Rousing finish to AXN's 'Hot'n' Wild' search

MUMBAI: Hot 'n' sizzling swimwear! Russian babes trying to keep their hats on! Catcalling! Long legs! The finale to AXN's Hot 'n' Wild contest had all this and then some.

(From L to R) Whitney, Sharma, Acharya and Zaetta

On Saturday night at Mikanos in downtown Mumbai, Salil Acharya and Deepica Sarma were crowned the AXN hot and wild couple. The search took almost two months and saw 5000 entries.

While the eight contestants were in the limelight, the audience's eyes popped at the sight of a four woman Russian dance troupe who danced to show biz tunes. The variety was delectable from Tom Jones' You Can Keep Your Hat On to a jazz number straight from the Cotton Club. For readers who don't know, the Cotton Club was a favourite hangout of gangsters in the 1930s.

After a slow start with the finalists initially being asked repetitive questions, things started picking up. There was a costume and a swimwear round. These tested the participants on the parameters of looks, glamour, communications skills and screen presence.

However, the highlight of the evening was the Dare Anchoring round where the contestants had use their persuasive skills to entice members of the audience to participate in simple dares. These ranged from performing headstands to walking on one's toes for around half a minute.

For the finalists, the challenge was to walk the line between being firm and being polite. The finalists were evaluated on the basis of audience management, spontaneity and presence of mind.

The judges included SET's executive VP, sales and revenue management Rohit Gupta, the hosts of Who Dares Wins former Australian test cricketer Mike Whitney, Australian model Tania Zaetta and AXN's VP marketing Gregory Ho. Right now Deepica, Salil, Whitney and Zaetta are touring the country hosting AXN Extreme Dhamaka.

This is an enhanced version of last year's localised Who Dares Wins India Special and will also feature main dares. It also introduces elements from another reality show that airs on the channel Fear Factor. Mumbai will be the last stop of the six city tour sometime in the second week of October as this is the biggest market for the channel.

Zaetta said, " To successfully anchor a show like this you first of all have to check your ego at the doorstep. This is a team effort. You have to be prepared to dirty your hands in order to get the job done. You also have to love interacting with different kinds of people and learn to get along with a divergent array of personalities."

In order to prepare for Saturday the finalists went through grooming sessions conducted by choreographer Achla Sachdev, Elle's fashion editor Mohan Neelkanth, haircare specialist Savio Pereira and Kaya Skin Clinic.

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