Never out of sight

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Never out of sight

who wants to marry me? Rahul Mahajan on ‘Rahul Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge’.

Do you want to make it big in the world of reality shows? Here is a checklist that will help you gauge your suitability for participating and winning such a show — you need to have a scandal in your life, you need to have some police cases filed against you at some time or the other (if you have spent some time in jail, even better), you need to be an unpredictable person with plenty of mood swings and have the ability to abuse or threaten fellow participants and break down emotionally every now and then, while being photographed. If you have all this and more, there is nothing that can stop you from being the reality queen or king of Indian television.

As unbelievable as that may sound, being bad seems to be good when it comes to success in reality shows on Indian television. Take Rakhi Sawant, Rahul Mahajan, Ashutosh Kaushik or KRK for example. All of have them have had some scandal and have done ‘bad’ things in their life, and that has been their key to success in reality shows.

The reason? Our thirst for scandals, sympathising with the underdogs and our desire to check out how bad it can get! The latest example to prove this theory is the sequel to Rakhi Ka Swayamvar. If you thought you had enough with Rakhi Sawant’s televised hunt for her groom, there is more in store for you. Come January, and NDTV will treat you to a new show where bad boy-turned reality show hero Rahul Mahajan will hunt for his wife.

This makes perfect business sense for the broadcasters. Says Sameer Nair CEO, NDTV Imagine, “The second part of Swayamvar is back by popular demand! In Rakhi Ka Swayamvar, what began as idle voyeurism quickly changed into genuine interest and a strong desire for Rakhi to find the right man with whom she could share her life. Buoyed by the acceptance, connect and success of the concept, Imagine thought of launching Swayamvar Season 2 with Rahul Mahajan.”  

The second season, called Rahul Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge will follow the same format as its predecessor and 16 women will be seen ‘wooing’ Rahul. Ever since NDTV opened the floodgates for ‘applications’ to participate in the show, the response has been amazing. In less than a month, the broadcasters have had their phone lines jammed and e-mail boxes clogged through responses. So much that NDTV even issued a press release for this. According to the media release, NDTV has received a total of 16,755 applications from prospective brides ranging from doctors, engineers, teachers, students and artists. New Delhi tops the list with 5063 entries while Mumbai stands second with 4188 entries. And all this in less than a month’s time.    

So what is it that makes the format and Rahul so popular? If you look at his bio-data, there is not much to boast about. Son of bereaved BJP leader Pramod Mahajan, Rahul was caught in a drugs overdose case and jailed. After his release, he married long-time sweetheart and airline pilot Sweta Singh. Within a few months, the marriage fell apart with scandalous stories of wife abuse surfacing against Rahul.

Admits Mahajan who wants to start afresh with this show, “A lot has happened with me in the last three years. I want this show to be the start of a new chapter in my life, a new beginning. I’m really looking forward to finding my life partner who I will spend the rest of my life with.”  

The young guy was out of radar for quite some time after multiple scandals hit his life few years back and resurfaced with Bigg Boss Season 2. His charming ways and playboy nature did win quite a few fans through this show, after which he went on to judge some other reality shows. So what was it that made so many qualified and professional women apply in the contest of making Rahul their beau? One feels, a mix of glamour and power. Being on the show would mean overnight stardom which would obviously lead to some sort of power. An irresistible combo in today’s age of publicity and power.

Some people also feel that the bad boy image of Rahul has gone away after he started coming on television. And such shows will only help him transform into a good boy. Says Nair, “There was a noticeable change in audience’s perception of Rakhi during Rakhi Ka Swayamvar. The show has in many ways become a fulfiller of dreams and we hope to do the same with Rahul, helping him to find his ideal wife. He is someone who already has a connect with the audience at large and we are confident that it will only grow as we proceed!”

Along with Rahul, his family members and friends are also expected to participate in the show helping him decide. The show is scheduled to start in the next couple of months.

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