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Nepali Roadies: Here’s the director’s cut

Adhikary with his crew

They say Nepali TV industry has already entered into a declining phase. Creative juices are not flowing, not just in the context of fresh content, but presentation has also yet to improve.

Meanwhile, YouTube is slowly taking over the role TV played until the last few years. Unlike watching a show on the idiot box, YouTube doesn’t make you wait to watch your favorite shows, and you can watch them over and over again.

But the year 2017 saw something different. TV, for the first time in many years, excited young people–they actually wait for the shows to air on TV. It was first Nepal Idol that set the scene for reality shows in Nepal, then came Roadies. 

The second episode of the show has already been aired, and we can already notice the difference. So, who is the brains behind it all?

He is a man who has been in the television business since the heydays of Nepal Television. Aman Pratap Adhikary, who is now the lead man of Himalaya Roadies, started off as a sports journalist and script writer. Following stints at Kantipur TV, where he anchored Scoreboard, the station’s main sports show, Adhikary went to Scotland to study Media and Film making.

After returning from Scotland he worked for Terai TV as a producer. The Flop Show and Kripa Unplugged were some of his most popular shows.

Last week I got to talk with Adhikary about Himalayan Roadies on the emotional and physical aspects of the show.

The story begins with Chang Agarwal of Himalaya TV getting impressed with Kripa Unplugged and a meeting between the two.

During the meeting, Agarwal asked Adhikary, “If I bring something really big, will you be able to pull it off?” Without giving a thought to what he was talking about, Adhikary said, “Give me the money and the project.”

After a few months,  Agarwal called Adhikary to his office and broke the news, “I have talked to the Roadies show in India and you have to go to India to finalise the contract.” That was the big project Agarwal had in mind.

Adhikary says he was excited. As an adventure junkie himself, he was over the moon. In a few weeks time, he was in Mumbai to seal the deal with Viacom 18, the owner of the franchise.

After several rounds of negotiations with the team, he was presented with a long list. One person he remembers talking to was director Debora, who had directed seven seasons of Roadies. Then, came the big question, “Will you guys be able to pull it off?”

Adhikary exactly knew that the fate of the project rested on the biggest question, to which he gave a big ‘yes’.

Adhikary wasted no time and started doing his homework after arriving in Nepal. His first challenge was to get the resources, mainly the cameras needed for the show.

An adventure-based show such as Roadies requires a lot of cameras.”The budget for the current season of Roadies India is around Rs 30 crore,” he says.

But in Nepal it was fixed at around Rs 6.2 crore and it was a big challenge for him to everything going with the amount. He used eight cameras: an NX5 for indoor shoot, three Gopros, 2 Ozmo (360 Degree) and Drones just for the audition round.

“Then, for the journey, I have two Sony Z10 cameras. But the biggest challenge was to operate 14-15 cameras at once,” he says.

But when Adhikary needed help Pramod Karki, the director of photography, has been around. With some help from Karki, Adhikary created a complete blue print of the whole show.

From drawing maps to making field visits, creating line ups, designing sounds, and lights, everything was planned. “The best part was the whole journey covered the mountains, hills and the Terai. This will be reflected in the episodes to come,” he explains.

The Roadies team from India was supposed to come to Nepal to observe the the shoot and the editing, but after going through Adhikary’s design, they loved it so much that not a single person form India has come to Nepal till date to tell Adhikary what needs to be done.
At the end of the day, Roadies is a franchise and the the judges of the show had to be similar with the ones in the Indian version. Roadies India presented a list of few names and Adhikary also had a list. After several auditions, Adhikary and his team came up with the best names possible. Roadies India also suggested that a female judge, Dia Maskey be made a judge. Similarly, Raymond Das Shrestha and Laure, big names among the youth were also selected.

During the first audition, the team was very scared. The location was Pokhara and the first-ever constant was a female. The turnout was good and Adhikary could see competition. Auditions in Kathmandu, Dharan and other places went better than expected and the number of contestants grew.

Adhikary wanted the participants to start in Mustang and coming all the way down to the Terai. He designed tasks in such a way that everything is based on the local things and people. His idea was to show the world how Nepal is from a local perspective.

“Performing the tasks was way too easy. We had to change some of the tasks overnight. One of the major tasks was so filthy, even the viewers will want to puke,” he says.

If that happens, it would perhaps be the first time in Nepali TV history, on which the show has already written a separate chapter.

But we have 17 episodes of the show to savour. It is only going to get better!


Published on July 13th, Thursday, 2017 11:15 AM


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