Coming tonight: ‘Calm, cheerful’ PM Modi’s tryst with Bear Grylls on Man vs Wild
At 9 pm tonight, world will see the adventurous side of Prime Minister Narendra Modi when Discovery channel airs its popular ‘Man vs Wild’ show with survivalist and adventurer Bear Grylls, who said the PM was an example of ‘calm and cheerfulness’ as they tested their survival skills in the untamed wilderness of the Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand.
Last month, Grylls had shared a 45-second promo of the special episode on Twitter, which broke the internet, as people got to see a completely contrasting side to the Prime Minister. It showed Modi, 68, driving into the Park with images of a tiger, a herd of elephants and deer running in the distance. Other visual showed him with a makeshift spear and on a put-together raft crossing a river in pouring rain.
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On how the PM fared on the show, Grylls told news agency ANI. “The Prime Minister, as a world leader, is calm in a crisis, as he braved all odds, including inclement weather.”
“We got hit by some really big stones and torrential rain whilst we were there. Our team, who was filming, was really on the edge, but the Prime Minister was just very calm and I saw that throughout our journey. Whatever we were doing, he was very calm. That was cool to see. You never really know what someone is like until there’s a crisis. It was good to be reminded that as a world leader, Prime Minister Modi is calm in a crisis,” he said.
What stood out the most about Modi throughout the journey, Grylls said, was the global leader’s humility, as even through incessant rains, there was a “big smile” on his face.
“What shone bright for me was his humility. He was a very humble guy and even though there was pouring rain and his secret services were trying to get out umbrellas, he said ‘no I’m fine’ and then we reached a river. I made this raft out of reeds and a tarpaulin. I said I think we can get across the river using this, but the secret services were like ‘we cannot put the Prime Minister in a little homemade raft’. But he (Modi) said he was fine and we’d do this together. He asked me to get in too, but the things started sinking. So it was me swimming and pushing him, he was soaking wet but there was a big smile on his face even through the rain. You learn about people in those moments,” said a visibly-elated Grylls.
“You are the most important man in India. My job is to protect you,” he said in the video, covering the Prime Minister’s shoulder with a jacket.
Responding to Grylls, when he points out evident dangers lurking in their vicinity, PM Modi says, “We should not take this place as a danger zone. When we go against nature then everything becomes dangerous; human beings too become dangerous. On the other hand, if we co-operate with nature, then she also co-operates with us.”
Grylls gives PM Modi an improvised version of a spear as a safeguard against potential attack from a tiger. To which, PM Modi replies, “My upbringing does not allow me to take a life. However, I will hold on it (the spear) since you insist!”
Speaking about the show, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “For years, I have lived among nature, in the mountains and the forests. These years have a lasting impact on my life. So when I was asked about a special programme focussing on life beyond politics and that too in the midst of nature I was both intrigued and inclined to take part in it.”
The popular show, which is in its eighth season, features Grylls tackling extreme challenges and navigating through remote locations around the world, sharing invaluable survival strategies along the way.
Among the celebrities that have featured on the show are actresses Kate Winslet and Julia Roberts, tennis player Roger Federer, basketball star Michael B Jordan and President Obama.