To watch Rakhi ka Swayamvar is to audit a crash course in Enlightenment. Earlier, reality TV had Nanga Fakir convinced that there is hope for humanity; the show in question makes him want to be a first rate philanthropist.
It is tale of love, heartbreak, devotion, betrayal, family-values, dark secrets (the list could go on) and features a simple Indian girl steeped in age old customs and traditions who wants to play the part of a traditional-housewife-by-day and a sleazy-foul-mouthed-cabaret-dancer-who-can-crush-your-balls-to-dust by night. It also boasts of the highest number of WTF/Jesus-fucking-Christ exclamations from the audience per episode.
The show is gripping, enthralling, masterly suspenseful and full of Shyamalanesque twists and turns where delivering campy dialogue with a serious face is your biggest asset (that and performance of fiery Taekwondo fight moves on cheesy, filmi soundtracks). It is a watershed moment in the history of Indian television as it takes the two most explosively successful ideas - reality TV and saas-bahu sagas and amalgamates them into a unified (w)hole whose inexorable success is a testament to the greatness of human civilization.
And so it was that Nanga Fakir saw entranced, the exploits of a psychotic stalker who's been stalking Rakhi for over three years; the smartass commentary of the Astrologer who's got a hook into everyone else's character (and who very considerately went up to offer a hassled Rakhi a little sip of Bacardi at which she threw a tantrum and complained that her TV persona is totally orthogonal to her true Indian self and that she doesn't 'drink'. Little did the poor fucker know that the only thing she likes drinking is the dessicated soul of a small town, starry eyed, publicity hungry Neanderthal schmuck like him); the prayers for regrowth of the destroyed balls of the big hunky contender ('Luv', he's called) offered by Rakhi with a seriously cool Nirupa Roy expression; the serenading of Rakhi by a very genuine-looking Kashmiri cop (whom Rakhi respected the most...(now that's a compliment)); the badly acted tortured expression of shock on Rakhi's face as the same cop announced that he already had a wife and three kids and they were cool with his being on the show (imagine the kids (and perhaps their mom) in Srinagar rooting for their laugh-of-the-underground-terrorist-crowd dad) and the ingenious elimination protocol - a mithai (sweet) for those who've qualified for the next round and evil stares and heartfelt sorries for others who leave with heavy hearts, heavier baggages and even heavier pockets.
Another thing that struck NF as he kept watching episode after episode on youtube was that all contestant were from UP plus Delhi plus Mumbai (okay one Rajasthani too). Period. Apparently people from South India have more self respect than Northies. What is counter-intuitive however, is that there was absolutely no contender from Bihar - the land most ignoramuses like to make fun of at the drop of a hat. From personal experience, Nanga Fakir knows that Biharis are the simplest, hardest working and the most down-to-earth people that there are. (Every now and then, they freak out and go on a kidnapping spree but that's forgivable in the long run.) The people who were in overwhelming majority were small towners from UP (from places like Rishikesh, Kanpur, Lucknow (yes...<*sighs*>), Bulandshahar etc.). Heh...jobless fuckers!
On second thoughts, maybe the producers of the show thought that Southies wouldn't be funny enough (intentionally/unintentionally) and so were not good enough to be in the final sixteen. Because, out of twelve thousand odd people from all places in India, who volunteered to be on the show (including an 87 year old!) surely there must've been some not-so-self-respecting Southies. Plus the fact that they can't speak Hindi and that Rakhi's English/regional language skills are surely worse than her acting couldn't have helped matters much.
The blogosphere is lit up with lively discussions of "Will she...won't she?" - whether Rakhi will end up marrying the winner of the show. Most seem to think that a brief marriage and a speedy divorce assisted by Balaji Production lawyers will follow.
But what then about the cameos of the actors that are the surrogate family of Rakhi (read the saas-bahu franchise) - the truism spouting self proclaimed upholders of Indian culture and tradition who drop in shlokas with timed precision (and blissfully unaware, mispronounce all Sanskrit words with amazing consistency)? What about the claim of Rakhi Sawant being in actuality a simple girl who's misunderstood by all? What about the sanctity of marriage?
What about future TRP ratings?
NF has his doubts.
For answers to these and many more questions, stay tuned.