"They Gave Us 5,000 Rupees For Every Kilo We Lost, We Survived On 5 Almonds A Day!" - VIVA

Shreemi Verma , 08 Jan 2016

So I was stalking a few friends on Facebook because they attended a very fancy wedding recently, and one of them shared this old interview of the VIVA girls. Remember how we (mostly girls born in the ’90’s and early 2000’s) were obsessed with India’s first female band? So this blogger Ashish Kate did a no-holds-barred interview with the girls in 2014 which I happened to read today and dude, it’s candid AF! Here are a few excerpts.

On why VIVA disbanded –

Anushka: Firstly, our contract expired. We started talking about what we should do; should we carry on or not. With Channel V we were stipend employees. We did a few shows towards the end where we actually made some fucking money. We made like 45,000 per show, each.

Mahua: No man, it was two and a half lacks.

Anushka: Per show Mahua. (Laughs) You keep quiet. We used to get 25,000 per month minus TDS (Tax deducted at source). Fucking TDS. They said the money that comes into your account will depend on how much weight you lose.

Pratichee: No that’s what happened. I’ll tell you. They were trying to get us to lose more weight. So they gave us an incentive of 5,000 rupees for ever kilo we lost. Anushka’s fine. Mahua has stopped eating. Neha is running some 100 miles a day.

On their management’s obsession with weight loss –

Neha: There was viciousness about the way they dealt with us, which got worse. Like this body thing, took me 7-8 years to get over it. I’m okay now.

Pratichee: I’m still dealing with it. (Laughs)

Neha: Yeah. And it was done to all of us. I mean, not Anushka. (Laughs) She’s thin. She had to deal with other things. But we all had to deal with it. I don’t know if I told you all this, but Amar Deb (creative head) zeroed in on me and showed me where I had fat on my stomach.

Pratichee: Oh my God. I mean no one’s allowed to do that.

Mahua: He touched you?

Neha: No. showed me on our videos. I came home and lost it; fainted at night. I really wanted to die. I gave him “Maa-Behen” gaalis and left the room. The point is: it came to a point where “why are we even doing this?” 

Neha Bhasin, Pratichee Mohapatra, Mahua Kamat, Anushka Manchanda
Neha Bhasin, Pratichee Mohapatra, Mahua Kamat, Anushka Manchanda

On never being considered a part of the fraternity –

Mahua: I haven’t been in the scene, personally.

Anushka: VIVA, no. All these people, they called us plastic.

Pratichee and Anushka: “Manufactured band”.

Neha: Everyone was waiting on us to fail. People thought we were talentless. I still don’t know who that person was but I’m searching for him…

Pratichee: (Interrupting) Mid-Day guy.

Neha: No the Mid-Day guy later became a friend and I fucking bombarded him. People had declared we’ll fail. To our faces. We were happy being with each other. We worked hard. Fucking 7: 00 AM to midnight. And no food.

Mahua: 5 Almonds. Fucking 5 almonds. (Laughs)

Anushka: (Laughs) And Anjali Mukherjee, do you remember? She made us sick. Let’s just say it on tape.

Neha: So many fucking pills.

Neha: People should know what happened.

Pratichee: You threw your pills? Me too. But my sister told me not to touch that. Sona really put her foot down.

Anushka: Sona Mohapatra is your sister?

Pratichee: Yes dude. (Laughs)

Mahua: I hate butter. I hate bread. But they took it away man. Now I wanted bread and butter. (Laughs) Four in the morning.

Neha: I still remember, Mary-Didi would come: “Neha, Mahua ne pura bread ka packet kha liya” (Laughs madly).

On whether their songs were personal –

Anushka: Oh hell no. Not from the first album. We did form attachments to some songs that we liked. We loved “Jaago Zara”.

Interviewer: What was the one on the beach? Where you cutlets walked around with umbrellas.

Mahua: (Sings in a nasal voice)…ho pyar ka mausan.

Anushka: (Yells) I hated that song. I hated that recording. I fucking cried.

Mahua: (In tune) Paa-Poo-Pee my ass. (Laughs).

This is definitely the most candid celebrity interview I have ever read.

Read the entire interview here.

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