On my pinboard

On my pinboard

Raghu Ram

Actor, TV host, executive producer and entrepreneur

Raghu Ram wears many hats and does justice to each. Often considered the ‘rudest’ man on television, he wears his opinions on his sleeve. By stripping the facade of contestants on a reality show, he changed the face of Indian television.

The executive producer of ‘MTV Roadies’ kickstarted his career by supervising many shows and moved on to acting in movies like ‘Tees Maar Khan’ and ‘Jhoota Hi Sahi’.

The warm person behind the angry face is unravelled through his book, ‘Rearview, My Roadies Journey’. He now owns a content and brand communications studio, ‘Monozygotics’, with his twin brother Rajiv Laxman.

1 Journey

Himalayan region
“Mountains fascinate me and it’s not just any mountain that I love. I love those that the Himalayan terrain houses. How can one explain the reason for loving the Himalayas? They are the best beacons of peace. My love affair with it started when I was very young, in school itself. Recently, I went to this place called Nahan, which is in the foothills of Himalayas. It’s a very picturesque town on the top of the Shiwalik Hills. It’s a haven for walkers and I love walking. So I took long walks at Chaugan, a bustling hub at Nahan. And during these walks, I met many wonderful people. One can see lakes, markets and temples dotting this town. The air is crisp there and the people are simple and friendly. It was totally a different world for me. I would love to plan another trip there but I don’t like travelling alone. So my next trip to the Himalayas depends on when my friends are free.”

2 Inspiration

Bruce Lee

“I find Bruce Lee a treasure trove of spiritual wisdom. He took the ideals of J Krishnamurti and it seems like Bruce Lee translated all that wisdom into martial arts. I find Bruce Lee more accessible and identifiable. Maybe Krishnamurti spoke to a different generation. The two talked of everyday concerns — the problems of living in modern society, violence and corruption and the search for security and happiness. Lee also claimed that his martial arts was a metaphor for such teachings.”

3 Sitcom

‘Frasier’

“The American show, ‘Frasier’ ran for 11 years and was created as a spin off of another show called ‘Cheers’. I stumbled up on the show once on television and then watched the entire show on YouTube. I don’ think there is any sitcom which came before or after that is able to match the level of intelligent comedy that ‘Frasier’ contained. It’s not slapstick. Frasier and his brother are a bunch of oddballs, complete losers and it’s very endearing to watch them. It’s a very different show and a treat in terms of performance and the way the script is written. Their refined, intellectual interests and high opinion of themselves are a big contrast to their father’s views and it’s hilarious to see how the family drama and humour plays out.”

4 Book

‘The Greatest’

“I am obsessed with non-fiction, mainly autobiographies. They inspire me to continue working and I would consider myself lucky even if I take a page from some legend’s life. My favourite is ‘The Greatest’ by Muhammad Ali, the boxer. I picked it up 13 years ago, from a book cart on a sidewalk in Mumbai. Do they still have such carts? I don’t know. But I still have the book with me. It’s in a bad shape beca­use I have lent it to so many people, hoping that they book will speak to them the way it did to me . The book now lies dog-eared in my house. Mohammad Ali is a hero in the true sense. It amazes me as to how he stood by his ideals at the cost of his career and family. He didn’t take the easy route to success; which is why I think youngsters should read this book so they know that there are no short-cuts in life. He stood against things which I st­and against today; such as religious and racial supremacy.”

5 Artiste

Michael Jackson

“I go through certain phases in terms of music. I’ve loved classical, folk and jazz at different points in my life but one of the singers who has always remained consistent on my charts is Michael Jackson. He is complete in terms of music and performance. He has raised the standard and set the bar so high that no one musician has been able to match his level to date. His experiments with music, style, performance and attractive stage presence are aspects which people have tried to emulate around the world but in vain. It’s not only the music but the entire experience of watching him perform is exciting. He has dominated the art, music and performance space. As children, my twin brother Rajiv and I used to imitate him. Rajiv used to dance and I have tried his ‘moonwalks’ but never did it perfectly. The song called ‘Human Nature’ is a very peaceful and special to me. His legacy will continue for a long time.”

6 Food

Indian cuisine

“I love Indian cuisine since that is what I have grown up with. My colleagues always get irritated whenever I go abroad as I am very restless if I don’t find any Indian restaurant. I need my ‘desi’ roti and rice. I went to South Africa once and didn’t leave any stone unturned until I found an Indian restaurant. My colleagues told me that I can eat Indian food once we go back but I didn’t relent. Finally, we found a restaurant called ‘Jewel of India’. However, it was closed. I begged the owner to open the restaurant.”

(As told to Anushka Sivakumar)

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