Khiladi Super Star Akshay Kumar speaks about his experience of anchoring COLORS' Fear Factor Level 2. He was supposed to jump from the 13th floor for the media, but bad weather canceled the stunt.
How is Fear Factor Level 2 different from Level 1?
This time around the stunts are much more difficult and dangerous; the girls have to walk across the wings of a moving high altitude plane or swim in a pool infested with crocodiles. Another major difference is that that I have also performed some 7/8 dare devil stunts. Ideally a host does not take part in the action but I jumped in the fray, as many people had complained last time that they wanted to see me perform as well. Personally I felt that Level 1 was quite simple when compared to what we are making the girls face this time. Hence I really had to push them to the extent of even being harsh.
Since you mentioned dangerous, how good were the safety methods?
The organizers have made sure that we have very high standards of safety. But yet some of the girls did suffer injuries or fell unconscious while performing. These minor mishaps are bound to happen for this is not a walk in the park, its Fear Factor after all. The stunts we have here are just a notch lower than the toughest International Fear Factor series.
What is your take on the girls this time around?
They are better than last time, for they knew what they were getting into.
Who is your favorite hasina?
See, having a favorite does not help, for last time I had thought Yana Gupta would go the whole hog, but she was eliminated mid way.
What is the mantra of success in Fear Factor?
You need to be determined and hard willed. But at the same time you can't get emotional and rush in; a cool headed approach is also critical.
How should one contest fear?
I remember that when I was learning horse riding years ago I fell from the horse. My instructor had told me then to get up and get back on the horse saying if you don't, you will never be able to ride a horse in your life.
One needs to channelize our fears. We can't achieve many things in life due to fear. I have divided fear into two categories i.e. good fear and bad fear.. When I am performing stunts, the good one goads me into taking all the possible precautions, while the bad one says don't do it. I inculcate the former and keep the latter at bay.
Do you get scared while doing stunts?
Yes I always do but then I listen to the above good fear.
What is your biggest fear?
A merry go round. I am very uncomfortable taking a ride in it.
You had performed some death facing stunts in your upcoming film, Blue?
Yes it was quite dangerous. I had to perform under water fight sequences. I got injured and blood started oozing; they had to keep the sharks busy with other bait as they smell blood very fast. I was very quickly lifted out of the water. And the worst part was that my wife Twinkle was present there.
Getting back to Fear Factor, how did the journey of the girls go?
What you have seen till now, is only the trailer. The stunts will really get stiff from here on. When the girls first came, they were smiling, but then as days passed their smile disappeared. Their situation really became tough, to the extent that I felt sad for them. But then this is a camp where you have to push yourself to the limit. But I do admit that they have excelled themselves.
What type of a mentor are you?
I was cool; I trained the girls as I would train my son. For e.g Bruna was scared of cockroaches and she was hesitant to do the stunt. I felt like pushing her inside and saying kuch nahi hoga, but the rules prevented me from doing the same, but in the end she did it.
Normally sequels don't do too well?
I don't know about that, but I have been told that Level 2 has opened with much better ratings then Level 1.
What are the differences between working on big screen and small screen?
Did you see me speak in a different tone? I am what I am. I can never pretend. Here it's easier as I am myself, while in films I have to essay a character.
Your equation with the 13 beauties?
I really encouraged the girls when they were down, but at the same time, I brutally pointed out their flaws as well. I was heavily involved in designing some of the stunts too.
What has been the highest point of the show, for you?
That was when Rupali Ganguly told me that this show has changed her life.
Any message to your fans?
Please don't even think of doing such stunts, for here they are performed under very strict professional guidance.
It is said that you have popularized the Gayatri mantra?
Yes, is that not a good thing? There is scientific proof that the chanting of these verses leave a positive effect on the brain.
Your take on reality shows?
This is as real as it can get. There is no false hood here.
But are not celebrities and lay people being enticed to flirt with danger?
We are giving them a life time of an opportunity to try real challenging stuff. Plus they are getting paid for it. They had a 18 day wonderful holiday in South Africa as a bonus, what more would can they ask for!!
Reporter and Author: Anil Merani