Priyanka's men ready!


By Hindustan Times

Mumbai, Aug. 6 -- It's finally official. As you read this, actors Rahul Bose, Rahul Dev, Milind Soman, Dino Morea, Karan Singh Grover, Shabbir Ahluwalia and Manjot Singh are preparing to perform dangerous stunts with Priyanka Chopra on the third edition of Khatron Ke Khiladi.

Heading to Copacabana in Brazil, they will be accompanied by choreographer Terrence Lewis, race-car driver Armaan Ebrahim, squash player Ritwik Bhattacharya and director Abhishek Kapoor.

BCCI pulled the plug on the Colors show in May, a month after the channel suggested the names of seven cricketers: Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, S Sreesanth, Harbhajan Singh, Brett Lee, Shane Warne, Virender Sehwag as participants on the 'special' edition of Khatron Ke Khiladi, which was part of the IPL-Entertainment package.

According to industry sources, the suspended IPL commissioner Lalit Modi had inked a deal of approximately Rs 100 crore (Rs 35-30 crore to be paid every year) with the channel to create cricket-related entertainment programmes to promote the IPL throughout the year. After Modi was suspended, BCCI pointed to a clause in the players' contract that prohibited them from performing any activity in public domain that would put their life at risk, including bungee jumping. The cricketers' names were taken off the show.

Right mix

Speculation pointed to various actors like Arjan Bajwa, Harman Baweja, Gulshan Grover and Arya Babbar as alternatives, but none accepted the offer. When asked to comment, Ashwini Yardi, head of programming, Colors, says, "Finding the right mix of contestants is important for a show to succeed. Every contestant we have on board brings something different to the table.

Without mentioning names, I can say that either Priyanka or the difficult tasks intimidated the ones who declined the offer. Besides, only the fearless will accept a show like this."

Since the channel and Endemol, the production house that helms the show, were left with little time before the shoot, was finding the "right mix" a task in itself? Yardi believes it wasn't, given the brand value the show carries.

"We were determined to start our show as per the original schedule and we succeeded. We also ensured that we didn't compromise on the participants' profiles. Each contestant has been chosen keeping in mind the increased level of difficulty this season," she says.

It's also rumoured that the contestants will be paired with female celebrities on the show. Yardi refuses to reveal anything, saying, "We've kept a lot under wraps, including a surprise male contestant. You wouldn't watch the show if I disclosed everything to you, right?"