Rahul Mahajan, a reality star or a survivor?

September 25, 2008

Reality TV show “Bigg Boss” is winning some healthy TRPs for newly launched general entertainment channel ‘Colors’ and the programme producers must be praying that Rahul Mahajan stays in the Indian version of ‘Big Brother’ for some more weeks to come.

Rahul MahajanRahul, son of slain Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Pramod Mahajan, has been living a charmed life inside the ‘Bigg Boss’ house despite repeated nominations for eviction.

He has endeared himself to the audience and some female inmates with his child-like histrionics and has managed to get himself voted back time and again.

Rahul’s a man on a journey of redemption, wanting to use the ‘Bigg Boss’ house to reach out to the world and tell us all “I’m not all that bad” and he seems to be pulling out all stops in his endeavour.

Rahul MahajanInside the house, though, he’s perceived as a real threat and is hated for hogging the “footage” by some of the other contestants. They feel he’s cracked the Da Vinci code of ‘Bigg Boss’ and holds all the cards for survival. Rahul’s hypothesis – the TV cameras and the show producers will follow those contestants who say and do things that can grab viewers’ interest.

It’s a crucial week for Rahul as he’s once again been nominated along with the “enfant terrible” of the house, TV actor Raja Chaudhry. Deviating from the format, ‘Bigg Boss’ himself has picked the two for violating house rules. In a further twist to the saga, the two nominees do not know that the voting lines are closed for the week.

Raja Chaudhry & Rahul MahajanWith his back against the wall, Rahul, who last week said he’s had his say and wanted to leave the house has pulled out what other contestants might even call a “trump card” in this game of survival.

After two nights of preparation and cajoling, Rahul managed to narrate events that transpired in the last days of his famous father’s life.

Extreme close-ups of an emotional Rahul and his empathetic contestants saw Indian reality TV testing new waters.

He’d mentioned to some of the house inmates the previous night that he wanted the Rahul Mahajan“mood” to be right for this one opportunity that he’d always wanted – a chance to use “national television” and the same media which had pilloried him within weeks of his father’s death.

Pramod Mahajan was shot and killed by his younger brother, Pravin, in April 2006 apparently over a money dispute.

Those days and months would have obviously been tough on both Rahul and the entire Mahajan family. Though the prosecution said said Pravin Mahajan, who did not have a steady job, was angry after Pramod refused his demand for a large sum of money, conspiracy theories were flying thick and fast.

Rahul MahajanThings came to a head when police arrested Rahul Mahajan in New Delhi within two months of his father’s death on charges of consuming and possessing drugs.

A grieving BJP which saw Rahul as a future leader who could possibly step into his father’s shoes and a sympathetic nation which saw strength and character in those eyes hidden behind sun glasses suddenly felt betrayed.

A hastily arranged marriage to a childhood friend which did not last long did nothing to salvage a young man’s reputation and Rahul wanted to make this chance in ‘Bigg Boss’ Rahul Mahajancount and he’s been giving it his best shot.

But what has irked me or at least spurred some serious “churn” in my mind has been Rahul’s performance over the last couple of days. I don’t know if his is a personality-type or a sign of the times.

When I lost my father nearly 15 years ago, I was so damn selfish and fiercely protective about my feelings for my father that I did not want to drop my guard and let the world know anything.

Since the mid-90s also saw the advent of satellite television in India, one used to wonder how these American families could be so open about their emotional scars on Oprah Winfrey and Phil Donahue’s talk shows. I was sure Indians will never go as ‘public’ with their emotions.

Without casting aspersions on anyone, either Rahul or the producers of this reality show, I would like to ask a a couple of questions

– Did Rahul Mahajan time this revelation about his father’s last days?

– Have Indians changed with liberalisation and “east meeting west” on common platforms like TV and the Internet??

I would really like to know.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

India has become more open as a society, I think, but that is also coupled with an arrogance that we are going along the right road – that we cant be wrong, and thats dangerous. Rahul Mahajan almost signifies that arrogance – he doesnt believe he is doing anything wrong. That is scary

Posted by Shilpa | Report as abusive

‘an art of selling emotions!!!’, i dont know, who is going to buy them? but something had to be written on the issue, hope that Big Boss contestants read it too!!.

Posted by saket | Report as abusive

What is wrong in using Bigboss forum for personal benifits. Rakhi sawant had used it and she was quite successful in that.
I say in terms of timing, It was bad timing from Rahul. He shudnt have taken out this trump card so early.

Posted by mahesh | Report as abusive

The reason for this transition perhaps can be related to disenchanment of the world rather than liberalization. It is the Megalomania of personalities like Rahul that enable them to take drastic steps to actualize their fancies. The so called values and traditions merely have become obsolete. Well, people may call it the way to step outside the orthodxy but according to my perception it is only example of ‘humanity lost’.

Posted by Raoof Mir | Report as abusive

I consider Rahul Mahajan as a good actor rather than a son of a famous politician.

Yes, definately he would survive this week also as he is very much famous in girls and families also. Everyone wants to see him in Bigg Boss as he keeps doing notorious things which people like. Plus, he has a huge number of supporters in BJP party who also keep voting in favor of him. Therefore, I have no doubt that he would survive in Bigg Boss till the end of the show. Lage Raho Rahul Bhai………


Posted by Tejinder | Report as abusive

yes, and mahajan jr will be made to slug it out to add to the TRPs. since he has a colourful history to add to colors’ rankings!!!

Posted by chitichitibangbang | Report as abusive

Why do you think Rahul’s emotional breakthrough is a ‘trump card’? Are you really that cynical?

Consider it, at the Big Brother house you’re completely cut off from the present and the future. You’ve got this ‘god like being’ watching over your every move, and people around you are working hard to get you kicked out.

If it was me, I’d be depressed and have a moment (or ten) of some kind of emotional breakdown. It often is the case when you’re left alone with your thoughts for too long.

All things considered, having your father murdered isn’t a pleasant state of affairs. Nor is coming out of a drug addiction.

Instead of congratulating Rahul on using his ‘trump cards’ why not just see it for what it is, a man who’s reached a better place in his life.


Posted by DeviousDiv | Report as abusive

a man who cant make his wife happy….the wife who was his frnd for a long time and got married after all the mishaps…. broke the marriage within a year….

this man is just making a fake image of a good frnd and supporting character ….

every step he is taking is nothing but a drama

Posted by suhana | Report as abusive

Rahul has spoiled the BJPs so called good image in the whole country. Rahul’s level of thinking and his behaviour would definately hurt his father whereever he would be (heaven/hell). It is quite clear that the people in BJP are two faced, double standard and power hungry. No one in BJP is reliable. It has definately lost ground on every field. It wont surprise me if rahul becomes the future leader of BJP.

Posted by Avinash Kingaonkar | Report as abusive

Its disheartening to see that the kin of the politically powerful can do what ever they want; avoid convictions; disappear and then rejoin the society to become a celebrity… very disturbing to the common man!!
but guess thats the way it is

Posted by Harish | Report as abusive

When I first started seeing Big Boss, I knew that there are some people I really don’t agree with, Rahul being amongst them. At times he made me feel that he was faking, at times he made me feel he was being genuine but whatever it was, he would make you believe, believe in what he says. Be it our ignorance, innocence, simplicity, trustworthiness or his ingenuity, this man has a “love him, hate him, but cant ignore him” prowess about himself. You are left with a feeling of either trying to prove him wrong or believe in what he says.For the most part,for whatever he confessed on the show, be it the woman he wants to be with, be it the leader he wishes to rise as or be it the friend he claims he is- I hope and solemnly pray that he indeed was genuine on the show. Because India cannot afford another dishonest leader, and so can’t Monica.

Posted by Sourabh | Report as abusive