For you. My TED talk

Posted: May 18, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Enjoy.

My filmfare acceptance speech

Posted: January 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

I’m turning 38. I’m married to a loving wife. I have a beautiful son. I’m working hard. I’m considered a success. I head a company. I go to events as a ‘Celebrity’, and get paid to speak my mind and click pictures with fans. Life is good. But the reason I’ve found this success is the reason I’m not happy with this success.

I’m ambitious. I’m restless. I’m a day-dreamer. I’m a guy in love with himself. I’m a guy with delusions of grandeur.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about you. Waitaminnit… This is MY blog. Let’s have more about me. If that bothers you, leave.

Still here?

Let’s talk.

I’ve just returned from Ayushman’s Party. It was his wife’s birthday, and he won the Filmfare award for best playback singer and best debut. I’m thrilled, and for the first time, held the black lady in my hand. She’s curvaceous and heavy. And I promise you something… You cannot hold that award in your hand without thinking of an acceptance speech.

So here I am. Up on the stage. holding a filmfare award. reveling in the harsh spotlight. I’m the man of the moment. The film industry has recognized my efforts. The whole country is watching my moment. And it’s time for my speech.

People are too busy in their lives to hear me out. Everyone is struggling as I am. Everyone needs to thank special people for every success they earn. So I won’t make a boring speech when I win my 1st Filmfare award. I’ll be polite and succinct. But today, on my blog, Allow me to make my speech.

“Esteemed colleagues and my extended family of India. I did it! Thank you for recognizing my success. I stand before you as the epitome of dream-come-true. An academic double-failure… a multiple failure in life… standing here as a success! Today I’m a success… but I know I’ll fail tomorrow again. It’s OK… ‘coz that failure will create another success. and today… in my moment of triumph… I’d like to acknowledge some people who knew me as a failure and still had faith in me.

Thank you D.T.E.A sr. sec. school. Thank you Mungeri Lal (my principal… I don’t know his real name). Thank you Saroj Gupta ma’am, Raji teacher, Kalpana Joseph Ma’am, Maithili teacher.  You were right. I was good for nothing. My attendance was abysmal. My grades… Pathetic. But you somehow cared for me. You fought through your disappointment in me to encourage me. Thank you.

Thank you Mom & Dad. I could never make you proud. On the contrary, you had to deal with a judgmental world that blamed you for my failures. But you protected me. and gave me the tools to fight this world. Here I am… Basking in adulation… But it’s really you, laughing at the world. I’m touching your feet right now. Hope I’ve given you a proud moment.

Raghu… I won’t even mention you today. ‘Coz if I do, I’ll disrespect what we’ve been through together.

Susan. My wife. My loving wife. My beautiful wife. You fell in love with me when I was 18. when I was an utter failure. (a good-looking utter failure). you were so bright… so intelligent… so beautiful even then… I struggle to understand why you stuck with me. For 9 years when I was working my ass off in different cities. Then as my wife when I couldn’t even afford our house rent of 6 Thousand Rupees. I caught you crying at night coz it was too hot in Delhi, & i couldn’t afford an AC or a cooler. You have seen me fail. and you’ve loved me. Thank you.

And lastly… Noah! My son. Tyson!

You’ve never seen me fail. You’ve been protected from my struggles. I’m the strongest man in your world. But Noah, as you grow up, you’ll realize something… I will fail. Again and again. please don’t think less of me. As much as I want you to think of me as this ultra-successful Alpha-male… I want you to see me also as a man who gets knocked down often. Watch carefully as I get up again to fight. That’s my success. That’s your daddy!

Thank you all for the award!”

Obviously, I haven’t done anything yet to deserve that award and the adulation. But I’m confident. I’ll get there. I hope. I pray. I’m sure. And when I do, This is what I want to say… regardless of what I end up saying.

I want you… my readers… to write your own personal acceptance speech. It’s crazy fun… and it’ll become an affirmation. Share if you feel like it.

Trap & Skeet shooting is tough.
For one, the shotgun is very heavy, making it hard to train on a target. On top of that, there is no visible target to shoot at when you take the stance. When you think you’re ready, you shout the word “PULL”… and then it happens. Sensitive mics near your feet carry the sound of that word into a distant computer, and a ‘Clay bird’ shoots across the sky. A Clay-bird is a bright orange colored disc that whizzes past you at a speed that makes it seem barely more perceptible than a blur; specially when seen through the sights of a heavy shotgun. The aim is clear enough. follow the clay-bird in your sights and shoot it mid-air.
Easier said than done, though.

Recently, I had the opportunity to try my hand at Trap and Skeet shooting. I was on a family vacation, and a guest of the Indian Army. For security reasons, I’ll not disclose the location of this shooting range. But I gotto tell you this… IT IS TOUGH. Well, after the demo, we were asked to try. Many people tried before me, with predictably disasterous results. it apparantly takes years of training to be able to shoot with such precision. By then the usual “hey, Roadies! why don’t you have a go? you scared?” stuff had started. With a sigh, I got up, walked to the spot, took aim, shouted “PULL”, and shot the clay bird into smithereens. There was a moment of stunned silence, and then came the applause. I stoically handed over the shotgun and walked off.

I’m writing about this incident because surprisingly, it’s not uncommon in my life. a couple of years ago, I was spending new year’s eve with Rannvijay and his family in Jalandhar. He has a basketball court at his place. Not surprising, as Rannvijay is a basketball champion. infact, his whole family is into the sport (his dad won a basketball tournament when we were there, and his mom was a champ in college). Now, Rannvijay has been trying to get me to play sports for a while now. It gets irritating for him when I sit reading a book whenever he’s playing. And the way he does it, of course is through ‘negative motivation’, taunting me into action. So one night, after much ribbing, I finally got up. Rannvijay & his family are very good at basketball, and I knew I had to do something spectacular to impress them. So I went to the end of the half-court, looked at the hoop… And turned around. After a couple of jokes like “Hey Rajiv! The hoop’s behind you”, they realised what I was trying. An expectant hush fell upon us. After a moments’ pause, I flung the basketball over my head. I didn’t even look back. The faint ‘swoosh’ sound and the expressions on people’s faces told me all.
We now call this the ‘Rajiv shot’, and Rannvijay’s parents practice it regularly.

There have been many other such instances where I’ve surprised even myself, and today I want to share my secret. Whenever we face high stakes situations, our subconscious mind starts believing what it hears… That it can’t be done. I’ve learnt to identify this inner voice, and to overpower it by consciously believing that it can be done. Thinking that it can be done is different from Believing that it can be done. This will take a lot of positive thought and constant practice. Even then, it’s not an exact science. sometimes I succeed, other times I don’t. But the trick is to keep trying. At times when it’s extremely difficult, I’ll start bragging aloud about my abilities. I might sound cocky & obnoxious, but I’m psyching my mind into believing in myself. There’s no space for self doubt. When I succeed in achieving that self belief, my frame-of-mind is like that of a fighters’ as described by Bruce Lee – “Not tense, but ready“. Ready to surprise oneself. Ready for victory. I use this technique while shooting and editing my shows as well. It takes away the negative energy of tension by boosting my confidence. And now that I’ve embarked on a new career as a film-maker, I intend to harness the power of self-belief.
So here I am, bragging:

I, Rajiv Lakshman, am a great and successful film-maker. My films entertain and inspire viewers and benefit everyone who I hold dear.

Posted: January 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

I know… I know. Your life is tough. You’re either too skinny, or too fat. You never have enough money. Your friends take you for granted. Your parents don’t understand you. You wish you were better looking. You’re not sure whether you’ll be successful. You really want to be famous… But you’re not getting the chance to be.

As part of the Roadies casting panel, I meet many young people across the country every year. And it surprises me how tough you think your lives are. It’s unbelievable how many girls think that they’re ugly and fat. How many boys think that they’re useless because they don’t have six-packs. 90 percent of the time, people feel entitled to be cast in Roadies because they’ve had a tough life. About 60 seconds into every personal interview, when we ask people to tell us something about themselves, We’re treated to a sob story about how tough life has been. I’m not kidding. At the Roadies 9 auditions, We actually ran out of tissues to give people who were crying. It reached a point where I would just roll my eyes in exasperation and switch my mind off till people finished their sob story so that we could begin to have a normal conversation.

I have a hypothetical situation for you. What if I was god, and appeared before you with a proposition – I will grant you every wish of yours, and in return ask for something from you.
Would you agree? Although it’s a hypothetical question, I want you to really feel this situation. Every wish granted, in return for just 1 thing that I ask for in return. For those of you who said ‘Yes’, let’s move on. Make your wishes.
Looks? GRANTED! Riches? GRANTED! Success? GRANTED! Fame? GRANTED!!!
You’ll be rich, travel the whole world and always have people hounding you for autographs. Happy? Good.

My turn.

Give me both your arms and both your legs.

What happened? You’ll still have your money and fame. You’ll just have to live through life without limbs. Aaah! Now the deal doesn’t sound so good. Does it? Who wants to live life where you can’t even scratch an itch on your nose? where you can’t dress yourself. people taunting you. No love life. No girlfriend or boyfriend. Is a life like that worth living? can it even be lived?

Meet this guy.

His name is Nick Vujicic. He’s 29 years old, rich, travels the world, and inspires people through motivational speeches where his audience are always moved to tears. He has changed innumerable lives and his website is full of testimonials of people who have found purpose in life because of him. Wow! I’d love to live his life. There’s just 1 catch. This is his life:

Nick was born without arms or legs to a poor Australian couple. When he was born, his father fainted his mom couldn’t even look at him or feed him for 4 months. He grew up wondering why he doesn’t have what everyone else has. He became so dejected with all the taunts he faced that he tried to drown himself at age 8. Even for that, he had to ask his parents to put him in the bathtub. He was scared of what would happen to him if his parents left him or died. What kind of Husband can he be if he can’t even hold his wife’s hand? How will he go through life when his parents are themselves struggling to make ends meet?

He is now the author of a bestselling book called “Life without limits”. He is proud to be able to brush his teeth himself, comb his hair, swim, surf, and golf.
He says, “The challenges in our lives are there to STRENGTHEN our CONVICTIONS. They are NOT there to run us over.”

For those of you who like reading, Read “Life without Limits”. For others, you can google him or watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gc4HGQHgeFE

I have a feeling that if he ever auditioned for Roadies, he wouldn’t be crying about how tough life is.

Aside  —  Posted: December 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

JAVED SAAB! WHY THIS KOLAVARI DI?

Posted: December 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

I do not promote my blog. It’s primarily for me, and the very few who genuinely care to find me. This is because I don’t want to deal with haters and trolls who have a single-minded purpose of distorting what is said and polluting the environment with their prejudices and ignorance. But as all bloggers would agree, the point of putting your thoughts on the net is for an audience. And I too fantasize that one day, my posts will be read by many people, who might get intrigued by my thoughts. And that’s the problem with blogging about current events. by the time this post is read, the issue would have been long gone; or new developments to the issue might render the post irrelevant.

But sometimes, a facet of a current issue raises interesting thoughts that might endure beyond the life-span of the topic. And that is what my blog is about. Interesting thoughts, and maybe a comment on the times we live in.

So today I read something about the current rage, “Why this Kolaveri Di?” that suddenly piqued my interest. Javed Akhtar saab criticized the song, composed by 21 year old Anirudh, which loosely translates to “why this murderous rage?”

I quote Javed Saab:

“Kolaveri Di – everyone is praising the robes but the emperor is naked. Tune ordinary, Singing substandard, words an insult to sensibility… Some get over-awed, but to me it is only the quality that matters”.

While I deeply respect Javed Saab, I would like to point out certain things to him. The rest of this post is my imaginary monologue with Mr. Javed Akhtar:

Javed Saab! Asalaam Walekum.

It’s truly a tremendous achievement for a song with an ordinary tune, sub-standard singing, and uncool words to capture an entire nations’ fancy, bridge the geographic and cultural divide between North & South India, and win praise from all quarters. I’m certain that this song is just a passing rage and will not endure the test of time, but it has done what ‘great songs’ haven’t – become India’s biggest viral hit. As a super achiever who has had his own struggle, you’ve got to respect what this 21 year old Anirudh has achieved.

Not everyone can spout Urdu, which is good for you, as it sets you apart as an artist of caliber. But everyone has a right to creative expression. and the sole purpose of commercial art is to appeal to the consumer.

Success is success. Nobody can argue with it. The people who’ve made it a success in North India are the same people who have made you so successful. Should we call them over-awed people with bad taste?

When a creative expression, be it painting, book, blog or song becomes so popular that it reaches out to people other than its’ intended audience, it changes the context. Please keep in mind that this song is south Indian, where English is spoken in the manner depicted in the song. I bet the intended audience of this song wouldn’t feel that the words insult sensibilities.

And lastly, it’s a quirky, fun song that people are liking. So Javed Saab, Why this Kolavari Di?

TWINS

Posted: December 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

ImageThroughout my life, I’ve faced a particularly annoying set of questions.

Hey! You guys are twins. If we hit one of you, will the other feel the pain?
Don’t your girlfriends get confused?
Do your parents ever mistake one for the other?

I could go on… but you can already see the general trend.

Any set of identical twins reading this will know… life is full of these pointless questions. I can understand the fascination with twins. 2 people… looking alike. talking alike. It’s freaky.  I guess the question people really want to ask is, “how does it feel to be twins?”
Well, this question cannot be answered. It’s like a man asking a woman how it feels to be pregnant. Science will tell you about the changes that happen in a woman’s body when she’s carrying a baby. Ultrasound can even make you see what’s happening in her womb. But a man can never, ever understand how it feels to carry a life within you. In the same way, anybody who doesn’t have a twin can never understand how it feels… like I can never know how life would be without a twin brother.
But I’ll tell you one thing… It’s special. All my life, I’ve had this one guy who is the closest to what I am. He’s been with me the 1st time I’ve scored a goal in soccer. He’s been with me when I lost my first tooth. He has seen me suffer in bad relationships. He has been with me in my darkest hour. We’ve been through so much together, that we don’t even need to explain to each other how we feel. One look, and we know. 

Scientists have found twins to be invaluable test subjects in their experiments in ESP (Extra Sensory Perception). That’s because such deep genetic bond and shared experiences give twins a connection that borders on psychic. I’ll share a couple of incidents.
I was around 6 or 7 years old when I first remember feeling it. A neighborhood aunty had taken me to a Gurdwaara with her. she had gone in and I was sitting outside as i didn’t have anything to cover my head with. It was quite late… later than our curfew time, which was 7pm. My parents worried a lot about us coz we used to get lost very often.
I was sitting patiently for that lady to come out, when suddenly, I got slapped so hard that I fell to the ground. Startled, I looked around… NO ONE! I was absolutely alone. I freaked out so much that I just got up and started running. I ran straight home, and saw Raghu with a red cheek from where dad had hit him out of worry for me.

There was this other time when both of us were in 11th Standard. Raghu was down with Jaundice, so he was on bed-rest. every day, my temperature would shoot up every 30 mins. it would subside in about 15 minutes, then shoot up again. On the 3rd day, my teacher sent me home as well. That’s when we found out. My temperature would shoot up every time Raghu’s would. The doc checked me for jaundice and gave me a clean chit of health. But for 3 weeks, my temperature would fluctuate exactly with Raghu. How’s that for freaky?

So the next time you meet a set of twins and launch into your annoying, predictable questions… don’t. You can never know how special twins are.

MY BOOTS ARE GROWING ROOTS

Posted: November 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

Hi Readers. It’s been a while since I last spoke to you guys. I was completely buried with the Roadies 9 auditions and shooting for Masterchef India 2… another show that I make. But  I really missed writing this post, since this is where I introspect and share my thoughts candidly with you guys.
For more than a year, I’ve been grappling with a feeling of stagnation in my life. It’s been over 16 years since I’ve started working, and it’s been such an intense career, that I’ve never had the opportunity to take stock of my life. I’ve changed many jobs, worked in many organizations and media. I’ve done TV, Radio, Internet, and ad films. I’ve opened a company, pulled out of it… built another company… directed music videos, award winning events, and acted in a Bollywood film. Whew! lots of stuff. But I’ve never had a plan behind any of my moves. I just moved on to do something different. But ever since the success of Roadies, I find myself getting busier and busier, doing projects because they’re good for my company, or because it’s what the channels want. I’ve had little time to think about what I want to do.
As a creative person, I find routine suffocating. I need to know that what I’m doing this year is different from what I did last year, and will be different from next year. But sometimes in life, you get so busy doing, that you lose track of your life. I’ve essentially done the same thing for the past 7-8 years. and if nothing changes, I’ll do the same thing for the next 5 years. In other words, My boots are growing roots. No movement. spend your life at the same spot. and why? “because you’re good at this”.
I was suffering from an unusual problem – I had achieved all my goals. Job security, career stability, a healthy bank balance. a good school for my son, cars… success. On top of that, there’s been a measure of fame that was never a part of the mix. so I can’t complain. It felt good for a while, and then it started to feel empty. I can’t explain it. Here I am… college failure. Drop-out. No qualifications. Family man. finally able to provide a comfortable life for my family… and not satisfied. An emptiness that I cannot understand because I’m too busy to understand the problem: There’s no adventure in life anymore… and I don’t have a dream.
Enter – Raghu & Rannvijay. on the night before Roadies day 2 of the Chandigarh auditions, They sat me down and made me confront my problem. What is my dream? what is our dream? I knew the answer. I want to make movies. I’m a storyteller bursting with stories to tell. So far, so good. Now the bad news. I gotto quit my job. shut down my career. throw everything away… and start afresh. I gotto move out of my comfort zone of “doing what i’m good at” and start a new struggle. In an unknown and deadly battleground called Bollywood. But guess what? instead of scaring me, the prospect thrilled me. I quit my job the next day. I’m now finishing off my commitments that’ll last till the end of the year. and then, I’m free. Free to chase a new dream. Something I haven’t done in many years. I might be a raging success again… or I can be a resounding failure… again.

Either way, it’s an adventure.

and that’s what life is about.

Man!!! This Lokpal issue will drive me nuts! It started out as a simple enough stand against corruption by one man. OK… so far so good. I can deal with that, I can understand it. and I’m clear about my support to the cause. And then came the views and the counter-views. a drizzle at first… like refreshing drops of a rain that’s still making up it’s mind on the prospect of falling. But soon, inevitably, more and more information poured from the high heavens about every god-damn aspect of the issue. The drizzle became a deluge. before I knew it, I was drowning in factoids.
Scott Adams – creator of Dilbert, and my thought guru – explains how people are not naturally stupid, but are reduced to stupidity coz they can’t absorb information with the same pace that information grows. Information multiplies at a rate that’s so fast that with the passage of every second, people know less and less about more and more topics.
So I resign myself to the unfortunate realization that despite my best efforts, I’m now stupid when it comes to the proposed solution to the problem of corruption plaguing my country. But hey! this is an important issue. and as an aware and concerned citizen, I’m determined to get to the bottom of this flood of opinions. I take a lungful of air and delve deep into expert views. Guess what? the ‘experts’ wildly disagree with each other. Should the PM be in the ambit of the bill? Who should choose the lokyukta? Can judiciary be trusted to appoint the ombudsman? Should civil participation be regulated??? YYAAAAAAARRRGHGHHHHHHHH!!!

While this conundrum seems beyond human comprehension, one thing seems awfully clear to me. even if we have consensus on all the parameters of implementation, Corruption cannot be licked. for the simple reason that the lawmakers will always protect themselves, and the implementation will be carried out by people who themselves are not incorruptible.

But I’ll be damned if I just give up on my efforts to think up solutions. I believe that for any solution to be effective, it’s got to be exquisite in it’s simplicity. It’s got to take into account human behavior and motivation. and ideally, it should be based on a realistic case-study.
Well, guess what? I think I’ve hit upon just the idea. It’s so simple, it just might be genius (if I can say so myself). so without preamble, I’ll just get right to it. hold your breath. here it comes.

Open a swiss-bank style black-money haven right here in India. TA-DAAA!!!

Think about it. The problem with high-level corruption is the siphoning off of funds to foreign shores. We’ve been trying to get the Swiss banks to divulge information on the accounts, but with no success. If we can make India so secure for dirty money, then we’ll attract all the moolah. It’s not difficult. I used to think that Swiss banks are a version of Harry Potter’s Gringotts bank… run by evil goblins, guarding over underground chambers filled with treasure. Turns out that it’s just a bank like any other. with one crucial difference. iron-fisted confidentiality. We can do it. and beat the swiss at their own game. With so much money, Banks will look for investments in the country and be really enthusiastic to circulate the cash by giving loans etc. Economy thrives, everyone benefits. well… almost.

I realize that I’m in no way an expert in these matters. and what I propose is morally ambiguous. But at least I thought of an interesting way to turn corruption to our advantage.

That’s more than you did today.

Corruption is bad. no arguments there. Every country is dealing with different levels of it. India, of course is no exception. If you read the newspapers and are aware of the ongoing issue surrounding the lokpal bill, then you know that what was started as a movement by Mr. Anna Hazare has quickly devolved into a political circus with lathi-charges at the protesters and the arrest of Baba Ramdev in women’s clothes.While there is an element of entertainment in the proceedings, it’s actually sad that an issue as severe as corruption will be lost in the dust raised by political stunts and their repercussions.

Here’s my view on the events (simplified):

  • Anna Hazare’s fast for a strong Lokpal bill against corruption: GOOD
  • Opposition parties using the anti-corruption plank against the govt.: INEVITABLE
  • Baba Ramdev’s fast against corruption: BAD
  • Congress party’s attack at the protesters: VERY BAD
  • Anna Hazare’s decision to stall discussions on Lokpal bill: UNFORTUNATE.

The reason I say Mr. Anna Hazare’s fast is good while Baba Ramdev’s same action on the same issue is bad is because Anna was a pioneer and stood alone… not affiliated to any political party. While I look at Baba Ramdev’s fast as ‘cashing-in’ on the huge support garnered by the cause, making it fashionable, and with the express blessing & support of some political parties. While Anna Hazare is an activist with a history of political activism & the Gandhian way, Baba Ramdev is a debutant politician looking at associating with a popular plank to make him positively relevant to mainstream Indian politics. Anna Hazare had a clear-cut path to build an empowered regulatory body & a system of public accountability, As for Ramdev Baba, his demands are many, but 1 demand in particular gives me the feeling that he’s not looking for a solution: Death penalty for the corrupt.

You might agree or disagree with my views expressed in this post, But the real purpose of my blog is to serve some food-for-thought. and here it is: While death sentence for the corrupt is not a solution at all to the problem, it got me thinking about what punishment could be. Of course, we need a punishment that is severe enough to be an effective deterrent. Death penalty is too severe. The prevalent punishment of 7 years imprisonment is too light. Here’s my idea:

Confiscate the passports of the corrupt and banish them to an uninhabited prison island(s) in the Andaman & Nicobar group of islands. Kaala Paani.

Don’t worry. This is not a serious suggestion. It’s just interesting to me. Let’s explore it in our minds. This punishment effectively removes the corrupt from the system. Their new livelihood will be too basic and nature-dependent to allow for corruption. But the real reason this appeals to me is that it might create a new and economically powerful country. There is one example of a prison island turning into a developed country – AUSTRALIA!

Of course, I don’t think every prison island will turn into an affluent nation. But history has shown us time and again that a country with a near-exclusive immigrant population will thrive. There’s something honest and genuine in the efforts of immigrants who have lost everything and are looking for a fresh start. and every corrupt person needs to get in touch with their honest and genuine side.

What other punishments could be considered?

MTV Roadies is what brought Raghu Ram, and later his twin Rajiv Laxman in the limelight. Within no time, youngsters were referring to these dudes with a huge attitude as ‘The evil twins’. The power they wield on the show is something that shakes the contestants to the core. However, the attitude that they carry on the telly borders on arrogance. But this notion is dispelled the minute you interact with them on a one-to-one note. Which is when you realise, ‘hey, they are cool dudes. And immensely likeable too!’ Ahead of his visit to the city to chair a seminar along with brother Raghu, Rajiv took off some time to interact with The Hitavada.
The first question is but naturally on his visit to the city. Since he will be addressing a students’ group on ‘Carry Your Attitude’ what is his definition of attitude? “Attitude has something in common with Zen Buddhism – it’s meaning cannot be compressed into words. It can only be expressed and/or felt,” says Rajiv, and adds that you can commonly confuse it with aggresion or anger, which is incorrect. “For me, attitude is the expression of a seeking mind and a courageous heart. A seeking mind will give you the correct perspective in life. And a courageous heart gives you the strength to oppose what is wrong.” The conversation then veers to Roadies, the
cult show that has made Raghu and Rajiv a household name. The show that has a huge following, of late, has got a lot of negative reactions, mostly from the moral brigade. Ask Rajiv what’s his take on it, and he says, “Roadies has always got a lot of negative reactions. If we had gotten affected by it, then there would not have been so many seasons. Most of the negative reactions are because some people miss the point of Roadies. That’s ok. We’re not here to teach. Some negative reactions are merely a publicity gimmick. That’s ok too. We’re not bothered. Strong opinions and an ‘in your face’ attitude is bound to make people uncomfortable. But we’re not here to please people.” The kind of response the show gets all over the country is proof enough that the show is highly popular and that itself negates all the negative reactions that come its way.
Tell Rajiv that somewhere he and Raghu have mentioned that through Roadies they intend to get youngsters involved… involved in what? “Youngsters today are becoming more and more boxed-in. Their world in becoming more and more compressed because of the temptations of technology such as gadgets and social networks, and the pressures of higher and higher demands of academics. Through Roadies, we want to tap into and unleash the power of the youth and encourage them to become aware of the times that we live in, and contribute to changing it for the better,” says Rajiv, who strongly believes that the youth can bring in a lot of change – change for the better.
Since we are talking about youth, we all know that the urban youth is an educated and aware lot. Ask him to comment on what can be done so that the rural youth that comprises a large section of the society is also connected with the mainstream happenings, and he replies, “While I agree with the statement in the question, it is impractical to look at reality shows as a solution to that problem. My approach to life is individualistic, which means I don’t classify people into groups. The government needs to attract industrial investments into rural India so that opportunities grow for the rural youth. But at an individual level, nothing stops a rural youth to take control of life and prosper.” And now that he has mentioned government, the political scenario in the country that is the topic of discussion these days comes into play. Ask him to shed some light on the political situation of the country, and he says, “I feel that the overwhelming youth support of Anna Hazare points to the fact that the political establishment of the country has failed to provide them with good role models. And the youth is actively seeking role models. We need a charismatic and strong politician who can inspire the nation like Mahatma Gandhi.”
Talking of leaders, the blame for the worsening political situation is being laid at the doorsteps of our leaders. How can we choose our leaders who will be leaders in the true sense? “The people create the leader. We need an active ‘out-of-parliament’ opposition system of the youth that can make both the government and the opposition accountable. When we become politically aware and make our voice heard, the political class will respond by giving us leaders of caliber.”
Television, as newspaper, is a powerful medium of reaching out to people. What role can the media play in awakening the youth? “Media is a powerful tool that can affect the youth in many ways. It has contributed in youth awareness many times, like the Jessica Lall case. Youth participation and engagement with media
should be encouraged.” And finally, what is his message to the youngsters?

“Confidence is good. Over confidence is bad. Self awareness is the difference.”