Meet The Survivors of Television
Survivor India, the adaptation of the international reality show will hit the small screen from January 6 on Star Plus.
It's essentially about 22 contestants who battle for survival on an isolated, uninhabited island, in conditions that will test their physical and mental endurance.
As the contestants fetch their own food and build their own shelter, they will be pitted against each other in tests of strategy. In every episode, the contestants will vote one among them off the island.
The opening season of Survivior India has 11 ordinary people and 11 celebrities from different walks of life.
We take a look at the celebrity Survivors.
The spunky actress's claim to fame was her participation in Bigg Boss season 3. She is the controversy queen and scandal seems to follow her.
She was romantically linked with fellow housemate Rahul Mahajan and later accused him of physically assaulting her. Last year, she accused filmmaker Dibakar Banerjee of molesting her.
She agreed to do Survivor because "I was offered good money and also it was a big challenge because I didn't know how long I would last."
She says she was soon dubbed the weakest link on the show and so began working really hard. "It is difficult to live in rain, without shelter, food, toothbrush and toilets. But you get used to it after a few days. That was the most challenging part of the show."
Payal is also doing a film opposite wrestler and boyfriend Sangram Singh, who's also a part of Survivors. "I knew Sangram much before the show but got close to him only during the show because I got along with him. Right now we are dating each other and work is our priority," she says.
Image: Payal Rohatgi
Shilpa Saklani Agnihotri
Shilpa is best known for her role as Ganga in the popular soap Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. She later participated in the reality shows Nach Baliye and Pati Patni Aur Woh.
Talking about her experience in Survivors she says, "It was really scary to see a big rat sitting on my neck in the middle of the night! Yet, it is the best experience of my life. My wedding day is the best day of my life, and the second, which comes close, is Survivor India."
It was husband Apurva Agnihotri, who encouraged her to participate. "I wasn't very keen; it was my genius hubby who told me to take up the show. I am glad I did."
So what kept her going? "(Contestants) Abhinav, Karan and Timmy were my pillars of strength."
The one skill she has learnt on the show, she says, is swimming.
Image: Shilpa Saklani Agnihotri
Abhinav's portrayal of the character Dev, in the popular Geet Hui Sabse Parayi won him much acclaim.
An adventure-loving, out-doors person, he loves photography and camping. It wasn't the elements, he feared, but the people. "I can handle nature very well but dealing with people was a major task for me."
He had not worked out any strategy, he says. "There was no game plan as such. The funda was to keep your mouth shut and to not get voted out."
His most memorable experience on the show has to do with food. "A survival situation says eat anything that is expedient. Once I woke up in the middle of the night because I was dying of hunger. I saw a crab moving, tried to catch it, but I couldn't. It was tough because I am a vegetarian."
Image: Abhinav Shukla
Priyanka Bassi is a television actress who began her career with an English soap opera, Bombay Talking. She made a name for herself in the serial Left Right Left, and also acted in the serials Rang Badalti Odhani and Surya the Super Cop.
"I am an adventurous person with strong will power. So I wanted to see how I would survive in a situation like this. I didn't watch any episodes of the international Survivor because I wanted to experience it for myself," says Priyanka.
"We had to fetch everything; there was no food, fire, water or shelter. We were just left on the island in the Philippines for 45 days with two pairs of clothes. On the very first day, my track pants tore and I had to borrow a dress from someone."
So what will she take back home from the show? "You learn to deal with things and people on the show."
Image: Priyanka Bassi
Rohit Narang, better known as 'Timmy', owns a lounge-cum-restaurant in Mumbai. He is married to Bollywood actress Isha Koppikar and is the brother of socialite Ramona Narang.
He leads a luxurious life and eats every two hours so he seemed an unlikely candidate for a survival show.
"I wanted to see whether my mind works without food, shelter and all the luxuries. It was a huge mental and physical challenge for me and I am glad that I was part of this show," he says.
Image: Timmy Narang
Actress cum tarot card reader Munisha Khatwani has worked in television serials Shaadi No 1 and Teen Deviyann.
A firm believer in numerology, she changed her name from Monisha to Munisha. She also reads tarot cards for several well known celebs.
But the cards couldn't predict what lay ahead on the show. "It's much tougher than what we see on TV. For the first time in my life I was living with creepy-crawlies. Now I have overcome that phobia. You have conquered everything if you are part of this show," Munisha says.
After Survivors everything else is a cake walk. "We do not realise the importance of food, till the time we have to fight for it and earn it on a daily basis. I value food a lot now," says Munisha who lost weight during the show and realised the importance of staying fit.
Did her cards tell her anything? "I was not allowed to do that. I only l knew that mera sitare buland hai," she smiles.
Image: Munisha Katwani
Jamnadas Majethia has given us enough reason to laugh through his hugely popular comedy shows Instant Khichdi and Sarabhai vs Sarabhai. He participated to prove to his kids that he is a Super Dad.
There were reports that Majethia insured himself for a huge sum because he was afraid of what he would encounter.
And he had cause to be afraid. Sharing an experience, he says, "Once during the show, we were blindfolded and taken in a boat. After we set sail we were ask to remove the blindfold. What I saw reminded me of the Titanic because the weather conditions were so bad. I was in two minds whether to stay back or run away from the show!"
Image: Jamnadas Majethia
Karan's claim to fame is Star Plus's Kasturi. He has also appeared in reality shows Nach Baliye 3 and Kaho Naa Yaar Hai. He debuted in Bollywood with City of Gold.
"It's been a life changing experience and I can vouch for it that you have not seen a bigger and better show than this. We were sent with two pairs of clothes and were asked to do everything from scratch to survive on the island. It is the most challenging show," is his verdict.
Image: Karan Patel
Sylvie, a transgender, not only changed her identity but also gave up her career as a surgeon to pursue what she loved doing most -- hairstyling and grooming.
Sylvie is the mother of two children and has her own hair salon frequented by high profile clients. Sylvie believes in living her life on her own terms and making her own choices.
Image: Sylvester Rodgers
He came into the limelight when he played a gay character in the serial Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin. He has always been passionate about drama and came to Mumbai with the intention of acting.
Rajesh has done some strong roles in serials such as Tara, Swabhimaan, Raahein, and Raahat. He ventured onto the big screen with Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa, followed by Josh, Taal, Tum Bin, Hu Tu Tu and Samay.
Image: Rajesh Khera
Sangram Singh was the winner of the Delhi Wrestling Championship from 2002 to 2007 and has won several other awards. He comes from a modest family in Haryana, and his determination to overcome the severe arthritis he suffered from and become a star wrestler is an inspiring story.
Sangram seems rather indignant at having to starve on the show.
"I have done a couple of reality shows like Katrhon Ki Khiladi and 100% De Dana Dan, where I didn't have to starve. So I was under the impression that I will get enough food after performing the tasks. It was really tough to survive without food. I lost 14 kilos during the show!"
How did his romance with co-contestant Payal Rohatgi begin? "Initially, I maintained a distance from her and other girls, too, but gradually we started speaking, liked each other and now we are dating."
One can't resist asking if the dating is just to boost the ratings of the show. "I am from a small town and am not someone who would use relationships to stay in the limelight," comes the severe reply.
Image: Sangram Singh