Part love letter to his wife, actress Deepika Padukone, and partly a feat of bravado, Ranveer Singh's episode of Man vs Wild with adventurer Bear Grylls takes him to the jungles of Serbia in search of a rare flower. Whether the actor is rappelling off a steep cliff or devising ways to escape a Brown Bear, his sense of humour keeps the tone light. The episode takes place over 36 hours and owing to Singh's ability to pull out a quip or a motivational quote for every occasion, time passes a lot quicker. In particularly tricky situations, the interactive Netflix special offers viewers the choice of what Singh should do next. Some options have a major impact on the plot — get the actor to inch his way between two mountains instead of rappelling down one, and you've wasted precious time he could've spent cutting a path across the forest later on. Other choices make little difference to the overall outcome — get Singh to toss a bear an apple instead of playing dead, and the animal will devour it so fast, he'll have no time to think of an alternate plan and will have to play dead anyway.
Here are the best moments from the episode:
Slowly inching his way across two cliff faces on a zipline, Singh dangles precariously over a sheer drop to the bottom, looks directly into the camera and pauses to recite a rhyme that has just come to him. "Tanga hua tera bhai, Bear kar raha hai ghai, neeche bahut bahut gehra khai, ek galat kadam aur Ranveer bye-bye. Phool ke liye karna hai try," he says. His poetic inclinations come back to haunt him later on, when he reaches his checkpoint late, finds out his GPS has died before it could give him a read of the area and then eventually rues wasting time by "talking smack into the camera."
At the end of a long and tiring day one, both men decide to spend the night in the open forest, but not before Grylls covers Singh in a heap of dead leaves for warmth. "Just one small detail…I need to cuddle," says Singh. "Bring the wolves in," retorts Grylls. Undeterred, Singh rolls over and wraps the adventurer in a hug before the two of them pass out from sheer exhaustion.
By the second day of his expedition, Singh has developed an unflappable sense of calm, joking about looking like an action hero and warning ad-filmmaker Karan Kapadia that he may need to pick his jaw up from the floor after watching him in action. His bravado disappears quickly, however, after Grylls asks the men to decide which one of them should distract a pack of wolves feeding on a pig carcass so that the other one can steal it. The two spend a while bickering about who should do the job until the job falls to viewers. Choosing Singh unleashes a vision of the actor dancing vigorously near the pack. This somehow works, the wolves depart, and Kapadia snatches what the men hope will become their first meal in the forest. Unfortunately, they'll soon find out that the only edible part of the pig is its testicles.
The men get a fire going to cook pig testicles — not a particularly romantic setting for the actor to talk about falling in love, but he makes it work. "It was love at first spectacular sight," he says of meeting Padukone for the first time at a Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela script reading session, held at director Sanjay Leela Bhansali's house. Singh says he heard the doorbell ring, looked up and saw the actress sweep into the room dressed in all white, her hair flying in the breeze. He was smitten instantly. Six months into their relationship, he knew this was it for him.
Pulling himself up a mountain inch by inch, Singh starts off strong but finds his strength sapping. He tries to reinvigorate himself by chanting, "Jai Bajrang Bali" and gets Grylls to join him, but after two days of mimicking action-hero poses and greeting every challenge with a can-do spirit, he finds that his body can no longer keep pace with his mind. Grylls reaches first and offers words of motivation, but by the end, only Singh can push himself up. "I will not fail now," he grunts. "I will not be stopped." Exhausted, he gets to the top, collapses on the rock face and sobs. Singh has discovered an inner strength he didn't know he had, he later says to the camera.