When Raghu Ram made Roadies 5.0 winner Ashutosh Kaushik ‘grovel’ for days after slapping Shambhavi

MTV Roadies’s journey began all the way back in the early 2000’s, when the tasks were a lot less edgy, grimy and difficult. For those who have kept with the adventure show, you might remember the earliest participants, including Rannvijay Singha from Season 1, who later became the host for 17 seasons as well as Ayushmann Khurrana. There has been a curious assortment of winners, and one of the most unique being Ashutosh Kaushik, who later went on to win Bigg Boss and then vanished from the public view.

It surprised several fans at the time, including his fellow contestants and Roadie creator Raghu Ram, that Ashutosh had reached the finals in Roadies 5.0. In the penultimate episode, Raghu had lashed out at Ashutosh, saying that he had barely done most of the tasks, and had somehow arrived at the finale. “Race mein bina daude, finish line pe kaise pahunche yeh koi tumse seekhe. Sachmuch tere bas ki kuch nahin hai. Shuruwat mein tumne bike gadde mein bhed di, langdata langdata yahaan tak aa gaya, aadhe tasks kiye bhi nahin, jin task kiya, mooh kaala karwake aa gaya (How to win a race without even participating in it, one should learn from you. You really can’t do anything. In the beginning, you managed to destroy your bike in a ditch, you limped here and then you didn’t do half the tasks. The ones that you managed to do, you embarrassed yourself).”

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Raghu wasn’t sparing with his words, keeping to the pattern of the show. How Ashu won the show is even more intriguing, as Raghu asked him and Nihaal (the other finalist) to pick ex-roadies for their team, who will ensure their victory. Once they chose them, Raghu played a trick, and swapped the teams. The new challenge was to convince their new (and extremely resentful) teams, to take on a couple of tasks. In one of the most controversial moments of the show, one person had to receive a slap from the other team.

Shambhavi went to get a slap from Ashu, but nobody expected that he would slap with such vehemence. In the behind-the-scenes footage, Raghu revealed his shock, and that they later allowed Shambhavi to slap him back, which wasn’t featured on camera. Later, Raghu expressed regret at the incident as some users questioned the show’s ethics. He told Rediff.com, “It was a mistake. In the finale, there were two boys left, and we brought back the rest of the Roadies for the last bit. And the point was for each of the boys to convince his teammates to do tasks that would make him win… Our guess was that people would not come forward to do the task, because there was enough animosity between them… But we were surprised when people started falling over themselves to do the tasks!”

He added, “Later, they told us that it was their last chance to prove themselves as a Roadie. Once the girl, Shambhavi, volunteered, we couldn’t interfere. They completely misread the situation and we didn’t anticipate it. I underestimated the power of the show on the psyche of the contestants. But later we apologised to her, made Ashu grovel for days, and got her to slap both Ashutosh and Nihal for good measure.”

Last year, Ashutosh sought ‘the right to be forgotten’ and and requested removal of some of the videos, photos and articles related to his drunk driving in 2009 from various online platforms. In an interview to Hindustan Times, he said that he had got ‘too much early on in life’ and admitted that ‘he hadn’t worked for it’. ” “I wasn’t ready for that I feel. I kept winning reality shows due to luck majorly and by God’s grace. I hadn’t really worked for it,” he said.

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