So I have been watching some of Rakhi aunty's Swayamwar episodes these days.
My whole attitude to the show (as I am sure has been many others) has been 'Bring it on'- I am more than willing to be entertained and amused. Get as tacky, as flamboyant, as unbelievably low-brow as you can and I will watch it. The same abstract fascination I would have if aliens were to invade the world perhaps.
And the reason for this of course, has been Rakhi herself - the queen of controversy, who by hook or crook has managed to keep herself at the forefront of the audience consciousness - you can love her or hate her, but you certainly cannot ignore her.
But, as I have watched a few episodes, I have come to sneakingly respect her astuteness – which I think is much higher than people actually give her credit for.
If we have to borrow from marketing parlance, she has understood her brand image and the consumer pulse very well – and some forays into understanding her brand equity would have thrown up a few insights.
a) That she is a fast coming to the end of her shelf life - a young controversial item girl - will be talked about, discussed, maybe lusted after, and tolerated - the same cannot be said for an ageing one - who will have to live out the rest of her life as a caricature, on the fringes of tinsel-world – viz. low market growth opportunity
b)Whatever she does, there is very little chance of it actually remaining private- given the stage-and-tele persona she has cultivated over time. Viz. A relatively high market awareness, knowledge, salience.
So we take these two coordinates – high salience and TOM and a low growth rate, she needs to capitalize on the former before the latter becomes a de-growth. In other words, take whatever momentum she has, build it up to a crescendo and leave with a big bang – precisely what she is doing with the Swayamvar.
Having said that, she has got her positioning perfectly. She knows that to the tele and cine intelligentsia, she will always be the tawdry item girl – loud, flamboyant, not someone to be taken seriously as an actor or any repute. She will become the one-night-stand girl, or the temporary girlfriend – but I seriously don’t see say a Ranbir Kapoor or any other upcoming star seriously thinking of marriage with her. For whatever reasons, maybe her more desi-origins or what have you, she will probably not even take the path Mallika Sherawat did - who seems to have managed to garner SOME roles and played down on that item-girl image she started out with. So instead of running away from this image, she is capitalizing on it in the best way she possibly can. Can you think of any other star or starlet pulling off a swayamvar?
My mother’s hypothesis, which I think is probably true – is that she will marry the Canadian guy and go out with a blaze rather than fading into obscurity as the wife of one of the others in India. Personally, I would have liked to put my money on that Manmohan fellow – I think his dramatic sensibilities are on par with her’s.
What do you think?