Brothers grim

Brothers grim

First there was Raghu. Bald,bespectacled,bearded with half a French beard. He was,and still is,rude to the point of being downright crude...

They bully and they berate; then why are Raghu and Rajiv of MTV Roadies so popular?

First there was Raghu. Bald,bespectacled,bearded with half a French beard. He was,and still is,rude to the point of being downright crude,aggressive to the point of wearing boxing gloves on his lips and mean-spirited to the point of driving everyone over the edge. He was,and still is,the star attraction of MTV Roadies,now in its sixth year.

As if he was not bad enough,he’s been joined by twin terror,Rajiv. All those who regularly watch the reality show,will know that Rajiv,the look-alike,is equally obnoxious. Indeed,the two specialise in using words that have to be deleted — beep-beep — in order to make themselves even more appealing.

This is the wonder of MTV Roadies. Watching the auditions for the show that will see 20 contestants in hell Down Under (aka,Australia),you wonder what it is about this trial by terror tactics that today’s youngsters find so appealing. MTV Roadies is the most popular show amongst young viewers and is a constant topic of conversation amongst them. “The fact that they’re so aggressive is what’s so engaging,” says fan Sanjana Gupta,“Besides,sometimes they do have a point when they yell at the participants. Like when they yelled at a boy because he called his girlfriend a slut for wanting to live-in before marriage,I thought it was totally justified.”


That Raghu and Rajiv have been a hit with viewers is vouchsafed by the MTV Roadies 6 Raghu & Rajiv Wallpaper which captures the two in an iconic larger-than-life pose. Underneath are responses such as:

‘It’s weird but I always found Raghu very attractive. Yes,in spite of his venomous comments. Felt the contestants deserved it. Now it’s a treat to watch Rajiv as well because he is just as good and equally handsome’— Amrita Sengupta ‘It’s a double treat to watch them wreck havoc’—Natalie Mcneil.

For anyone who is over 18,the popularity of these two sadists (there,we said it) is perplexing. Apart from the routine use of four-letter words,the two bark,berate the youngsters reducing many to tears. The fact that this is the USP of the show says something about the kind of programmes young people like to watch.

MTV Roadies sets out to see how much abuse a youngster can take on the premise that if he can take what these two dole out,he or she is fit to be a Roadie. But strength of character is close to self-flagellation: here humiliation sells and the more a contestant is humiliated the meaner Raghu and Rajiv are,and the more the show is enjoyed. The point of the show is not to be mean to contestants,as pointed out by Ashish Patil,GM MTV . “The interrogation method is just one way to see how fit a person is to go on this journey. We’re landing the first punch to see how you’ll react. When Raghu and Rajiv interrogate them,their true character comes out. And that is what we want. This is not a show for people who fake their personalities,” he explains,adding the twins are not systematically aggressive with every contestant. “There have been some laugh-out-loud episodes as well,” he says.

Roadies didn’t used to be like this. It had a competitive edge to it that was exciting as the contestants strained to survive the competition and each other. Now,the show it now most closely resembles is Bindaas’ Dadagiri where the male contestants are nearly whipped into shape by a scantily dressed mistress. And that’s not good.

(With inputs from Pooja Pillai)