Archive for July 2009




I've just got off the phone with a reporter from India news – Shivangi Sahani – a sweet girl who wanted my quote on the ongoing Splitsvilla saga. I then received another call from Puneet, from the same channel, who wanted “my point of view” at 8pm for 5 mins.

Could I do a phone-in?

I asked him whether in the past, during phone-ins with other guests, the conversations had been edited so that just the juicy bits were aired and the boring bits were not.

He said, yes – this had happened in the past.

You see, the truth is boring. The truth doesn’t give you TRPs. Fantasy is so much more entertaining (not to mention, financially lucrative too).

When I said this to Puneet, he had very little to say. He (and his bosses) are very well aware what sells and what doesn’t. I guess being told point blank by me, that India news had everything to gain – and I had nothing, left him very little room to maneuver.

So I declined to do the phone-in, as I refuse to become another clown in this circus that the media companies are running. I instead intend to write my opinion here and express my point of view to people who matter, rather than the multitude that give these channels their ratings.

Before we take this one step at a time, one allegation at a time, lets just clearly understand that the basis for Swagata’s allegations are supposedly things she heard from Joanna. Why she has chosen to take Joanna’s words for gospel, I can’t understand – especially since she says Joanna’s a liar, a slut and a prostitute. I find Swagata’s comments disgusting and unfit for human consumption at any level in society.

Next, before we get into the allegations, I question motive. Every action has a motive. We know what the media’s motives are, but what are Swagata’s, Nalini’s and Varun’s?

Could their motive be “the truth”? Hmm… I wonder… truth, four months after the shoot finished and over a month since the final episode aired. “Truth” sought by a man who failed to tell MTV he was going through a divorce when he took part in Splitsvilla (I met his divorce lawyer at a hotel who told me his client was taking part in the show). It was too late by then to remove him from the show since most of it had been shot already.

Or maybe, a month after the show is over… some people have realised that the earth hasn’t paused for breath, the heaven’s aren’t heaving with the adulation of fans anymore, but life… theirs and the rest of the world’s, has just gone back to being whatever it was.

Boring.

That, in my opinion – is a far more powerful motive than the truth, at least as far as present company is concerned.

Here are the allegations:

Did Nikhil Chinapa ask for Sexual favours –

If someone can point out what the damn favour was that I returned, in exchange for sex… I might be able to say something about this. Till then, I’m as flummoxed as you are.

If I sought sexual favours from Joanna, why in God’s name did she not win the contest? When Varun Jhamb changed his vote – he effectively made Siddharth and Sakshi win. Why did we allow him to change his vote, if Joanna had “slept with the whole crew” ? Maybe it’s because the entire crew had slept with Sakshi and Sidharth too?? How ridiculous is that?

Besides what you see on air, there was zero interaction between the contestants and me. In fact, once while fishing at the riverside jetty, Raghu had asked me to move out of sight of the contestants. Apparently this was because, whenever the contestants saw Raghu / Rajiv or me, we would become the topic of discussion amongst them, and that took away from the Splitsvilla format… and the format required them to interact with each other, about each other, not with me or with any other member of the crew.

Swagata claims that the Director had said, “Mujhe Joanna se matlab hain, tumse nahin” –

This is really twisted, and you have to see in what context these words were said, because in a strange way – they were. Allow me to walk you through it, scene-by-scene.

We had just returned from the finale episode’s boxing match where Mohit’s nose had been broken and he was rushed to hospital. Joanna, meanwhile had a breathing attack and was rushed from the villa to the hospital as well. I was standing outside the hospital (I had gone to see how Mohit was) when the Qualis came speeding in and MTV Cameraman Kamal jumped out carrying Joanna – she was lying limp in his arms, with her mouth open and eyes shut.

After returning to the Villa, Rajiv and I were sitting in the verandah outside our quarters (we were in rooms up the hill, above the Splitsvilla that you saw on TV, and were only allowed on the lower decks when the crew was ready to film my bits with the contestants) and we heard a lot of screaming from the contestants Villa. Rajiv walki-talkied one of the producers to ask what the problem was – the producer replied to say that Swagata had started fighting with Joanna but the Director was sorting it out.

"What was the fight about", asked Rajiv… and this was the reply –

“She’s trying to get footage because she was eliminated so early in the competition.”, said the producer. Rajiv and I had a good laugh about it because a similar thing had happened on an earlier season of Roadies as well.

The Director, who was in the middle of the screaming match between Swagata and Joanna– had probably told Swagata, “mujhe Joanna se matlab hai” – and here is why.

Swagata and the remaining dumped contestants had been brought back to the Splitsvilla to vote for the winners – they were not aware of this yet. They were, in effect, passengers on the show. They had no other role to play.

The final day’s shoot had competitions that only Joanna, Sakshi, Mohit and Sidharth were taking part in. The doctor had specifically told the show’s producers that Joanna needed to rest… and here was Swagata, trying to get her goat instead.

The second problem was the following day was the last day’s shoot at Splitsvilla. The Villa had to be vacated, camera teams and hotel rooms were only available for one more day and return flights and trains had already been booked. The show’s Director could NOT afford to have Joanna (or any of the 4 finalists for that matter) in a hospital bed on the final day of shoot. The entire season’s finale depended on that.

Therefore, “Mujhe Joanna se matlab hai, tumse koi matlab nahin.”

Like I said, the truth is insipidly boring.

How was Joanna made queen in Episode 1 and why was Swagata eliminated:

The selection of the King and the Queen was done in an open vote by the rest of the contestants. However, they did not know they were in fact picking the king and queen – they thought they were picking the hottest guy and the hottest girl. This vote was clear as day for everyone to see and not engineered by crew as alleged at all.

Swagata was dumped by Mohit (not by Joanna or by the show Director)– again in an open vote. Mohit’s reason was, that though he had limited interaction with most other contestants, he had none with Swagata. Since he had to choose someone, he chose her.

Allow me to hypothetically wonder why Swagata may not have had any conversation or interaction with Mohit. Swagata claims (and this is on tape) that when she came to the Villa and looked at the rest of the girls, she considered only Joanna to be “competition”. She felt that the others weren’t good enough – and she was sure that she would win Splitsvilla hands down. It’s in all likelihood, this air of superiority that made her behave a little stand-offish… and led to her being dumped.

Did Joanna get extra footage –

Actually, the opposite is true. By virtue of Joanna and Mohit (and later Joanna and Sidharth) being queen and king, they were kept in another remote location, away from the rest of the contestants. This means that they actually got the least footage, except when they had to be present for competitions or for the dumping ground.

Joanna told Swagata she doped-

… and since Joanna told Swagata, it must be true? Even I have very little to say about this allegation – it just boggles my mind. Questions like where did she get it from, who paid for it (no contestants have access to money), who gave it to her etc are unimportant, because like I said, the truth is actually far too insipid.

Did Nikhil book a room for Joanna –

A little research would have told you who booked what for whom. I now know the truth about the room’s booking – and it involves two people who are friends of Joanna’s in Goa. They are a very prominent couple in Goa; however this is not their affair and it would be a pity if they were dragged into this sordid mess. I wish that the media had directly asked Joanna who booked the room.

They would find that after Splitsvilla finished, Joanna and some other contestants decided to stay back in Goa. I now know through the crew that the contestants themselves did this booking. Joanna in particular asked her close friend in Goa, to book her room. The rest of the crew and I had nothing to do with any bookings of rooms, post the shoot schedule..

The Pool Party –

There was a wrap-up / end-of-the-schedule party for the crew – there always is after an exhausting 40-day non-stop shoot schedule. There was a pool at the venue of this party– so let me ask you, if you’ve ever been to a pool party - what happens at one?

You get thrown in. It’s happened at every pool party I’ve ever been to – and it’s probably happened to you as well.

It started with the contestants throwing each other in – and then spread to the crew throwing each other in. The mood was light, fun and with general banter. It was a far cry from the sexual free-for-all pool orgy that the allegations have made them out to be.

Did the Director have Joanna in his room –

Joanna and Sidharth (and Mohit) were in another hotel 45 mins away from Splitsvilla. This is where the camera crews, sound crews and production crew (spotboys, lightboys, cooks, carpenters etc) were staying.

A few of the Splitsvilla crew members, namely the Director, the MTV supervisor, the line-producers and I, had 4 rooms on the hillside around 100 meters above the Splitsvilla building you see on TV. The Director shared his room with our D.O.P. (or Head Cameraman), as well as Raghu and Rajeev – that’s 4 people in 1 room. I had the smallest room to myself, (they treat the host well on this shoot!) where my wife visited most of the time, and the remaining two rooms were split between the male line-producers of the show and the female line-producers of the show.

As you can imagine, there was absolutely no question of Joanna and the show Director being in the same postal-code, let alone the same room!

Other Facts about Splitsvilla:

Other facts around the allegations that you are yet unaware of – I did return to Goa to play a DJ set at CafĂ© Mambos the weekend after the shoot was over. I was booked by the club 3 weeks prior and the event featured the contestants of the Miss India pageant, who made an appearance at the party.

All the contestants knew this very well, as several who were staying back in Goa had asked me where to go and what to do in Goa. I had given them names of my favourite shacks, bars, beaches and restaurants and had told them the best place to party was Mambo’s on the weekend and that I often played there as well.

The contestants did ALL dumpings and eliminations and they were through open votes. Nothing was done secretively or behind anyone’s back.

The selection of the King and Queen, the elimination of 4 people in the 1st episode, the return of 2 of those 4… was decided before the show began. Not the names, just the numbers. The two became three, as Meherzan fell ill and had to return home. The fact that Sakshi Bhayana was given the wild card and not Swagata was a matter of chance, not intent.

The competition for the King and Queen in episode 5 – was decided before the shoot – that the dumped contestants would all return for the last episode was also decided before the shoot. The entire shoot is planned before we start – what we cannot plan is what actually happens, who gets dumped, who wins, who falls in love or who will turn out to be a pathetic loser, craving that fleeting rush of undeserved publicity.

If you’ve read so far, I thank you for your patience and I hope this clears some of your doubts about what happened on Splitsvilla.

source:NIKHIL'S FANBOOK FROM FACEBOOK



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