Monday, July 13, 2009

The Rakhi phenomena

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?

24 comments:

Meira said...

Sigh! Never watched it. The husband sticks his fingers to the PS3 joystick as soon as he gets home! :D
But I get the logic behind her show now that you put it so well :)

Aniruddha said...

Doesn't matter whom she'll marry. The show is utter crap but can't ignore it as it is too much fun... :D

Mumbai Diva said...

I haven't got around to watching it. But you put it so well. I have a sneaking suspicion that I will get addicted to it a la Big Boss. Can you imagine I'm actually waiting for the next season of that deplorable piece of nonsense. I loved it!!

Starry-eyed nut said...

I agree with mother, i have a feeling it will be the canadian guy too...actually coming to think of it this entire swayamvar thing (which rakhi claims is her idea) is a brilliant mastermind...as you mentioned she is already end of shelf life and what better way to retire with a bang!

Smitha said...

I watch it too - for the same reasons that you have outlined :)

And have to say that I agree with your mother.. She will probably pick the Canadian guy.. Manmohan is more like her though :) But the Canadian guy might be a better long term investment for her :) Lets watch and see :)

Miss M said...

I am putting my money on that Manmohan guy too. For the same reasons that you mentioned. I wrote about this too in my post, albeit only a paragraph.

But I do have some respect for Ms. Sawant. She's using her brains well and striking a pot of gold by doing so.

Though I still have a nagging feeling that she won't actually marry one of these guys. She claims to leave Bombay and live with her future husband if she has to.. I mean, will she seriously do that? I highly doubt it.

BlueMist said...

I agree with the reasons you mentioned. It is too bad to ignore.
I think manmohan vs manas may be the tie and in the process the Canadian groom may win the game. Who knows !
Or on other thought I think will she really marry thro such a show ? dunno. There is so much of thick media slab between Rakhi and true rakhi that nothing of any sort can be taken by face value.

The Spectacled Skeptic said...

lol..i think so too, that she'll pick the Canadian guy...
It's all just so dramatic to watch!

thenitknumbskulls said...

just watching it gives me the feeling it's all staged, right from where swini khara says "kya hum andar jayenge ya yahin khade rahenge?" to where the canadian guy gives the perfect answer to that standard question about driving on a rainy night and having to choose between an old woman, your best friend and the girl of your dreams to give a lift.

Arunima said...

yo! I don't watch TV but would have loved to watch this. Please keep on updating. :-)

I like her in some way though.

maidinmalaysia said...

we dont get rakhi in KL. so you are my only source on this phenomena.
am keeping my eyes peeled...

narendra shenoy said...

Loved the analysis! I haven't watched it myself, but it put off even the missus, which means it must be something else! (She has watched Kahin to hoga and Kyoonki Saas bhi back to back, the missus I mean, which means she is definitely no spring chicken)

popsie said...

Doubt if she will marry any one of those men! A complete publicity stunt.

Cynic in Wonderland said...

meira - pls to watch on youtube. very educational it is. abla naari, bharatiya naari, draupadi - great tips

anirudha - it is an addiction no? my whole family is hooked on to it. so we collectively sit and roll on the floor.

mumbai diva - never saw big boss tho. i had a friend who was so insanely hooked on to it he used to leave work early for it.

starry eyed - i suspect she has already chosen the bloke. the rest is trappings to get some moolah.

smitha - please do not miss "he eej such a dignified man. he is a reeech bijness man" quotes.

Cynic in Wonderland said...

Miss M - I wondered whether that old flame of hers would turn up too. We need to wait and watch i guess. ( Read your post - couldnt comment for some reason)

bluemist - i wonder whether she has a clue on who is the true rakhi - point is i watch it and wonder whether any of the spiel she gives is true. and it just sounds like lines from a bad movie. that its difficult to believe anything.

the spectacled spectic - yus its ekta kapoor meets reality show meets aaj tak no? the sound effects, the crescendoes, the faces frozen in horror

theknitnubskulls- course its staged - all reality shows are completely choreographed for maximum drama

arunima, naren - you should watch it. it is so bad, its good.

popsie - keep on wondering the same thing. but i suspect she will get married to SOMEONE.

What's In A Name!? said...

I would like her to marry the canadian too!! He's kinda cute, and gujju too - partiality toh hogi hi! :D

Iya said...

That’s a good analysis that you have put up there. for me this show is a complete stress buster

Pinku said...

:) never watched it...never will ...but ur analysis i think is very accurate as far as her market value and strategy goes...but I do think she wont marry anyone at all...

AmitL said...

Ah..finally..someone who's understood Rakhi's astuteness..good going,Cyn..now that you've mentioned it,I guess the lady has got all her thought processes running nicely,and,is not just the dumb-gaali-spitting-brash-gal that she was on,say Bigg Boss,or,the item girl of movies.:)
---
Here's hoping her'var' will be the right guy,finally.:)

Mampi said...

NO idea about the show, have not watched it. But your post is highly informative, I would be watching this space for newest action on Rakhi front with Cyn's spicy analysis of the same.
Loved the post.

Miri said...

Its amazing how she has managed to capture a whole segment which would never ever watch any soap opera/reality show on Hindi channels atleast! And here I was thinkg I was the only one seeing one episode a week. Another friend of mine called her friends over for a schwarma party and they made a whole evening of watching the show and rolling on the floor with laughter!! LOL!

You are right, she is very shrewd....just feel sorry for her though that she has to do these things to make a living!

Miri

Maddy said...

wow!! did she have a shelf life? The other day I saw her with karan & coffee - stating that she rose to limelight becos she appeared with karan...

g said...

LOL. Between jobless and crackterless I deem you two the former. Very funny happened!

gauri

Morpheus said...

I had heard so much about it, that when I reached India a few weeks ago, the first thing I found out was, when was this thing on and sat down to watch it.
I hate TV, Movies and anything on a screen..and I chose to follow her..because of what i heard in London about it.
marketing and astuteness - full marks. I agree with you.