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‘I just got lucky’

After three gruelling weeks of braving death-defying stunts in Rio de Janeiro, Shootout at Lokhandwala man Shabbir Ahluwalia — “Shabbo Rani” for host Priyanka Chopra — beat 12 other khiladis to win the Khatron Ke Khiladi title. t2 caught up with the khiladi of the hour…

Khatron Ke Khiladi ka sabse bada khiladi. How does that feel?

I never thought I would come this far on the show, leave alone win. So yes, it has been pretty unexpected and I feel super. I just got lucky. I’ve rarely won a competition in my life, so this is pretty major for me.

You were the most consistent performer on the show and yet you say your win was unexpected?

That’s because everyday was a constant see-saw. Whether you stayed in the competition or were shown the door depended on just one stunt. It was a question of milliseconds or millimetres. Like Rahul (Bose) was the best khiladi in one episode and he was eliminated the very next day. I would still say that I got very lucky on the show. It could have been anyone — particularly Dino (Morea) or Ritwik (Bhattacharya) who were in the finals with me — in my place. God just decided to be in my team that day (laughs).

When did you first realise that you had a chance to win Khatron Ke Khiladi?

In the final 10 seconds of the final stunt. Before that I thought it was going to be either Dino or Ritwik.

Did you go in with any strategy in mind?

There was really no time to think of a strategy because we would be told about the stunts on the day itself and were given just 15 minutes to prepare. I just took each day as it came and enjoyed myself as much as I could. I have always been big on adventure. Going under a train, banging a bike into a wall, jumping off a building, give me that kind of stuff to do and I will literally jump into it. My idea of a dream holiday would be to go skydiving and bungee jumping (smiles).

You never seemed to be afraid of anything...

When I went into Khatron Ke Khiladi, I thought that I would come across something that I would be terrified of. But fortunately or unfortunately, there was no stunt that really scared me or made

me think twice. I am not saying that I have no fears, but I guess

I am still unaware of them (laughs).

Looking back, what worked for you?

Luck played a very important role. I think I was a little more focused than many of the others. I also have a lot of physical stamina. And I think I won because I really enjoyed myself without thinking of the pressure of winning.

Which were the stunts that you really enjoyed doing?

The stunts in the finale were very challenging. Then there was an episode where we had to cycle from one moving truck to another balancing ourselves on a thin plank. As the show progressed, the stunts got bigger and more dangerous and I kind of liked that. It pumped me up and egged me on.

Any stunt that you wouldn’t want to repeat?

I think the one in which we were zipped up in this suit which contained thousands of insects was pretty traumatic. Given a choice, I would never want to go near that suit again!

Who else do you think had a good chance of winning?

Dino and Ritwik for sure. After getting eliminated in the first episode, Milind (Soman) came back very strong. Gattu (Abhishek Kapoor) was very good. He used to think each stunt through very carefully. Each of us had our own strengths. We were a dream team. And with Priyanka around, it was even better. She was actually one of the boys. The name she gave me — Shabbo Rani — has kind of stuck (laughs).

Will this win open up more doors for you?

I really don’t know. I hope so. But at the moment, I am just savouring the experience.

What next for Shabbir Ahluwalia?

There is a project in the pipeline which is completely different from anything that I have done so far. All I can say is that it will be a perfect follow-up to Khatron Ke Khiladi.

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