Is that the magic formula to reach MTV Splitsvilla 2 finals? Swagata G Shah, a contestant of the reality show, claims so
There seems to be no stopping the skeletons pouring out of MTV's Splitsvilla closet. Just a few days after MiD DAY exposed the sleazy underbelly of the hit reality show, more former Splitsvilla series two contestants stepped up to speak about how the show was doctored from the word go; how finalists were chosen in the director's bedroom and how a top contender indulged in behind-the-scene doping.
Show-all pool party
The icing on the cake allegedly was the wrap-up party during which the 'favourite girls' spent an entire day and night in the pool with their 'mentors' and star VJ Nikhil Chinappa booked a room for the 'queen' who 'kept everyone happy' yet couldn't win. "After the show was over, we had a pool-side party.
After almost everyone had left we saw Joanna Magee (one of the top contenders and a finalist) and Sakshi Pradhan (the show's winner) in the pool with Hitesh (the show's director) and a few other men from the production team.
They stayed there till the next day. I also heard a room was booked for Joanna through Cafe Mambo, a disc at Goa's Baga Beach, where Nikhil Chinappa performs.
Most contestants knew Nikhil had booked a room at Sun City Resort, Baga Beach, for Joanna.
She stayed on in Goa even after the show had ended," said Swagata G Shah, one of the contestants of Splitsvilla 2.
Threats to participants?
Interestingly, Swagata alleged former participants are being coaxed to sign a contract that forbids them from revealing details about the show to the media.
"Sharon Irani, the contestant manager working with the production company Colosseum, asked us to sign a new contract on July 24.
She said three or four other contestants had already signed the contract, whereas to my knowledge, they haven't. I have been receiving calls every day, asking me to sign it," said Swagata.
Sleeping with the boss?
Reportedly, Hitesh, who works with the production house Colosseum, which produced Splitsvilla 2 for MTV, abused his position to back Joanna in return for sexual favours. "When I re-entered the show, Joanna boasted she would win it.
I retorted, 'I don't sleep around for Rs 6,000 like you do.' I had heard about Joanna from people in Chandigarh, her hometown.
During this conversation, Hitesh pulled me out and said, 'You get out of Splitsvilla right now. I just want this chick [sic] out of the premises.
You can't speak anything against Joanna because Joanna se mujhe kaam hai. Tumse mujhe koi kaam nahi hai (Joanna is of use to me, you are of no use).'
If I had slept with him like Joanna did, I wouldn't have been voted out so early and given so little footage," said Swagata.
She alleged other contestants were scared of speaking against Joanna, because 'she was close to the top boss'. "I had seen Joanna kissing Hitesh at a party. But I am not sure if MTV was aware of these wrongdoings," she added.
When contacted, an unflustered Hitesh refused to comment. "I am not authorised to say anything," Hitesh said, leading us on to the creative director of the show Rajeev Laxman.
Laxman, who is also from Colosseum, was more forthright. "It's all speculation. We don't have to explain ourselves to tabloids.
I don't know whether MTV was aware. As far as sexual favours go, I don't think anyone is aware. I don't need to respond to these stupid allegations from tabloids."
Shakshi backed the show. "I faced two rounds of auditions and made a wild card entry. Nothing was fixed. It was a reality show and the people behind it were professionals.
They were nice and friendly towards us. I don't want to comment on what others have alleged," said Shakshi.
MiD DAY tried to contact Joanna, While one of her cellphones was switched off, the other mobile went unanswered.
Doubts were raised about Joanna's candidature too. "Joanna did not audition for Splitsvilla 2. She was selected for season one but couldn't participate.
So, she was given a chance in season two. Both Joanna and Sakshi seemed to be friendly not only with Hitesh, but other housemates like Suyash Kumar and Param as well," Swagata said.
Cheshta Bhagat, another contestant, agreed. "I heard about Joanna's escapades. But I am sure Sakshi Pradhan is a sl*t.
The MMS was recorded and circulated by Sakshi as Nalini and Varun (Nalini Negi and Varun Jhamb were contestants of Splitsvilla 2) had alleged in the MiD DAY article (edition dated July 22)," said Cheshta.
Doped out "We saw Joanna smoke contraband stuff many times during the show. We saw her rolling grass or coke [sic] in paper.
But it was always off air. She would say she needed a strong drag before she faced the testing times," said Swagata.
Transport trouble Reportedly, some clauses in the contract signed with the participants were not honoured. "The contract we signed specified our transport costs were to be borne by the show producers.
But I paid for my trip back to Pune from Goa. They just gave me Rs 1,500 for excess baggage," said Swagata Shah.
Gifts taken back Swagata also accused Colosseum of cheating them of the gifts they received during the show. "The Vodafone sets gifted to us during the show were taken back.
We all received a certain number of clothes sponsored by Levi's but Joanna got extra pairs," she said.