Exclusive: Rannvijay Singha On ‘MTV Home Games’, The Changing Voice Of India’s Youth, And More

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Rannvijay Singha’s contribution to Indian pop culture is quite understated, to be honest. While we keep talking about stuff like Indian Matchmaking, Bigg Boss, and whatnot, it’s Singha’s work with Roadies and several other reality TV shows that shaped what we thought reality TV is going to be all about. But, worry not, the pandemic ain’t stopping his efforts, intentional or unintentional to reclaim the status of the sub-genre as he’s back with MTV Home Games.

I got to have a little e-chat about the nature of this show, how he has seen India’s youth change over the years, and any advice he has for us to come out of this pandemic a better person. And here are the results…

Tell us a little about MTV Home Games 2020, what attracted you to it, and how are you adapting to this quarantine version of a game/task-based show after doing so many real ones i.e. where you had to be present physically?

“A lot of us love sport, love watching sports, love playing sports. It’s because of the lockdown that all the sports had shutdown. The Olympic games are not happening. But that shouldn’t dampen our spirits. And we are all very competitive and with that spirit, we thought of the MTV Home Games which will test in you in a lot of games that have been made up at homes. Brothers, sisters, colleagues, friends, they all play them with each other, generally. But now let’s see who has got the best skill and let’s see who actually wins the competition because earlier it wasn’t a nation-wide game. So, somebody who is good at something quirky like building a card castle or throwing channa into somebody’s mouth [laughs] can be recognised as a talent. For the most part, it will be really positive. It will give people a sense of competition. I think in the past few years I’ve been giving tasks to people over the internet on Roadies Battleground and from that, we’ve realised that people in their own comfort zone get really creative. They’re not intimidated by us being there in front of them, which usually happens in Roadies, Splitsvilla, and other game shows. I think it’s gonna be a lot of fun. Adapting is one big thing that I really appreciate in people. I like to say that I do adapt to situations. So, yeah, physically being there and seeing it in the shows is great! But also seeing all the videos coming out from people in their homes, you can enjoy them as much. And in this situation there’s nothing better than people competing.”

What is your #1 home game? It can be something that has been featured in the show or something that isn’t there in the roster and you like to play.

“My favourite home game has to be pelmet basketball. We used to remove the curtains and the rod from the inside. And in the army houses the pelmets had just enough space, that if you hit it perfectly, that a tennis ball would go through it. So, I and Harman started playing it at home. We were very competitive, we’d bounce it off other walls, so much so that our parents also got into it, our cousins also got into it. Of course, that isn’t in the roster. But I think if it was, the gold would be between me and Harman.”

From the 1st edition of Roadies to MTV Home Games 2020, you’ve interacted with hundreds of people of a certain generation hailing from various parts of the country for almost a decade. What changes have you observed in terms of how they deal with societal, political, or cultural issues/topics?

“In the last 17 years, I have interacted with a huge chunk of the youth in India. When it comes to societal, political or cultural issues/topics, some of them have no clue. They’re living in a La La Land, in a bubble. But the ones who have a clue, it depends on how they’ve been brought up. Some people have very strong political and religious ties due to the way they’ve been brought up. But they’re very opinionated. And they like to express it on their social media, in their friend circles. That’s why it is very important to spread awareness and that’s what we’ve tried to do in Roadies’ auditions also. They deal with it by being vocal now. Whether they’re on the right side or the wrong side is something that I can judge. But at least I’ve seen a majority of the youth stand up for whatever they believe in.”

MTV India

Social media has become an integral part of our life and you’re on almost all the popular social media platforms. How do you deal with it? Because if a politician says something, a comedian says something, anyone says anything, there’s a vocal online mob virtually screaming you can see even if you aren’t a part of the conversation.

“I express myself on it the way I want to. I don’t become a social media platform. I am the same person of various different social media platforms. I have a set of values and morals that I’ve been brought up with. I stick to that as much as I can in my life and on social media. I try to inspire people by doing fun activities and I try to show people the priorities that I have in my life, with my family, my friends. I do not really indulge in what’s viral or what people are talking about and trolls and this and that. There is a way people are brought up in the army and, I mean, there are bigger problems in the world and I tend to worry about them and try to be a part of the solutions of those bigger problems. It doesn’t really matter if somebody says something to me on the internet. Everyone has their own to deal with the opportunities and the resources they have. So, if they want to spend their time screaming about something with a vocal online mob, it is okay. It’s okay for them. Do I waste time doing that? No. I’d rather work, play with my daughter, play sports, spend some quality time with my family, go for a bike ride, eat something nice, play basketball, throw knives, play home games, and that’s about it, man. Itna seriously lene ki zarurat nahi hai. It is a way of generating awareness, making good content, getting good collaborations, and showing the world how you’d like to live, aspire people, and get inspired.”

Please list down some pieces of advice on how we can come out of this pandemic, that seemingly doesn’t have an end, as better people. It can be in the form of movies you want us to watch, songs you want us to listen to, books you want us to read, exercise routines, literally anything.

“First of all, who am I give to advise? But I can suggest. From my own personal experience, try to do things that you always said that, ‘I wish I had the time, I’d like to do this’. Be it arts and craft, be it organising your papers, organising your wardrobe, anything, be it cooking, be it getting into fitness. A lot of times in the life we had before the pandemic, I heard people saying that I wish I had the time, I would this. Now we have the time. Do what you love to do. In the pandemic, I started throwing knives again, fixed a watch, I made a wall, tried to tap into my creative side, worked out with my daughter. There is a lot of positivity that one can get but one thing we shouldn’t do is complain. We’re sitting in our homes with our electricity, the internet, we can watch series. Imagine those people who are not with their families, those people who don’t have the same resources. There are a lot of people who said ‘OMG humein ghar ka kaam karna padh raha hai’. I was in shock that educated, aware people were saying that they had to do some household chores. I think we should be grateful and blessed. Read that book that you always wanted to read. Call your relatives. Call your parents. Do video chats. Get in touch with your friends you didn’t have time for earlier. Make those sketches. Make those songs. Write those poems. Write those scripts. Write those stories. And, you know, find out who you are.”

I think that’s the best conclusion to this interaction and I don’t want to ruin it in any way. All I want to say is that stay vocal, stay healthy, and stay safe.

Home Games 2020 is streaming on MTV India.

SEE ALSO: Exclusive – Himesh Reshammiya And Rajesh Roshan Dissect Bollywood And Indie Music

Cover artwork by Pramit Chatterjee/Mashable India


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