A new reality show in which a bunch of suitable men vie for the hand of Bollywood starlet Rakhi Sawant is an interesting twist on the prevailing custom of Indian men choosing their brides.
“Rakhi Sawant ka Swayamvar“, which harks back to the ancient tradition of princesses choosing a groom from a line-up, began airing on Monday night, pitting more than a dozen men from varied backgrounds — and with varying singing and dancing abilities — wooing Sawant, a colourful personality known more for her antics off camera.
It may be yet another publicity stunt for Sawant, who claims she will marry one of the men at the end of the series in a traditional wedding ceremony.
It may be yet another move by the channel, fighting for eyeballs and advertisers, to score high TRPs – or Television Rating Points that show how popular a programme is.
Still, it offers some respite from the female stereotyping on the Indian airwaves: from ads that show women as being incapable of any decision save the right cooking oil for the family, to shows that glorify child marriage and female foeticide under the guise of ushering in social change.