Move over ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’. A new reality, comedy show is here and it promises to be funnily dramatic and dramatically funny…"Rakhi ka Swayamvar."
And so it started. Rakhi’s search for her soul mate. On national TV.
With picturesque backdrops (a palace in Udaipur, no less!), filmi songs as well as shaadi ke sangeet making up the background score, costumes straight out of a Bollywood wedding movie, oh and not to mention the Bollywoodish dialogues, the show promises to be, what else, but entertaining.
Rakhi had clearly practiced ‘giving those shy ones’ in front of the mirror, because she had the shy-Indian-bride-to-be look down pat. The intro between her and host Ram Kapoor was so obviously scripted, that it made for absolute uneasy listening.
Each of the hopefuls (dressed either in satin shirts with contrasting suits or heavily embroidered sherwanis/kurtas) made their entrance via a limousine or horse-drawn carriage, with the title track of “Om Shanti Om” playing in the background. Each worthy swaggered up to ‘Rakhiji’ urf ‘Ma’am’ and handed over a gift with a flourish; whether a kangan from ‘aapke honewali saas’ or an intricate symbol denoting the bonds of lasting relationships or a huge pink teddy bear or painted portraits of the lead heroine in this scripted fairy-tale.
The guys took my breath away, but not in a good way! They were all court jesters trying to be princes so that they could aim for the princess’ heart. It made for painful viewing. What weren’t these guys willing to do?!? Dance like an animal, roll their eyes and make snide comments about each other, run each other down in front of the garishly made-up prize, and all in the name of winning the said prize’s hand in shaadi. And they call women catty and bitchy?
But horror, aghastment and absolute entertainment value aside, why do the producers expect this show to do well? Simple…because cynical as we are, we are still romantics at heart.
Fed on tales of happily-ever afters and princesses garlanding a handsome prince from amongst a sabhaghar full of hopefuls, a certain ideal of love-choice-marigolds-and-gold is encoded into our very dreamy, desi DNA.
Remember the success of ‘Hum Aaapke Hain Koun?’, also known as ‘Two Weddings, a Funeral and Fourteen Songs’? The garish wedding finery, the shaadi ke rasme, the chup-chup ke pyar karma and the ‘maine aapko apni jeevan saathi maan liya’ type dialogues...oh! we were flabbergasted and begging for more…and Bollywood was only too happy to oblige. Wedding extravaganza after extravaganza followed, each Bollywood shaadi more elaborate than the last. Whether it was the triple shaadi in ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’ or the runaway bride act in ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’ or the second-time happy in ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hain’, we did lap them up.
Then, take a look at our TV serials. There’s an average of a wedding a fortnight per story. That’s a lot of haldi, chandan and kumkum, isn’t it? No wonder the wedding industry is thriving and flourishing in our country. Whether real or reel, weddings provide mucho moolah for all the other businesses associated with it, such as the floral, jewellery and bridal wear industries.
But back to our dear Rakhiji? Will she find the man of her dreams in this badly-scripted pot-boiler? Only a true-blue romance-junkie and wedding addict can hope so.
Meanwhile, I think I’ll place my bets on the Canadian guy…