Announcing Mr Rakhi Sawant

Marriages, the adage goes, are made in heaven. Not for dancer-turned-actress-turned-reality show queen Rakhi Sawant at least. For her, it is made on national television. On the much publicised reality show Rakhi Ki Swayamvar on NDTV Imagine where she shortlisted 16 participants from hundreds of applicants dated all of them for a few months and finally selected NRI businessman Elesh Parujanwala last weekend. In a star-studded ceremony that was telecast live on national television, Rakhi got engaged to Elesh on August 2.

Dressed in a Neta Lulla creation full of previous stones and crystals, Rakhi wore traditional jewellery and was accompanied by the who’s who of the Indian television industry during the ceremony.  Rakhi started off the show with a promise, but slowly and carefully transformed it to ‘getting engaged.’ Which is what she did last week. But why did this change happen?

“There was no change at all. Getting married is not a joke. Both Elesh and I need to understand each other better away from the media glare. I am ready to get married now, but we need to spend some private time together and understand each other better. In fact, contrary to what people feel, it is Elesh who wanted this time more than me. Thus the need for some time between our engagement and marriage,” explains Rakhi. But what about her feelings for people from the media? Won’t they have to run after her to know about her life? Something she wanted to avoid? Understandably, the seductress does not have a very good answer.

Elesh, however, is not bothered about such statements. For him this was a journey to know the real Rakhi. “I have always been a fan of Rakhi and have been reading all sorts of stories about her. I wanted to know the real Rakhi behind the glitz and glamour. Thus when this contest was announced, it was the golden opportunity for me, you can say I was at right place in right time." says Elesh while handling the media with great composure.

So what next for Rakhi? “Elesh’s sister is getting married in August. I will be accompanying him and his family for the ceremony and will travel to Canada soon,” says a red-saree-sporting Rakhi with a shy smile. Brinda, Elesh’s younger sister who is getting married later this month candidly confesses, “Neither me nor my parents were aware of Rakhi and her work in India. But we had faith in our brother and supported him throughout his journey in the contest. Today we are all very happy about him getting engaged to Rakhi.”  

Once everything is done, will Elesh settle in India or is Rakhi going to move abroad and live a life away from public glare like Madhuri Dixit (better known as Mrs Nene these days)? Elesh latches on to the question immediately, “I am thrilled that Rakhi has considered me worthy enough to be her life partner. I wish to honour her decision with a life-long commitment to her. I hope to live up to her expectations and give her all the love and happiness she deserves. We got engaged today but before we take it forward, we need time to know each other better off camera and I want her to understand my family and lifestyle in Toronto.”  However, the couple was non-commital when asked about the wedding dates.

Elesh also adds that he and his family would not have any objections to Rakhi continuing her career in Hindi films and would constantly encourage her to scale new heights. In fact, if rumours are to be believed, he is even looking for land in and around Mumbai to start his business in India. “Actually, I have been kind of settled in Mumbai since November last year and have opened my own acting school as well,” explains Elesh.

While everything happened smoothly, or so it seemed, Rakhi's biological family was missing from the extravaganza. “No comments,” was all she had to say when asked about why her mother did not attend the swayamvar. Elesh was equally diplomatic when asked whether he would be interested in meeting Rakhi’s family. “I completely respect Rakhi’s decision and I don’t want to comment on this matter.”

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