task we had to skip. The good news is that the Australian trip was full of so many more exciting tasks that it made up for the absence of this one. The better news is that the roadies wowed us on more than one occasion.
As creators of the show, all we can do is come up with tasks and situations that challenge and give rise to drama. How the roadies react to these challenges is entirely up to them. And on Hell Down Under, they didn’t disappoint.