The first thing that comes to your mind when somebody mentions his name is ‘MTV Roadies’ but there are so many things Raghu Ram has done and done so well. He is an actor, singer, writer, content creator and producer. In this exclusive interview, he talks about the new season of ‘A.I.SHA My Virtual Girlfriend’, being vocal about social and political issues, how ‘MTV Roadies’ took a toll on his personal life, wearing multiple hats as a creative person and upcoming show.
Apart from acting in the ‘A.I.SHA My Virtual Girlfriend’, you are also one of the producers of the show. How, do you think, the show has evolved in these three seasons?
I think this question should be posed to the viewers as they are the ones whom we have made the show for. As a creator, I am too close to the show and cannot be very objective about it. What I can tell you is that the scale has increased by leaps and bounds. The canvas is much bigger. When we started out, the concept of web shows was still very new to India. It was a small show coming out on a new platform. Thankfully, it got a lot from the viewers. This show has been syndicated by the big players. It has been brought by an OTT platform in France, and has been dubbed in Telugu, French and African languages. The show has come a long way and I feel very happy about it.
What is the kind of content your company is interested in producing?
I have always liked creating content for the youth. What we are good at doing is create clutter-breaking, sustainable, multi-season properties aimed at a young audience. ‘MTV Roadies’ is the longest running realty show and ‘A.I.SHA My Virtual Girlfriend’ is the longest running fiction show in the country. We believe in creating something novel and interesting.
In India, we barely make sci-fi films. How did the thought of creating a sci-fi show come to you?
For me, it is not a sci-fi but a human story. It is actually a girl-meets-boy story. The girl in the show is the internet. The best stories are human stories. We were just excited at the thought of telling a different story.
You had written an autobiography called ‘Rearview: My Roadies Journey’ a few years back. Would you like to write another book at a later stage in your life?
At the heart of it, the book was about a boy who was bullied all his life. It is not condoning bullying but condoning fighting back against bullying. To be able to write another book, I must be able to live a life which is worth being written about.
Things are going well on the personal front too. You got married in December last year.
Yes, I am in a very happy space right now. I keep telling my friends that “ab main action hero se romantic hero ban chukka hoon”. My first marriage did not work as I gave too much importance to work at that point of time. I will not let that happen again. I am extremely grateful for Natalie.
You are very vocal about your views on politics and social issues.
I am an atheist. I believe things like homosexuality and atheism are stigmatised in our society and one must work towards removing these stigmas. If a gay man or a woman who is a public figure and is successful, comes out of the closet, a lot of people will be inspired to do the same. Liberals must come out and take a stand against conservative hate. If you are a public figure, you are a soft target. I think politics really divides people. I am definitely vocal about my liberal values. I do it because I feel people who are like me who look up to.
Do you plan to join active politics in the near future?
No, I have no such plans. The only reason I supported a political party because it was made up of civilians and not regular politicians.
You are no longer a part of ‘MTV Roadies’ but a lot of people who grew up watching the show would always associate the show with you.
A large part of my autobiography was devoted to my stint with ‘MTV Roadies’. It has been a defining chapter in my life. It gave me a lot but also took away a lot from me. My health suffered, my marriage broke down and a lot of other bad things happened. I feel I left the show at the right time. It is important for a creative person to try out different things, otherwise he ends up getting stagnant. Leaving ‘MTV Roadies’ and doing something completely different was scary but I am glad everything has worked out so well.
You have acted in films too.
As an artist, I try and express yourself in different ways. I sing, have written a book, act, produce shows and do a few other things. I have never really planned anything. I have not done a film in a while but if I get a good offer, I will go back to the medium again.
You had shot for Abbas Tyrewala’s ‘Mango’ a couple of years back.
Yes, It was a good film but unfortunately, it did not release.
What are you doing next?
I am producing a web reality show for Amazon Prime Video. If you missed the Raghu from ‘MTV Roadies’, you might just like what I am doing here.