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The paradox of MTV Roadies: Jury members lay claim to higher standards of propriety but their conduct betrays their moral bankruptcy

From being an adventure reality TV show, Roadies has now devolved into a pitiable cringe-worthy show whose jury members have a bloated sense of entitlement, believing themselves to be a cut above the world

Every year, thousands of enthusiastic Indians queue up to be a part of MTV Roadies, a reality TV show involving travel, drama, adventure and a touch of voyeurism. The selection of the candidates hinges upon the discretion of a set of sanctimonious jury members who evaluate the contestants based on their moral uprightness, integrity, skills, capabilities and other unique characteristics.

The contestants, in their bid to appear distinct from the horde and brighten their prospects of selection, embellish their responses to jury’s questions with either scandalising choices or stark admissions about specific incidents in their lives or when asked about their reaction on a particular scenario.

In one such incident recently, one of the contestant raised the heckles of the jury members when he claimed of hitting his girlfriend for her disloyalty. The contestant remorselessly claimed that in the fit of anger he slapped his ex-girlfriend after he came to know that she dated 5 other men simultaneously along with him. Flustered by this admission, one of the jury members and gang leader Neha Dhupia hectored the Roadies contestant for apparently hitting his former girlfriend for cheating on him behind his back.

The candid admission by the contestant did not sit well with Neha Dhupia who lost her cool on the contestant for resorting to violence against his ex-girlfriend for her infidelity. Defending the girl, Dhupia blasted at the contestant saying, “What you are saying that she went out with not one but 5 other boys, listen to me, it’s her choice. Maybe the problem lies with you. Nobody gives you a right to slap a girl.”

Soon after Neha’s video of outburst against the contestant went viral, she was at the receiving end of criticism by many social media users who accused Dhupia of being a hypocrite and highlighted her tranquil behaviour when a female contestant in one of the previous editions of the Roadies show proudly claimed that she had hit 4 men. Netizens were unsparing in calling out Neha’s duplicity, calling her a “fake feminist” who outrages over a man hitting a woman but discreetly accedes to a woman hitting a man.

In addition, social media users were also merciless in pointing out to an earlier video in which Dhupia had evidently acknowledged having cheated on her boyfriend.

In the Roadies audition when Neha Dhupia rebukes the contestant for slapping his unfaithful girlfriend, another jury member, Nikhil Chinapa, joins in Dhupia to lambast the contestant for his violent demeanour against the girl. When the contestant attempts to explain his actions, an apoplectic Chinapa walks up to him hurling abuses at him. The contestant tries to defend himself saying that if he’s loyal to someone, he would expect the same from his partner as well. But, Nikhil tries to provoke him asking him to mirror his anger in front of him.

While Chinapa passed moralising sermons against the use of violence to express one’s disappointment, Twitter users promptly dredged up an old video from obscurity where he was seen slapping a Roadies contestant to remind Chinapa to practice what he preaches before mouthing off platitudes to others. Just as abuse in relationship, physical or emotional, is wrong, so is bullying and public humiliation to make a point.

This incident added fuel to the fire as the Twitter users appeared more infuriated than impressed with the jury members’ selective display of conniption against the contestants’ perceived immoral behaviour. Users drew out the contrast between the jury members’ disposition towards abusing and deriding a contestant for resorting to violence and maintaining a stoic silence over the incidents of violence exhibited by the fellow members of the jury.

Roadies show has a long and unremitting tradition of hurling expletives and abuses against the contestants by Roadie judges. This morally depraved tradition was pioneered by none other than the founder of the Roadies TV show Raghu Ram, for whom it was a habit to vent his spleen by abusing contestants whose views did not conform with his blinkered worldview. There have been umpteen instances when Raghu had subjected the contestants to relentless abuses and ignominy along with manhandling. However, his associate jury members simply watched over the whimsical Raghu on his meltdown.

In another incident, Roadies judge Prince Narula had gotten embroiled in a heated argument with one of the contestants, following which he slapped him. However, none of the judges-Neha Dhupia, Nikhil Chinapa or others hauled Narula over the coals for his blatant act of aggression.

In one of the episodes of previous editions of Roadies, then judge Karan Kamra was seen landing a resounding slap on a contestant’s cheek after he seemed perturbed by the contestant’s response. However, not one of the remaining judges raised their objection to Kundra’s act of violence. While Neha watched Kundra thwacking the contestant, Rannvijay Singh was seen silently appreciating Kundra’s action.

From being an adventure reality TV show, Roadies has now devolved into a pitiable cringe-worthy show whose jury members have a bloated sense of entitlement, believing themselves to be a cut above the world and a false sense of notion that they are exempted from being evaluated by the same token as the contestants. While they sermonise others on having strong moral probity and subject contestants to higher standards of propriety, their own conduct hardly conforms to the virtuous ideals they put the contestants through.

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Jinit Jain
Engineer. Writer. Learner.

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