Reality TV's favourite star Rakhi Sawant is likely to get married on air.
Rakhi Sawant, I think, is offended when I suggest that her latest tryst with reality television might be a farce. “No, of course not,” she retorts. Sawant, as most TV buffs know, is all set to tie the knot on, what else, but reality television. On Rakhi Ka Swayamvar, a one-hour show on NDTV Imagine that airs from Monday to Friday, Sawant hopes to find the man of her dreams. “I will marry towards the end of the show,” she claims, even as her journey towards selecting a suitor through a swayamvar is being shot in the fort palace of Fatehgarh. “I am a positive person and I am looking forward to a beautiful married life ahead,” Sawant adds solemnly.
Not surprisingly, the idea of finding a husband on television came from Sawant herself. And our desi Jade Goody promises that she loves the idea of “so many people dying to marry me”.
Even before Rakhi Ka Sawayamvar started telecasting, people were curious about it. And with its first episode itself, the show managed to grab eyeballs and nearly lifted the fortunes of NDTV Imagine, a general entertainment channel that has been facing stiff competition from its rivals, Star Plus, Zee TV and Colors. According to experts, as far as Indian TV is concerned, Rakhi Ka Swayamvar has had one of the best opening ratings ever. And audiences aren’t just sitting glued to their TV sets but the programme is also generating intense conversations around it.
“Imagine was glad to be part of this amazing real life celebrity swayamvar and shaadi on TV and the success of such a show is there for everyone to see,” says Nikhil Madhok, vice president (marketing and communications), NDTV Imagine. Simply put, the show has definitely proved beneficial for NDTV Imagine and the contestants have suddenly becoming the centre of everyone’s attention. Manmohan Tiwari, the brusque lad from Rishikesh, is fast becoming a household name, while Elish Parujanwala is racing up the charts to become a favourite. Then there’s Luv Khanna who straddles two professions, engineering and modelling (he looks better suited for the latter though) with equal ease. But doesn’t it bother Sawant that a majority of these suitors (barring Parujanwala, perhaps) don’t have the sort of financial wherewithal that she has? “God has given me enough money. All I want is a caring and loving husband. He should be financially independent,” she claims, and then adds, “It doesn’t matter how much he earns.” But don’t the contestants think that Sawant will be a high-maintenance wife, simply because of her profession? Khanna is candid: “Rakhi is aware of the fact that we (the contestants) at this point in time cannot match her status. She has always maintained that she would like her groom to be independent, that’s critical.” Needless to say, all the contestants, including Tiwari and Parujanwala, promise to “love her, care for her and give her all that she deserves and much more”.
Produced by SOL Productions, the show, promises Madhok, will end “with a big bang; a culmination of a marriage”. On her part, Sawant has mentioned several times on the show that she wants her wedding ceremony to be a memorable one. That explains why a host of celebrities from the small screen are reaching Fatehgarh, to help Sawant make an informed, intelligent choice while choosing her life partner. There’s a clinical psychologist on call too, while designer Neeta Lulla and jewellery expert Farah Khan are already busy designing Sawant’s trousseau, including outfits “in shades of red, pink and orange” for different ceremonies.
As Sawant spills the beans on her controversial life on the show (including dancing at bachelor parties, getting slapped by her now- estranged father and doing many more objectionable things to keep the kitchen fires burning ), one wonders how the family members of these participants are reacting back home? Now, that could be another reality show.