Hungry for stats

Hungry for stats

Mayur Sharma and Rocky Singh, popular food show hosts, will now anchor ‘Vital Stats of India’, which explains India’s diversity, writes  Asha chowdary.

Did you know the number of Indian viewers of the World Cup is more than the entire population of England, Australia and Sri Lanka? Or that we have three times the number of non-vegetarians in our country than there are vegetarians? Do you know the number of Bollywood films released in India every year? Have you any idea which on-screen Bollywood couple made most money for their producers in the history of contemporary cinema?

If any of the questions fascinated you, tune in to History TV18’s new show, Vital Stats of India, for answers. This six-part series explores and breaks down a host of interesting data to give viewers an overview of unusual facts.

Easy understanding

Its anchors, Rocky Singh and Mayur Sharma, in interaction with experts, present statistics through graphics that are easy to grasp, quirky and original. Known for their award-winning travel show and book, Highway on my Plate, it’s evident that the new show’s presentation in a light-hearted manner has been an exciting task for them.

“There is no place like India! If a foreign statistician were to land here, he would be absolutely awed by the enormity and diversity of our numbers. Be it demographics, languages, food, geography... Our nation is a treasure trove of great numbers and a statistician’s dream come true,” says Mayur, as he explains the show’s conceptualisation.

“Vital Stats of India was inspired by a similar show in the US called United Stats of America. Keeping the basic concept intact, we decided to bring it to Indian audiences by showcasing compelling statistics about our country and sharing stories around numbers relevant to us,” he adds.

They say the brief was simple. They had to make the statistics fun and easy to understand for the common man. Some of their visits were quite unusual. “We visited a cricket bat factory in Meerut that manufactures most of the bats used by our cricket team and tried to understand the craze for cricket here,” says Mayur. “I also remember the time we played at a casino in Goa to understand the traditional Indian mentality towards money.”

Rocky, choosing from his amusing anecdotes, adds, “While we were shooting for the SIZE episode, we met a few interesting basketball players and wrestlers. The tallest guy was 7 feet 1 inch tall. Mayur asked him to play basketball and the guy held the ball above his head, which was 9 feet from the ground. Mayur tried to get the ball, but couldn’t even come close to the man. Though I am a large sort of fellow, when I was wrestling with this ‘Super Wrestler’ guy, he held me above his head for 30 seconds with ease.”

Each show has a different format and has been executed to perfection. “Every episode is different, which is why it requires a lot of planning and preparation. Both of us had a lot of costume changes.

We worked with a team of researchers and, in fact, it is their hard work and fact-finding that has made our show interesting. We, as anchors, present numbers and data, and our aim is to bring to our audience exciting stories, geographical facts or some historical anecdotes around these statistics,” explains Mayur.

The bond they share

The two became friends as they were neighbours since the 70s. “We’ve practically grown up together,” he says. Their love for travel began in boyhood and today, Rocky is also a wildlife enthusiast,  and Mayur has travelled and hitch-hiked his way across 65 countries.
“We train organisations on leadership and communication.

We have been travelling extensively and that’s how we know many places in India. Our stint in television started when a certain channel wanted to cover the highway food options between Delhi and Amritsar. The producer was my friend and asked me for places to cover. I gave him so many details that he asked me to host the show for him. It took off from there,” explains Rocky.

Being foodies, they have sampled all kinds of cuisine, but for Mayur, his favourite will always be home-cooked Punjabi food. “But if I really had to choose from our cuisine discoveries, I would have to say it is a tie between Gujarati and Assamese food. However, our country’s unique flavours and recipes make it quite difficult to name just one,” he asserts.

According to them, a show like Vital Stats of India is must-see. “In India, it’s difficult to get statistics since there is no uniform statistical body,” says Rocky, adding, “Reliable sources are hard to find. It will be exciting for people to see specific statistics of our country that our team has worked very hard to get.”

As for their next grab, Mayur says, “Food is, of course, our first love on television, and we have a new show coming up shortly. We would like to dabble in concepts beyond food and travel someday.”

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