With science and scientists exploring and deromanticising (is there such a word?) everything, there does remain one area which continues to baffle and that is - “What makes people laugh?”
Apparently, gender, culture, age all contribute to make different people laugh at different things in ways that are difficult to define. So some people may find some joke funny beyond belief while others might find the same joke terribly distasteful. Whatever.
I read somewhere about the book “Three Men In a Boat" that almost everyone finds it funny. I do. I first read it when I was 14 and I’ve loved it ever since. I’ve read it about eight times and it still makes me laugh. But that is not the point of this post. I’m going to give this arguable distinction to the new show on NDTV Imagine.
So here’s another dark secret from the recesses of my twisted mind. I love the new Rakhi Sawant show. It’s called ‘Rakhi ka Swayamvar’ and its about 15 odd supposedly random guys who supposedly like Rakhi Sawant enough to want to marry her and she’s supposed to be spending the next n number of episodes evaluating and eliminating them until she maybe decides which one she wants to be with. The show is meant to end with the wedding. I think.
Before anything else, I want to clarify that I’m not one of your usual reality show addicts. In fact, I’m not terribly fond of TV either. For days, I forget to switch the thing on, eating my meals with a book or a movie on the laptop. If it wasn’t for “F.R.I.E.N.D.S” all day on Sundays and my occasional desire to catch up with the news, I would forget I own a set. I specially dislike those song and dance and talent hunt shows because their USP seems to be unadulterated nastiness. I often think they measure TRPs in the liters of tears that flow. Or maybe the number of time they have to “beep” the dialogue.
I stumbled on to R ka S quite by accident. With my parents visiting the television gets some attention and I saw about three dozen promos in the one day that I was at home. It’s a one hour daily and I’ve seen about one and a half of the three shows aired and I think it’s a great show. It’s unbelievably funny. All that mock- serious earnestness….these guys were actually writing (and reading) love letters out loud and reading them like they meant every word. And this woman, sitting so coyly on a couch listening to the renditions of love - Man she is good! Batting eyelids and blushing like she’s moved to bits....she actually closed her eyes and did some serious heavy breathing through one particular love letter reading. She may have a pea sized brain or whatever but she can ham. And how. The melodrama of it, the outrageousness of it – I was laughing for a good half hour. It does get too much at times, it does make you cringe in parts, but the hilarity soon overtakes the embarrassment.
Other than the fact that it totally tickles every funny bone in my body, the other reason I like the show was that in a weird kind of way, it is about female empowerment too. She’s tacky and melodramatic, true, but see, there are these 16 guys who are falling over each other to be tackier and more melodramatic to …well yeah, to get their seven seconds of fame, but also to impress her. What wouldn’t I give to sit dreamily listening to how wonderful I am and cute and how talented - even if it was done for the camera. It beats singing and getting insulted for it and it beats eating cockroaches or whatever they do eat in the other reality shows. She gave a ‘pyar ka nazrana’(gift of love) to one guy, went out for coffee with another , asked a third out for dinner and was unabashedly sighing over a fourth guy. What fun. She doesn’t have too much to choose from - all the suitors look equally dense, but she seems to intend to have fun in the process. She asked the guy she went out for dinner with, totally seriously ( I think we were meant to see some tears in her eyes or something)- “Aap mera dil to nahin todenge?” No kidding. I fell on the floor.
I intend to watch the whole thing. Or at least till I get bored of the slapstick.