'I was targetted in Khatron Ke Khiladi'
One would imagine that a show with 13 beautiful and fearless women would definitely see a lot of cat fights backstage. So it was surprising when the girls of Khatron Ke Khiladi Level 2 said that they had become friends.
"We didn't have much fun or do any interesting things. But we didn't fight with each other either. We were too scared of the stunts we were performing," Rupali Ganguly, one of the 13 contestants, said.
"We did not have time to fight, as we were encouraging and pushing each other to do our best," Anushka said. "Yes, all of us wanted to win but that does not mean that we step on each other to move in front."
Image: Sushma Reddy, Rupali Ganguly, Akshay Kumar, Nauheed Cyrusi, Rosa Catalano, Bruna Abdullah, Jesse Randhawa. Anushka Manchanda, Shweta Salve
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
'It got very stressful to wake up early everyday'
But the girls had their share of complaints as well. Nauheed Cyrusi was quite honest when she complained that she was targeted by the girls, and they had tried to sideline her.
"I felt that way because my partner and I had to perform most of the stunts first," she said. "That would be a big disadvantage because when you go in the middle or towards the end, you've seen them performing the stunt. When we were being sent first, it started getting to me and I thought I was being targetted."
"After a point of time, it got very stressful to wake up early everyday," Bruna Abdalah said. "And we were doing so many stunts, we really needed a break."
Unlike shows like Bigg Boss and Iss Jungle Se Mujhe Bachao where contestants manipulate each other to win, Khatron Ke Khiladi did not have any it.
"It is difficult to make strategies on a show like Khatron Ke Khiladi because everything depends on your own skills," Sushma Reddy said.
"I did not know anyone in the beginning and was not close to anyone. But as the days passed, we got close. There was no manipulation on the show," Roza Catalano said. "But we were stressed, as the stunts kept getting difficult."
Image: Khatron Ke Khiladi contestants with Akshay Kumar
'We were all publicly exposed'
Were they scared of getting hurt of scarring their faces on the show? "I think the scariest part about this show is that every fan got to know of our weaknesses. So basically, we were all publicly exposed," Sushma said.
But the actress claimed that the host Akshay Kumar helped them out quite a bit.
"We love him," she gushed. "Akshay was more like a teacher and a role model for us. He was our only help. He took a lot of interest in each stunt. He was very nice to us, as we were very scared by some of the stunts. Akshay would sometimes become our partner while we were doing our stunts. He would boost our morale and confidence."
Image: Khatron Ke Khiladi contestant
'Akshay was a very good mentor'
Since he was like a teacher, did Akshay ever scold any contestant?
"If we were talking to each other and not paying attention, Akshay would scold us," Shweta Salve said. "Or if we did a stunt below his expectations. But actually, it was encouraging when he did because he was just pushing us. He knew we were capable. When we performed well, he patted our backs. So Akshay was a very good mentor."
Of course, rising above their fears was quite tough. Sushma could not perform an underwater stunt despite Akshay's encouragements.
"That's my weakness and I was not equipped for it," she explained. "I can't hold my breath underwater."
Image: Khatron Ke Khiladi contestants
'Jesse was the ideal student'
Would they perform the stunts again if they were given another chance? "No!" Anushka exclaimed. "The reason is the time limit. All the stunts were time-bound -- like bringing 20 flags in two minutes. If I don't have the stress of a time limit, I will be able to enjoy it better. I was stressed out everyday on the show. I have never seen so much discipline in my life. We had to wake up at 4 am and go to sleep at 9 pm. It was like living in a hostel."
Jesse Randhawa claimed that they had fun, any way. "The best part was overcoming our fears on the show," she said.
Who was the strongest competitor on the show? "Jesse was the ideal student," Anushka said. "She talks very little and is very disciplined. She came across as the toughest."
Image: Khatron Ke Khiladi contestants