I hereby take back all my unkind thoughts about Karan Johar. Any man with the sheer genius to invite Rakhi Sawant on to his great big wet smooch on the butt of Indian celebritydom of a show (a.k.a. Koffee with Karan) deserves my vote. Forget Amitabh Bachchan, KJo for President, I say! The man has vision!
Look, I’m not a fan of Indian television. I used to be, back in the olden days when Doordarshan ruled the airwaves, Ekta Kappor was in kindergarten and none of us knew how good we had it, but these days I’d rather pass my time poking my eye repeatedly with a fork than watch what passes for entertainment on Indian TV. Okay, I exaggerate… but only by an utensil or so.
But when that same TV hands me an hour with the power to make me forget my vicious cold, the one that constantly makes me feel like I’m breathing egg-drop soup; ignore the powerful pull of sleep brought on by all the pills I’ve taken to kill the germs festering in my snot; and keeps my dad the impossible-to-please-critic in stitches – then, ladies and gentlemen, I know I’m watching greatness unfold.
It’s been pretty clear to me – and whoever else cared to pay attention – for a long while that Rakhi Sawant is the new punchline of snooty Bollywood.
She’s a publicity hound to end all publicity hounds in a industry full of them; she’s an unabashedly sexy item girl in a city where Mallika Sherawat roams around in a burkha (!); she carries her cheek implants, collagen (not silicon as she said, surely!) filled lips, botoxed forehead and silicon boobage with pride; admits to a live-in relationship when everybody around her is ‘buying apartments in the same building’; and she does all of this as if today were her last day on earth and she absolutely needs to get the word out before time runs out.
What she isn’t, is your typical Bollywood starlet –
- She Spoke Hindi: Actually, she spoke in Hindustani. She was very upfront about the fact that her English isn’t very good and rather than make a faux pas on a show that was obviously very important to her, she wisely chose to continue in a language that made her comfortable.
- She’s Absolutely Unselfconscious: She sang this song from her album Supergirl. It’s apparently this big hit? So I found the video on Youtube. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
- She Made KJo Cry: Okay, so she didn’t. But she could have. Karan’s emotional range on this one episode was far greater than any of his films have ever achieved – hilarity, guilt, embarrassment, shock, sadness, concern, puzzlement… all culminating in that final tableau where he found himself trying to maintain peace between Z-Listers like Rahul Roy, Carol Gracias and Rakhi Sawant. Best. Show. Ever.
- She Pulled No Punches: So Karan has this retarded ‘Rapid Fire Round’ on his show that he probably filched from the pages of The Babysitters Club or something similar. It apparently drives all his guests into a state of gibbering terror because Quick + Succinct + Coherent = Asking For Too Much in Bollywood. Rakhi on the other hand, had no problems letting her hair down, even giving KJo’s best buddy Shah Rukh Khan a 5/10 rating for sexiness. Why? Simple. “He doesn’t reveal, na!”
- She’s a Mallika Sherawat Fan: Karan’s asked this question of other actresses a million times before: “Which contemporary movie heroine do you admire?” “Madhuri!” they’ll all chirp, safe in the knowledge that she’s all done and gone, comeback film or no comeback film. Rakhi is the first person I’ve heard mention an actual contemporary. I liked that.
Actually, I was really surprised by how much I liked this episode of Koffee. I didn’t think this was going to a hatchet job (KJo has enough professional courtesy to avoid that) but I did expect him to sit and giggle at her. I think he expected to sit and giggle at her too.
But there’s more to Rakhi Sawant than you expect. She might not be a role model yet the way she claims she is (“Fathers bring their little children to meet me and say their child wants to be just like me when they grow up!”), but she wasn’t half as annoying as some of the other people KJo’s had on his show.
Mika = Chewing Gum:
Randy Indian Team
[Originally published at Desicritics.org]