AXN contest winners to host 'Extreme Dhamaka'

MUMBAI: Seems like reality has finally come of age in India. While media might have pooh-poohed AXN's Hot 'n Wild contest as yet another beauty pageant, the action adventure channel may just be having the last laugh.

Embarking on their second biggest local production, a hybrid version of Who Dares Wins and Fear Factor, AXN is all set to begin shooting forExtreme Dhamaka from 21 September.

The channel has stated that the two lucky winners of Hot 'n Wild contest will get a chance to host Extreme Dhamaka. The contest is scheduled to be held on 20 September in Mumbai.

The channel has roped in ex-Australian cricketer and screen icon Mike Whitney and the Aussie model-cum-actress Tania Zaetta for its Extreme Dhamaka venture too. The two contest winners will host alongside these celebrities. It will pave the way for the biggest on-ground action and adventure initiative that India has ever seen, says a company release.

Taking a cue from the success of last year's AXN Who Dares Wins-India Special, which saw a large number of entries, the channel decided to launch the long awaited reality show, the release states.

Zaetta who was the host of Who Dares Wins for eight years, will be among the judges at the at the grand finals of Hot 'n Wild contest.

Speaking about the venture, AXN's assistant vice president (marketing and sales), India, Rohit Bhandari says, "We have been realizing the growing popularity of adventure shows in India, more so since the launch on Fear Factor here. With the response that we received for Who dares Wins last year, we realized that India is finally prepared for a dare show."

Bhandari, elaborates, "The entire effort is going be colossal in terms of logistical implementation. Both international and local expertise will be used to ensure maximum security during shoots. We will also make sure that the quality of production is on par with international broadcast standards,"

When asked about the budget, Bhandari refused to reveal figures but says that they have upped last year's special budget by almost 50 per cent. Scheduled to be shot from 21 September to 8 October, the special event for Extreme Dhamaka will take off on a six city tour in Delhi, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune and Mumbai. The televised version will go on air six weeks after the event, probably in December, the release says.

Bhandari adds that although the effort will be a one-off event aired as a special season, next year around, the channel will be coming up with yet another format especially for the Indian masses.

While the channel is skeptical about the nomination format of the show oversees, the Indian version will have people dared on the street just like last years AXN Who Dares Wins-India Special.

But unlike the relatively softer version, where Whitney approached unsuspecting Indians on the streets or at shopping malls daring them to attempt certain stunts, Extreme Dhamaka will be shot in stadiums throughout the country, with dares designed to be more demanding, severe and rigorous. The show will be presented by Hero Honda in association with Center Shock, Airtel and Nokia.

The highlight of Extreme Dhamaka will be the Main Dares which will be shot in India this year. The press release says, Main Dares will create some heart-stopping moments.

Speaking about the format Bhandari says, "Last year when we shot The AXN Who Dares Wins-India Special, we were sure Indians would enjoy participating in the street dares which were fun to do and not that severe. But the format of Extreme Dhamaka is based on three levels: first is the "can-able mini dare", which is a milder version and is not as challenging and gutsy as "mini-main dare", the second step. But the toughest one the "main dare". The dares are designed to put an individual's physical and psychological limits to the test."

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