There was a time in human history when the Internet generation tuned in to watch television every week for one hour, voluntarily. The time was 7 pm and the day was Saturday. Youngsters, all around the country, took positions in front of their television sets to watch Raghu and Rajiv, the uncongenial twin brothers, go on moral rants to "morally corrupt" contestants.
That was the time when every youngster wanted to become a Roadie. That was the first career decision they took before eventually applying for engineering colleges. Or MBA maybe?
But Roadies wasn't just a TV show back then. For teenagers at the time, it was an obsession. From online videos to online MTV communities, the youth participated in everything related to Roadies.
But that was 8 years ago. Like all good things, the Roadies we knew also came to an end.
It has been some 5 odd years since I last watched Roadies. Like everyone else, I started losing interest when things began to change for the worse in the show. However last night, I accidentally bumped into an audition episode from this year's Roadies, which for some reason is called Roadies X4.
Anyway, nostalgia had me hooked. As I started to re-settle into the world of Roadies, I began to realize how it's nothing like the Roadies I remember.
First of all, it's not just MTV Roadies. It's "MTV Roadies X4 Powered By Park Avenue Deodorant Big Boys Toys Connected by Hike Fitness Partner Nutrigain - Your gang your glory".
Cringe. Cringe. Cringe.
Interestingly, the name is the least horrible thing about the new Roadies.
Things have changed so much since the last time I saw this show, I find myself lost while trying to pinpoint the flaws of the show because there are just too many things wrong with the new format. The most evident spoke in the wheel is the panel of judges, but I'll get to them in a while. Let's first address less significant but equally annoying changes our beloved show has gone through.
The auditions room, what was once a dark, isolated room with just the contestant and the judges, now looks like Rannvijay sitting on top of Optimus Prime after defeating it in a Roadies task.
And that's not even the worst thing about this setting.
There's also live audience during the auditions stage. What was once an intimate space for judges to interact with the contestants is now India's Got Talent minus the talent.
Now was the time for contestants to arrive on the stage. The teenager in me was excited and hopeful. What I saw in the next 20 minutes shattered any hope and excitement I had. Whatever Roadies was back in the day, it had a reputation for being a rebel, for not giving in to marketing and advertising. Unfortunately, that was the first thing I saw once the contestant got on the stage.
There's a particular area on the stage where contestants apply Axe deodorants because, well, sponsors are life.
The usual matter of questions and answers began and I soon found myself in the middle of a huge pile of mess created by the judges.
Oh yes, THE JUDGES. I CAN'T EVEN WAIT TO... Okay, I need to calm down for this.
I thought it won't be as bad as others say it is but life has a way of betraying you and so does Roadies.
The first cringe-worthy moment arrived sooner than I thought. As soon as Rannvijay and Neha Dhupia crossed paths with their opinions, time stopped and slow-motion became the order of the show. Never thought Roadies would remind me of Ekta Kapoor.
There were replays and slow-motions and sound-effects; everything that should not be in Roadies was in Roadies X4.
Okay, I understand you can't have the same judges run a show for a very long time. As a consumer of your content, I understand it.
But what business in the world do Olympic Medalists have judging a reality show like Roadies. There couldn't be a greater disservice to their accolades by calling them to judge Roadies.
More than that, a fit body does not transcend into a good judge of character and that's what's wrong with having Sushil Kumar and Vijender Singh judge the show.
Sushil Kumar, by now, has spent better part of an hour trying to keep himself from dozing off.
By the looks of it, I don't think it'll be too long before The Great Khali makes his Roadies debut as a judge.
But the single worst thing about the new Roadies is Karan Kundra. WHAT-WHY-WHEN-HOW-WHY!
I have more questions than answers.
Karan Kundra is the last person on the planet who should be allowed to judge someone's personality. His inability to recognize a contestant's flaws makes me recognize his flaws as a judge.
And what's with all the overreaction, Karan? Every time Raghu/Rajiv/Rannvijay lost their cool, the anger seemed genuine. Karan Kundra's overreaction oozes out of places where other people don't have places.
I'm sure Karan Kundra is a good person but in Raghu's words, he's just not Roadies material.
Anyway, it was now time for the next contestant to arrive on the stage. By now, I was pretty pissed off by the conduct of the show and had made up my mind to hate it because this was the worst I had ever seen.
I couldn't be more wrong.
The next contestant was a set of 3 girls who had arrived on the stage together but something seemed off about them. Maybe the background was different, maybe they sound scripted. I couldn't put my finger on what it was. I didn't have to wait for too long.
I soon realized the 3 girls were cast members of an upcoming show on MTV and their appearance as contestants to promote their own show was humiliating to the legacy of the Roadies I remember.
I can go on ranting about how this new Roadies is nothing like the show I grew up watching but think I've made my point clear by now.
Dear Roadies, this is not a hate mail. This is how the fan of the original show feels. I hope you take it in the right spirit and analyze things constructively.
If not, it'll add to another reason why our generation doesn't watch TV.
Designs by Rohit Jakhu.