Himalaya Roadies is……. wait, you know what, forget it. The show doesn’t need any introduction anymore.
We’ve got Aman Pratap Adhikary, the executive producer and director of the Himalaya TV’s popular reality show, to talk more about the show and its future.
The youngest son of popular poet and writer Late Kshetra Pratap Adhikary, Aman Pratap Adhikary started his TV journey in 1998 with a sports show called ‘Khel Khel’ on NTV. He then became a part of Kantipur TV where he started ‘Scoreboard’, a show that was later run by Sudin Pokharel ‘DA69’. He took a break from TV for a couple of years and went to the UK where he pursued education in media and film-making. After his return to Nepal, he joined TTV and directed a popular music show ‘Kripa Unplugged’. Currently with Himalaya TV, apart from Himalaya Roadies, he also runs another show ‘Name of the Game Football’.
Produced on the budget of NPR 6.2 crore, Himalaya Roadies had a crew of 121 members during the production, plus two dozen more members working on the post production. Adhikary talks about the experience, what the future holds for the show, shooting with Rannvijay Singh Singha, and a lot of other stuff. Excerpts.
Himalaya Roadies is currently one of the most popular Nepali TV shows. How do you feel about it?
Phew! Huge relief. Appreciation from audiences home and abroad is encouraging me to make more international quality TV programs in Nepal.
Earlier this year in January when the show was announced, what was going on in your mind? What were your expectations back then?
This scale of production was never done before in Nepal, so I felt very much challenged by this promising project. I had the confidence in myself but it’s a Team Game. So I was worried whether or not I will be able to find the quality team I was looking for. But luckily I did. Honestly, it might sound cliché but I go through what Krishna told Arjuna in Mahabharata “Do your duty without thinking about the outcome.” Expectations and doubts were there among many media personalities on whether or not I will be able to pull it off. I believe I have managed to silence the doubters.
How has been this entire Himalaya Roadies journey been like?
Very eventful, very challenging.
What has been the most challenging part of this entire journey?
To manage around 121 crew members on daily basis for 3 months, move from one location to another in every 3 or 4 days, work continuously for straight 12 to 14 hours — to sum it up, the whole production part was the most challenging period.
Himalaya Roadies is a completely different project than your previous shows in the past, and probably the most challenging one as well; how confident you were about doing it when you were first approached to direct the show?
I had full confidence in my ability. Few days in Mumbai with ‘Viacom 18’ team built up my knowhow. I was worried whether or not I will be provided with enough funds to manage the entire project, luckily I was, and the result is right in front of us.
Tell us the story behind how the franchise came to Nepal.
The reason I joined Himalaya TV was because its Executive Director Mr. Chang Agarwal promised me to provide a challenge Nepal had not seen before. He held talks with the franchise owner “Viacom 18”. Mr. Chang had full confidence in my ability. My Mumbai visit and meetings with MTV Roadies directors gave us enough encouragement and knowhow to produce Himalaya Roadies by ourselves.
Which is your favorite task, not based on how the contestants performed it but the one that made you think, “This was very creative. I am proud of my team.” Or is your favorite task yet to be aired?
While coming back from Jomsom to Pokhara I felt we needed a task that will set an example on just how difficult it is to grab the title of first ever Himalaya Roadies. Then, I and my team came up with the idea of the ‘Eating Task’. Raw meat, live earthworms and snails — I know it was gruesome and I believe that from then onwards our audience took the program seriously and so did the contestants.
Pictured below: The ‘food’ from the task.
Talking about the tasks, what is the ratio of the total tasks that were inspired from the tasks performed in MTV Roadies to the tasks that your team originally came up with?
Viacom 18 wanted us to take a look at seasons 6, 7 and 8 of MTV Roadies. Many of the tasks do look similar. We had to make our audience believe that it is a franchise program. But while doing so, we have put Nepali flavor in each and every task.
You shot an episode with Rannvijay Singh Singha as well. How was it like to direct him? How did it go?
Rannvijay is a true professional and a born Roadie. I was a bit skeptical in the beginning. But as soon as we met, we all felt at ease. He was such a gentleman. He never questioned my authority. He was very supportive and you will all see it when the episode goes on air.
Pictured below: The first ever winner and now the judge of MTV Roadies, Rannvijay Singh Singha, on the sets of Himalaya Roadies.
Were you fond of MTV Roadies before Himalaya Roadies came into scene? Did you follow the show?
I did. It was such a big thing during our youth. Rannvijay, Raghu Ram and Rajiv were a huge inspiration to so many youngsters like me.
It’s quite obvious to be diplomatic while answering this, but I would actually love to know who your favorite contestant out of all the seventeen selected Roadies has been.
(laughs) I guess it’s better if I answer it after the finale. I believe there is a true Roadie attitude in two of them.
While the show is being loved by many, there have been some criticisms as well. More particularly about judges ‘being rude’ to the contestants. What’s your take on it?
I am very glad that audience find them rude. We put them there to be rude. In Roadies, we don’t put contestants in a goody goody situation. True Roadie is the one who faces all these unsurfaced challenges and overcomes them.
Pictured Below: The three judges – Raymon Das Shrestha, Deeya Maskey and Laure (L to R)
With the kind of response the show has been receiving, it’s quite obvious that there will be a second season as well. Can we have an official confirmation of the same yet?
There will be second season for sure. I need to do some homework on new routes and tasks. We will make an official announcement after the finale.
‘Himalaya Roadies’ is currently being aired. You are also running a show called ‘Name of the Game Football’ on Himalaya TV. Is there anything else that you have been engaged on at the moment, or anything you’ve been planning for near future?
Kripa Unplugged season 3 is in my thoughts. A new adventure show and JZ’s V-BLOG are also coming soon.
Do you have a dream project for future? What is it like?
Keep on making international standard programs, that’s been my dream since I joined NTV back in 1998. The dream has now become a reality and now the dream continues.
Do you think you’ll ever direct a feature film as well? Do you have any plans for it?
Oh wow! Yes, I do have. I need to research and prepare properly on a particular subject that I want to make a movie on.
We’ve seen the contestants do quite a lot of crazy stuff already, what can we expect from the episodes to come?
Craziness continues; and the finale is going to be awesome.
Pictured Below: Adhikary on the sets of Himalaya Roadies
At last, for the readers who have not watched the show yet, tell them why they should.
We’ve gone International; we’ve proved that Nepal is capable of making a premium standard TV program. Be proud and enjoy.
Thank you for your time. We wish you all the best for your future projects.