Rahul Dua has replaced Rannvijay Singh Singha as the host of Shark Tank India in Season 2, currently airing on Sony Entertainment Television. The popular stand-up comedian believes in giving his best in whatever challenge he’s faced with and trying out new fields.
Rahul tells The Telegraph Online how he landed the gig and bonded with the Season 2 panel of Sharks — Anupam Mittal (founder-CEO, Shaadi.com), Aman Gupta (co-founder and CMO, BoAt), Namita Thapar (executive director, India Business, Emcure Pharmaceuticals), Vineeta Singh (CEO, SUGAR Cosmetics), Peyush Bansal (co-founder and CEO, Lenskart), and this season’s new entrant Amit Jain (CEO and co-founder, CarDekho Group).
The Telegraph Online: Shark Tank India Season 1 made the right noises. When the makers reached out to you for the Season 2 auditions, what were your thoughts?
Rahul Dua: Season 1 was a huge success, and I was part of the huge viewership that it gained. While watching it, I didn’t think I would be hosting Season 2. When they reached out for the auditions, I was super excited. I am one person who doesn’t believe in doing just one thing. I do comedy but there is more to me than comedy. I think it’s acting, hosting, film direction, editing, and more. I was sure of one thing — that I must be very good at. I had no idea whether Rannvijay (Singh Singha, who hosted Season 1) was part of it or not. I didn’t know who else auditioned for it. I thought the makers would need a co-host or another host for a different segment. The only thing that was on my mind was that I must do my best.
As TV show hosting is something that you had not ventured into before, how did you prepare? Does this hosting gig mark a lot of your firsts?
Rahul Dua: Yes, a lot of firsts! I am looking forward to the new audience and new opportunities. I won’t get any sleep on the day of the launch. I am super excited. With rewards come challenges but I am clear that I shouldn’t lose my essence and creative energy. Since this is my first mainstream TV project, I was not adequately prepared. I didn’t know how long the shoot was. Till now, I knew how to do stand-up comedy, now I know how to crack jokes as a host.
How did you balance your live performance schedule and shooting Shark Tank India Season 2?
Rahul Dua: I took a break. We shot from mid-August to mid-November. I had to say no to many gigs as our season starts in August and continues till March. Shark Rank India was a huge opportunity coming my way, so I had to. I want people to know that I want to host and act. (Smiles) I am on a tour till March. Everything is welcome after that.
Tell us about your bonding with the Sharks on the sets.
Rahul Dua: I was in complete awe of the Sharks. Not only in their fields of work but these guys are powerhouses of knowledge. Everyone has their own set of qualities that defines them. Namita (Thapar) is at the helm of an empire, yet she is always on time. Peyush (Bansal) has great clarity of thought. Anupam is full of knowledge. I learnt from each of them and gradually they made me feel at home. Initially, I was a bit taken aback but then they started to chat with me while having tea on the sets. Later, we partied together as well. I can say that I have a good rapport with all of them.
A section of Shark Tank India fans have expressed displeasure about entrepreneur Ashneer Grover’s absence from the Season 2 panel…
Rahul Dua: Honestly, I only consumed Season 1 as a viewer, so there is no component missing. I come from a Punjabi family, so for me, the more the merrier but ultimately it was the channel’s call.
You have come a long way from stand-up comedy to hosting TV shows. What’s your advice for people who are starting out?
Rahul Dua: If you want to be successful, don’t be like Rahul Dua because I am not happy with myself. (Smiles) It needs a lot of hard work, talent and luck but I don’t follow any discipline now. I tried to imbibe the good qualities of the Sharks. Despite having a long day, Vineeta (Singh) would go for a run. I am trying to get better at it. My piece of advice for those who are starting out would be to just keep at it. Everybody is different. My feedback doesn’t matter. Every style is different. Take part in open mics and record it to check what you did right and what went wrong. Hard work beats talent, said Kobe Byrant (the late American basketball champion). Keep doing it — that’s my only success mantra.