16 years ago
Mukul Dev returns to TV in a big way as the host of the popular
international show, 'Fear Factor'. This pilot-turned-model-turned-actor
was earlier seen in films like 'Dastak' and 'Ek Haseena Ek Khiladi'.
Mukul was last seen on TV in 'Kaalchakra' on Star Plus, 'K Street Pali
Hill' on Star Plus and 'Kya Hadsa, Kya Haqeeqat' on SET. He talks to Rachna Kanwar about his experiences hosting 'Fear Factor'.
How was it hosting 'Fear Factor'?
Hosting 'Fear Factor' was very different from what I have done so far.
And it was different not because it was the first time that I was
hosting a show, but also the fact that I ended up working with a crew
and a bunch of people from all over the world. Their approach and the
precision with which they worked made things very comfortable for me as
an anchor. Normally in the environment that we work, there is so much
of confusion and disorder that one doesn't get time to reach one's own
potential. But here things were taken care of and it was technically
very sound. Secondly the spontaneity of the emotions that I saw not
just on me but also the contestants present there was again extremely
spell-binding. People come there to take part in a sport from various
walks of life and everybody has his own baggage. Someone wants to
conquer their fear, someone wants to win the prize money and someone
wants to prove a point to someone. I have seen people who have been
afraid of seeing a single snake, but once they arrive there and see the
adrenalin and take a whiff of the competition; they agree to lie down
in a coffin with 200 snakes.
Were you repelled by all the creepy-crawlies on the show?
I was a little taken aback when I saw so many snakes. To tell you the
truth I myself have a phobia of snakes, but when I went through the
whole stunt, I realized that I had gotten over my phobia. Two days
later I stepped out to go to this nightclub in Kuala Lumpur and when I
went there I saw this girl outside holding a white snake like a mascot
(some nightclubs have someone doing a jig). I just went up to her and
held the snake in my hand and I put it around my neck. There I was, I
had gotten over my fear! Two days before that I was with 300 hundred
snakes so for me to hold one snake was no big deal.
What kind of stunts were there on the show?
Well, the snakes one in the first episode was very tough. The panorama
of stunts that you see, the selection varies from one is a physical
stunt that tests your physical limits. It's about your muscle power,
how much can you sustain, your stamina your endurance. Then there are
certain stunts about your mental strength, stuff likes snakes, you
can't put physical strength over there. Then the last category is which
tests your willpower to consume anything that is given to you to eat.
Where does that fit in? That isn't a fear factor.
Repulsion is also a manifestation of fear. Fear manifests itself in
many ways. You look at life, relationships; there is always a fear of
rejection. If you like someone you don't go and tell the person because
you are scared of rejection. Every time your film releases on a Friday,
you get the jitters because you are afraid of failure. Similarly you
don't want to go near anything that smells bad or it's bad to eat,
because you are afraid that 'what will happen if I put it in my mouth';
how bad is it going to be. So fear has a lot of manifestations.
How are they prepared before the show?
They aren't given any training as such but they are told that they are
going to be dealing with some serious stuff in the next two-three days.
The stunt is revealed to them once they are on the location. In fact
they are blindfolded from the time they leave their hotel room till the
time they reach the location. They are totally unaware of the stunts.
Once they reach the location, the blindfold is removed and the first
thing they see is their stunt.
Did you try out any stunts yourself?
I wanted to but as per procedure, the company doesn't allow the host to
indulge in any of the stunts. They believe that we are very precious
people (laughs). No matter how great the safety is, at the end of the
day the risk factor is very high. The safety is of international class
but still they don't want us to try.
Did any contestant develop cold feet at the last minute?
Oh yeah. A lot of them…which is very natural. Specially ladies.
Sometimes I had to talk them into it. At the same time I couldn't go
beyond talking as I don't believe in forcing a person because if the
person is not mentally sound about doing something there is no point
forcing a person. But there were times when there were a few people who
were very skeptical who developed cold feet. There was this lady, a TV
star who got absolutely petrified and livid. I think it had to do
something with worms, you had to be in a huge coffin of worms. Then I
had to tell her that this is what it is and you can do it. Well then it
went about fine and she did it although she was really shrieking, like
crying. But then crying was a part of it. I remember Mandira Bedi when
she did her stunts, she did a superb stunt and with flying colours. She
was amazing. I have yet to come across a woman who is that tough.
How would you rate women vs. men on the show?
Both were at par. There were so many times I saw women like Mandira
being tougher and having far more endurance than men. Let me tell you
mental strength can sometimes overpower physical strength. Mandira had
a lot of mental strength and she said 'No, I have to do it'. Well, I
will also have to agree that when it comes to stunts like climbing up
ladders from a helicopter, then of course it's a person like Chetan
Hansraj, who is 6 feet 3 inches, with a huge body , big biceps and who
goes to gym every day to do thousand push ups; he'll be a wee fit
faster than any other contestant. But we tried to set different
standards for women and women where physical strength was tested
because there were certain stunts that were purely physical.
Who was the toughest celebrity contestant on 'Fear Factor'?
I would say there was more than one. I think the toughest were Chetan Hansraj, Mandira Bedi and Vikas Sethi.
What was the grossest thing on the show?
According to me the grossest thing was to drink something called the
Fear Factor shake. It comprised of goat brains, raw fish eggs and a
whole lot of other gross things mixed in it. It stinks like hell.
Who was the hottest celebrity on your show?
I don't know. They are all hot. The hottest celebrity on my show was Mukul Dev.
Which stunt made your stomach churn and name one stunt that you wished you did?
The stunt that made my stomach churn was definitely the one with the
snakes. And there were so many stunts that I really wanted to do and
most of all, the helicopter stunt where you have to climb on a ladder
dangling from a flying chopper and coming down.