After coming up with eight continuous seasons of what is perhaps the longest running show in television history, the baddie Raghu Ram and his partners in crime are back with Season 9 of Roadies. The first step towards that is the recording of the new theme sing which is titled Everything or Nothing. The song, which may soon replace your favourite song on the playlist, is sung by none other than Raghu Ram. It turns out that the angry young man who uses his voice to rack the contestant's nerves also uses it to entertain.
Singer Raghu Ram. Pic/ Anjali Jhangiani
Koko, guitarist of music band Agnee vouches for Raghu's talents behind the mike. "When all of us are done jamming, Raghu takes over the guitar and entertains us. We bullied him into singing the theme song for the show but he is still not ready to play the guitar," he says.
The lyrics for the theme song are written by Abbas Tyrewala, who is a friend of Raghu's. "When Raghu briefed me on the song, he just mentioned that the theme was all or nothing. The song is about the roads that lead you beyond your destination. It's based on the philosophy that more is not enough and encourages you to risk everything for something greater. This is what being a Roadie is all about," says Tyrewala.
For Raghu, it all depends on his moods, "I can get away with a 'I feel like it' and 'I don't feel like it' attitude. I wanted to sing this song so I am singing it and I don't want to play the guitar so I'm not playing it. Perhaps, in the next season I might; you never know. I do things when I have a creative connection with it; it should come from the heart."
This is the fourth year that the Roadies auditions are coming to Pune. Talking about his experience, Raghu asks, "Have many reality shows auditioned in Pune? If not, I am really surprised to hear that. Pune has a very vibrant youth culture and I come to Pune because I love this city. Unlike Mumbai it isn't a melting pot of cultures. It has a sense of subtlety."
He admits that this year they have selected only one person from the Pune auditions and surprisingly, the contestant is not from the city. Quiz him on what he looks for while auditioning, and he says, "A lot of people want to come on the show but it's not necessary that the passion translates into a slot on the show. I am not the CBI, I don't want to see if the people who come on my show are genuine. In terms of biking culture, the city is up there with any other Indian city. Pune has the whole package, which is why I like coming here."
In the upcoming episode, there was an apologetic contestant who wanted to say sorry to Raghu but he was in for a surprise as Raghu apologised to him, "I owed it to him. He said he lost his dignity when I abused him on national television; it was my job to apologise to him on the same platform. My crew was surprised as well."
What's on Raghu's mind?
An unapologetic tone and a chillingly calm demeanor are the traits that Raghu Ram is famous for. He admits that there isn't a stark difference between his onscreen and offscreen persona. "I am not controversial. I don't do the stuff I do for ratings, no one can control the ratings."
Then what explains the sudden change in terms of behaviour that we have seen on the show? "I am growing up. The journey has been self exploratory for me more than the contestants. When the first season happened, I was suddenly a 'celebrity'. I wasn't ready for it, which is why I went into a deeper shell. I don't like that tag and I don't care if people misunderstand me. What I am on the show is an extension of me."
We ask Raghu's twin brother Rajiv what he thinks of Raghu's 360 degree attitude make-over and he says, "It is another side to Raghu, a side that hasn't come forth before. We just have matured over the years and this year Raghu has shown that side to the contestants."
For someone who has come out in support of Anna Hazare openly, Raghu doesn't mince his words, "I like to support people who can make politicians' lives hell and give them a headache. I have always criticised the youth; I call them the sleeping giants. Finally, when they have woken up, how could I not stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them? This is in line with the Roadies theme of Everything or nothing."
On January 28, 7 pm onwards on MTV