When New York director Kabir Khan left with his two young children to join his wife, Mini Mathur, in the Malaysian jungles, little did he know what was in store for them.
“I took my kids to join their mom who’s the anchor on the reality show ‘Iss Jungle Se Mujhe Bachao‘ because my kids love the outdoors and are very adventurous. But I think the whole thing got a bit too adventurous for all of us.”
On Tuesday, just when Kabir was preparing to leave the jungles with the children, rebellion broke out among the contestants. And for a while Kabir’s wife Mini was traceless. “My kids and I were not in the jungles with the contestants and my wife. We were staying on an island 15 minutes away. On Tuesday, when we prepared to join Mini in the jungles, we were told the boats had stopped plying between our resort and the jetty to the jungle. No one could tell us why.”
Kabir was in a state of panic. “We had no information about what was happening on the island. All kinds of conflicting reports were coming in. My wife’s cell phone didn’t work in the jungle. For a while it was all very confusing and scary.”
Only later did Kabir get to know that his wife was safe. Chaos prevailed on the location of ‘Iss Jungle Se Mujhe Bachao‘ when 7 of the contestants decided to suddenly leave the show in protest against the cruel experiments that Akashdeep Saigal was subjected to. Only MTV Roadie Palak Kaur and Fiza (of Chand fame) decided to stay in the hope of sharing the prize money.
After intense imploration the 7 rebellious contestants again returned to the show late on Tuesday night upon being assured they’d be served decent meals. Kabir thinks the contestants were justified in protesting. “I could see the conditions in the jungle were far more intense and nerve-wracking than they look on television. What I saw the participants doing in ‘Iss Jungle Se Mujhe Bachao’ was far more grueling than their counterparts did in the original version of the show.”
Kabir thinks what he saw happening on location for the reality show was far more interesting than the show itself. And yes, he may do a script on the prevalence of reality shows and how they affect our lives.
Though he was frightened for his wife, Kabir’s kids had a ball. “My son Vivaan is 6 and my daughter Sairah is just 10 months old. Everyone who hears I took them to the Malaysian jungle on my own is aghast. But if I didn’t, my wife would’ve killed me. Besides my kids are true adventurers. Sairah means a happy traveler. And she lived up to her name.”
The pertinent question at this moment is, what prompts people to take on the risk of losing lives limbs and dignity in these reality measures? And are the safety measures adequate?
A spokesperson from Sony Entertainment says, “The contestants on ‘Iss Jungle Se Mujhe Bachao’ were made to do nothing that was not done by their counterparts on the international version. The conditions in the jungle make the participants edgy and hyper. They freaked out when Akashdeep put his head into a jar with vermin, insects and snakes and came out all bitten and bruised. However, all safety measures are ensured. And none of the creatures are poisonous. The contestants have now returned to the location.”