Rannvijay’s wild studying curve for Zee Zest’s ‘Safari India’ and why he’ll miss being part of ‘Roadies’


Actor-host Rannvijay Singha meets forest officers, rangers and tribes throughout India’s nationwide parks to relate tales behind the safaris

“The idea was not to zipline down a rainforest and high-five a bear cub, but to respect the ecosystem and learn about the people involved in conservation,” says host and actor Rannvijay Singha, about his new present Safari India, The eight episode collection on Zee Zest makes an attempt to unravel hidden tales in seven of India’s nationwide parks.

In the primary episode, Rannvijay leads viewers into Arunachal Pradesh’s Pakke Tiger Reserve, the place rescued Asiatic bear cubs are rehabilitated on the Center for Bear Rehabilitation and Conservation. Access to this zone just isn’t simple and Rannvijay is conscious of the chance offered to him: “Having hosted shows that are high on adventure, the crews I work with usually take my word since they trust that I know what works. This time, I found myself learning something new in each national park.”

Reflecting on his hike through Pakka’s dense vegetation, he observes, “In Ranthambore, the deciduous and scrub vegetation is such that you get a clear view. But in Pakka, you wouldn’t know if an animal approached you from a few feet away. In a zoo, we watch the animals. But in the wild, we are being watched.”

Filming for Safari India After the intermittent lockdowns, he acknowledges, was liberating: “I was itching to get out. Now and then I was filming in safe bio bubbles (for web series and shows), but the freedom of being out and about was missing. Sometimes, it was liberating to just stop the vehicle and admire the dense jungles.”

Rannvijay Singha at Pakke Tiger Reserve

The collection additionally options tales from Jim Corbett National Park (Uttarakhand), Kaziranga National Park (Assam), Ranthambore National Park (Rajasthan), Gir National Park (Gujarat), Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary (Goa) and Dubare Elephant Camp (Karnataka).

“We wanted to go beyond the regular safaris and know about the lives of forest officers, rangers and the tribes,” says Rannvijay. “For instance, Pakke also taught me how members of the Nyishi tribe who earlier hunted hornbills and used their beaks to make the tribe’s traditional headgear, now make fibreglass headgear. They do not hunt hornbills any more. It is fascinating to know that a tribe has changed its traditional practice to protect the birds.” There were unexpectedly rewarding moments too, like being hugged by a bear cub and witnessing dolphins from close quarters in Goa.

In Gir, he recalls meeting women officers who patrol the jungle on their bikes and track lions. The lesser known story of Gir, he says, is about the hi-tech methods used to track and study birds and animals.

The learning, says Rannvijay, continued for him through the series. He talks about how he learn that the Brahmaputra floods is a method of natural selection and calls for the survival of the fittest even as rangers rescue stranded animals, and that the floods help the vegetation of the wetlands for the entire year. “Poaching has gone down in Kaziranga thanks to the proactive initiatives of the Government and forest officials. At Jim Corbett National Park, I learn tricks of wildlife photography. At the Dubare Elephant Camp, I witnessed how elephants are re-wilded or even cared for a lifetime by mahouts from the local tribes, and how the pristine waters of the Cauvery are conducive for mahseer fish.”

Rannvijay Singha

This studying curve, says the actor-host, is a key issue for him in taking on any challenge: “I don’t measure my career growth in terms of finances; I need to enjoy my work. I also want to be a part of people’s stories,” he says, referring to why he hosted Shark Tank India: “Since 2014, I have been investing in new companies, probably that is one of the reasons the team chose me.”

While Rannvijay is acknowledged extra as a bunch than as an actor, he asserts he’s equally open to the latter: “Acting happens in a more controlled environment where I have to emote to what someone else has written. I am enjoying that facet with my recent shows Sumer Singh Case Files (Voot), Mismatched (Netflix) and so on. I learn something new about myself in acting and I intend to take up more acting projects.”

He has acted in a couple of Hindi movies previously, however says the opening up of the digital house has paved the way in which for higher alternatives. Looking again at his tryst with cinema, he says, “Since I was busy as a host, I did not have to choose cinema for bread and butter, so my projects have been sporadic. I value a film like Mod where I learn from Nagesh Kukunoor and Elahe Hiptoola, irrespective of whether it did well at the box office.”

Before we wind up, the dialog veers in the direction of him parting methods with MTV Roadies after 18 years: “MTV is home and I will definitely miss being a part of Roadies, The schedules changed due to the Omicron wave. We tried to work it out but the dates did not match. That is the only reason and there is no masala story in me not hosting the new season.”

,Safari India airs on Mondays, 8 pm, on Zee Zest SD and HD, together with ZeeZest.com)



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