It's a test of toughness

It's a test of toughness

telly review

It's a test of toughness

After being bombarded with a rash of dance and music reality shows on the small screen, or a stray adrenalin-pumping adventure show here and there, here comes a fully loaded fitness reality show. Making an appearance on &TV, India’s Asli Champion…Hai Dum! claims to be a complete fitness show that goes beyond the concept’s superficial yardsticks, of brawny bods or six-pack abs, to delve deeper into core fitness and toughness. So, here’s a show geared to test not just the contestants’ physical fitness but also mental toughness. It’s all about pushing the boundaries of endurance.

After being treated to stars of the grooving kind on dance and music reality shows, it’s a treat to watch ‘stars’ of a different kind. For, the real stars of this show are as rooted in reality as much as fitness. Twelve fitness freaks are pitted against each other, six guys and six girls, to zero in on a man-woman duo who will make the grade in all tests of strength to emerge the asli champs.

So, the cast of contestants throws up a mixed bag drawn from fields as diverse as swimming, athletics, martial arts, football and other such sports. There is Kavita Kolapkar, a finalist in the Commonwealth and Asian Games, rubbing shoulders with Gurleen Kaur, a Wushu fighter. The guy gang has well-known athlete Sunil Menon pitted against Niraj Rao, a professional footballer. Then there are Sanjay Negi, a Devil’s Circuit Champion and Ultra Obstacles winner, Supa Parveen, athlete and a farmer’s daughter who aspires to represent India internationally, and Swati Chauhan, a model and international-level swimmer, among others.

But the showstopper of this telly test of toughness is none other than a Bollywood icon of fitness himself, Suniel Shetty, who with his brawny bod, chiselled beard and moustache and swanky style could give younger hunks on telly a run for their money. Popular in tinsel town as ‘Anna’, he makes a TV comeback after the days of Biggest Loser Jeetega to host and mentor contestants on this fitness show now.

Invoking the might of Lord Shiva with the clarion call of ‘Har Har Mahadev’, Shetty gets the show going by tossing out the ‘Anna Ka Chokanna Challenge’. In roping in one of the pioneer fitness icons of Bollywood, the show can be said to have delivered a casting coup. To further garner eyeballs with a touch of glam, the show tosses out a guest appearance by Shetty’s daughter Athiya and her co-star Sooraj Pancholi.

In terms of the setting too, the show is a visual delight as it has delivered a unique stage to play out the fitness challenge. A champion’s village for the contestants has been carved out close to Vagator Beach in North Goa, studded with all the fitness amenities like gym equipment, swimming pool, cycling tracks etc. Celebrity fitness trainers Vrinda Mehta and Shivoham add value to the show in their role as mentors to the contestants.

Talking of format, the show engages and keeps up the motivation quotient, as each week the best performer is chosen the captain. The format of winning of medals offers instant gratification that notches up the morale. Their ultimate test will be based on a triathlon — a combo trail of swimming, cycling and running.

When all the walk and talk is about serious stuff like strength and fitness, thoda comic relief toh banta hai (some comical respite is called for). Sure enough, popular comedian Paritosh Tripathi, with his gags, dishes out the much-needed comic relief as he plays ‘Anna Ka Chaukanna’.

So, as many a fitness belief converges with comic relief on a coastal stage, it makes for a reality show that offers couch potatoes, hooked to song and dance dramas, a sea change!

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