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Raghu Ram: I have started enjoying the process of acting and taking it seriously As his latest web series Jamnapaar is streaming on Amazon miniTV, that addresses the issue of socio-cultural difference and how constant validation and criticism from social media is affecting the mental health of the youth, in conversation with Entrepreneur India, the Ex-Roadies judge opens up.

By Arundhuti Banerjee

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Raghu Ram

Known for his stint as a producer and one of the judges in the popular reality TV show MTV Roadies, Raghu Ram is exploring different creative avenues as a show producer and actor. As his latest web series Jamnapaar is streaming on Amazon miniTV, that addresses the issue of socio-cultural difference and how constant validation and criticism from social media is affecting the mental health of the youth, in conversation with Entrepreneur India, the Ex-Roadies judge opens up.

The moment you utter the name Raghu Ram, two images pop up in your mind – MTV Roadies and a foulmouthed bald guy criticizing the participants whoever is the part of the show. However, with time, things has changed. After being one of the judges of the show for 146 episodes between 2003 to 2014,Raghu left the show. He started to explore different avenue as a creative person who has equal interest in the business and creative – both sides of the overall entertainment business.

Since then he wrote and produced the web series A.I.SHA My Virtual Girlfriend, and acted in various films and hosted non-fiction shows.

Recently Raghu played one of the pivotal roles in the latest released Amazon miniTV web series titled Jamnapaar. The show is created by Gaurav Arora and it features Ritvik Sahore as the protagonist of the show. Asked to share his experience of working in the show and if he enjoys acting as much as he enjoys hosting shows, Raghu told us, "Jamnapaar represents a milestone of growth for me as an actor. From auditioning for the role (generally, the roles offered to me have been written keeping me in mind), to understanding the character and his scope within the story, to working on bringing him to life as a flesh-and-blood person, each aspect of the process has been extremely instructive, and I feel has lead to growth as an actor. Apart from that, the calibre of actors I got to work with, the vision of the director that I submitted to, the creative and collaborative vibe on the set, all of these are things I thoroughly enjoyed and hope to get again in future projects."

In the past Raghu acted in Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif starrer Tees Maar Khan and John Abraham starrer film Jhootha Hi Sahi. He acted and sang song in the Tamil film Doctor, or which he was nominated for the Best Singer Award at the GIMA Awards 2012 for his song Manmani. He acted in the Telugu film Keedaa Cola.

He further added, "I have acted in quite a few films in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, and web series as well, but it is only now that I have started enjoying the process of acting and taking it seriously. This is an amazing time for actors because of the variety in the genres, stories and characters that one can be a part of. As an actor, I look forward to taking up many more projects and collaborating with as many creative mavericks as I can."

Interestingly, in his latest show also he is playing a personality who is idolized by the central character of the show, who comes from a middle-class household of Jamnapaar, East Delhi. It is due of his socio-economic background that despite achieving a lot in life, he feels judged and bullied by his friends. This is not a rare phenomenon now anymore, as many youth feels a constant pressure of social acceptance based on their super facial appearance. Raghu addressed the matter, "We all, at some level, struggle with keeping up appearances. This pressure is much more intense on youngsters. Things like the clothes you wear, the sneakers you rock, the car you drive, the body you have, even the house and the locality you live in, all are sources of insecurity and inferiority complexes, as we feel judged on these factors. Society, and especially your peer group, uses this to define you and situate you on a map of status and acceptability."

He also pointed out how such situation is affecting the mental health, which is quite alarming. "There have been enough studies done on the negative impacts of viewing the projected selves of their peers on Instagram and other social media on the mental health of youngsters. But even outside social media, in real life, the impact on young minds, in terms of self-image issues and depression, is pretty obvious," he said.

Earlier this year we saw Raghu and Rajiv came up with a quirky video in which they had an interaction with the judges of Shark Tank India. As turning creative idea into a profit making business is the first step towards entrepreneurship, asked to share few tips for any budding business man, Raghu said, "The Shark Tank video was a fun gimmick that was meant to promote the show. But as the creator of MTV Dropout Pvt. Ltd. almost 8 year ago, I have had the opportunity to interact intimately with both entrepreneurs and investors."

"The brains to think outside the box, the courage to venture out of your comfort zone, and the grit to not give up when the odds are mounting against you are three qualities that work both for Roadies and for entrepreneurs," he signed off.

Arundhuti Banerjee

Content Editor

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