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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

Raghu and Rajiv call Skulls & Roses a mash-up of adventure and romance, say ‘It’s a social experiment’

Raghu and Rajiv, known for their popular reality show Roadies, are back to test a new set of participants in the field of romance and adventure.

tv Updated: Aug 30, 2019 17:52 IST
Ruchi Kaushal
Ruchi Kaushal
Hindustan Times
Raghu and Rajiv’s new reality show Skulls & Roses is now available on Amazon Prime.
Raghu and Rajiv’s new reality show Skulls & Roses is now available on Amazon Prime.

Raghu Ram and Rajiv Lakshman, the dreaded judges of Roadies, are back with a new reality show that tests participants on the touchstones of love and adventure. Titled Skulls & Roses, the show is a hybrid of adventure and romance reality shows that encourages participants to fall in love but also makes them participate in the race for survival. In an interview to Hindustan Times, the two opened up about their new concept and why it’s going to be one crazy ride. Excerpts:

What is the concept of the show Skulls and Roses?

Raghu: The name is indicative of what the concept is. Skulls are a symbol of danger and roses are associated with romance. This symbolises the concept of ‘We vs me’ where it’s skull vs rose and Rajiv vs Raghu. Rajiv represents Rose island and I represent Skull island. This is love vs romance. What would you chose when you prosper in the game through love but you have to survive on your own.

How is it different from another reality show, Splitsvilla?

Raghu: Splitsvilla is a romance reality show like Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire, Love Island and The Bachelorette. Shows like Roadies and Fear Factor are adventure reality shows. What we have done for the first time in the history of reality television is that we have combined the two concepts. This is an action-packed adventure reality show. Its a mash-up of two genres -- action and romance.

How have the participants been selected for the show?

Rajiv: Casting has been a forte with me and Raghu. We have a very specialised and in-depth process of evaluating contestants. There is a lot of qualitative and quantitative quantities that we see. In this show, it was quite challenging to cast because the contestants had to be at home in both the scenarios. They had to be tough, daring as well as good looking, charming and sexy. They had to be diplomatic or if you are confrontational, you have to stand up for themselves. This was extremely specialised. You cannot imagine a Roadies cast travelling to Splitsvilla.

Was the selection through public auditions?

Raghu: The audition process was much more internal. We hired a person who specialises in casting and had a huge data bank. We went through the social media. We gave out a call for entry and people applied but we did not have a Roadies style lineup and open audition. We shortlisted people, met them, had multiple rounds of interviews and videos that they submitted. There was a very extensive background check that we did on each contestant along with a psychological evaluation and a full body medical test.

Rose Island is in the Andamans, where is the Skull island?

Raghu: Whoever comes to Skull island is in danger of mental stress, physical pain and elimination. We created two islands in South Africa. Atleast the Skull island was entirely created by us. For Rose island, we were fortunate enough to find castles on beaches.

Are love stories shown on reality shows real?

Raghu: They are real in our reality show. People actually fell in love, there was a genuine love triangle. I cannot comment on other reality shows. If you look at statistics, a lot of connections, flirting and relationships happen in offices. If you put young attractive people in high pressure environments, it is a recipe for chemistry and we do that really well. Rose island has been tailor made to promote feelings of love and chemistry. Rajiv is really encouraging and allows those feelings to surface; which then gets punished on Skull island.

Your show has the concept of We and Me? In personal life, what is more important for survival?

Rajiv: There is no generic answer for this. It depends on who the person is. Sometimes its better to survive on your own and sometimes you need to have a trustworthy person who you can count on. It depends on a situation. This is a social experiment to derive that particular set of people. Anyone who watches it will put themselves in those situations and decide for themselves how they would like to play this game all their life.

Also read: Nach Baliye 9: Anuj Sachdeva stands by Urvashi Dholakia, says ‘judges forgot to comment on our act’

Actor Urvashi Dholakia, who recently got evicted from dance reality show Nach Baliye, claimed that some reality shows are fictional as drama is given more priority than talent. Your comments.

Raghu: This might be true for the show she participated in. If you look at general entertainment channels, the focus is on emotions than talent. That’s why they cast actors and professionals. We chose real people and never pay them. Our focus is on real emotions rather than created drama. I give her the benefit of doubt. This must be true to her experience.

Any web series you loved watching?

Raghu: I am a big fan of Grand Tour on Amazon Prime. I am a fan of Geremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May even when it was on BBC.

Rajiv: There is another show You vs. Wild on Netflix. That’s also nice.

Follow @htshowbiz for more

First Published: Aug 30, 2019 17:51 IST

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