Joined: 26 June 2006
For better or for worse, it's clear that we have not seen the last of Mr and Mrs Mahajan. The newly-weds have been all over the media, and promise - or, if you prefer, threaten - to be back on the news radar once they return from their honeymoon. But now that the curtains have come down on the wedding show Rahul Dulhaniya Le Jayega, what of those who got away? Nikunj Malik, a 25-year-old fashion designer from Faridabad, is one of the two finalists who vied on TV to be Rahul's bride. So is she devastated that the man she professed to love didn't choose her in the end? Is she distraught that her 'rejection' was telecast on national TV?
Most people would consider those to be natural reactions in such circumstances - but then, there are many others who would argue that there's nothing natural about such shows, and also the people who choose to be on them. So then, it's perhaps not odd that Nikunj, back in her house in Faridabad, is now badmouthing the 'groom', the very man she had on the reality show more than once claimed to love and "respect" for life. As we settle down for a chat in the living room of her middle-class, Sector 11 Faridabad family home, which she shares with her father, Rajpal Malik, an engineer with the Haryana government irrigation department, her homemaker mother Shubhlata and brother, Nikunj complains about the mehndi applied during the Mehndi ki Raat on the show. In what could pass off as a tacky spin on the words "out, damn spot", she makes a big show of wanting to rub out the patterns that are yet to fade. "I wish there was a remover to clean it. I don't like to apply mehndi anyway, and once I made up my mind and conveyed to Rahul that I didn't want to marry him I was not keen on applying it at all. But the production team made me do it," she says.
Nikunj is now maintaining that she had decided not to marry Rahul while still in the show. In fact, she implies that Rahul chose Dimpy because she didn't want to marry him - though channel authorities say they are not aware of any such thing. Says Sameer Nair, CEO, Imagine TV: "I don't know why Nikunj is making such statements now. According to her contract if Rahul had chosen her, she would have to marry him." On the face of it, Nikunj looks unaffected by the 'rejection' on national TV. She now claims that her numerous declarations of love were merely a matter of her "going with the flow". She says: "He was flirting all the time, so I thought I might as well give it back."
She puts up a brave front, saying it is not her but Harpreet Chabra, the other finalist who got rejected, who is heartbroken. "Harpreet hasn't recovered from Rahul's decision. Soon after the marriage she rushed to her room and seemed too heartbroken," she says. Nikunj, on other hand, she is determined to have you believe, was the one who rejected Rahul. She says: "I was initially interested in him. Our chemistry as a couple was evident even when he visited my home. But I realised that he is not fit to be my husband when I visited his pad in Mumbai." What follows is a tirade not just against Rahul.
"His whole house seems to be designed to serve as a bar. That he is hugely into flirting with girls is well known. Primarily, I developed cold feet when I saw his Mumbai home. He still seems to leads a colourful life and has a long list of girlfriends," Nikunj goes on to claim. You spot a tinge of fury as Nikunj continues: "Rahul would visit the sets even when he wasn't needed, to fool around with the girls. My mother scolded him once for this. My take is that if you have made up your mind then you should show some decency and stop flirting with the other girls." These, however, were traits about Rahul that all of India seemed to be aware of even before the show began - most evident on national TV when he was making the move on Payal Rohatgi and Monica Bedi at the same time on Bigg Boss 2. Wasn't Nikunj aware of the same? She comes up with a rather lame reason: "I was in the show for the channel. And as part of contract if Rahul had chosen me, there was no way I could have backed out. So, I give him credit that he opted not to choose me after learning about my feelings."
While Harpreet has gone virtually into hiding after Rahul's wedding, Nikunj has maintained this nonchalant stance ever since she came back from the show. But experts say that the reactions of both girls, in fact, indicate emotional fragility, an outcome of having to face romantic rejection on national TV. Dr Seema Hingorani, clinical psychologist, says: "When the contestants come in the final round, there is huge pressure on their minds. They tend to develop negativity when they face rejection. The bad mouthing is the result of that." Adds Dr Samir Parikh, clinical psychologist, Max Healthcare: "Every contestant appears with a self perception, and the disappointment of not being chosen results in either criticising, as is the case with Nikunj, or getting into depression, like we see in case of Harpreet."
Nikunj, in fact, seems unable to get over the girl who beat her to the mandap, saving her most vicious remarks for her. "Dimpy is the right girl for Rahul but not the right bahu for the Mahajan family. Rahul's mother Rekhaji was clearly not happy when he garlanded Dimpy. Even the TRPs dipped because various polls conducted by the channel had shown that the audience thought I was Rahul's perfect bride," says Nikunj. "So far as Rahul's political career is concerned, with a person like Dimpy as his wife and the reputation that she has as a struggling model, I can't say if it will work. And if they plan to appear together on reality TV, who would be interested in watching the two of them together?" fumes Nikunj. She also seems to be have got addicted to her 15 minutes of fame, and performing for the cameras 24x7.
She making it a point to talk about her 'fan following', and the Facebook fan page devoted to her. "I was the favourite with kids and elderly ladies among the audience. Many people posted messages on my Facebook account suggesting that I should not marry Rahul. I was surprised when I saw that there was a fan page created for me where people from the UK, UAE and the US posted messages persuading me not to marry Rahul. Later, after the show was over, they messaged how relieved they were that the marriage did not take place," says Nikunj. A channel calls to ask her for an interview, and she replies briskly on the phone. "If you are also inviting Priyadarshini Singh (another contestant on Rahul Dulhaniya Le Jayega) to the studio, then I will walk out," before mumbling to us: "You know, the TV guys always put me together in front of the camera with this loudmouth Priyadarshini, which is actually quite disgusting."
She now has hopes that she might get another show. "I definitely won't be part of a swayamvar. As far as reality television or films go, if there are any interesting offers I am game for the same," says Nikunj. Meanwhile, as she waits for something "nice" to come her way, she is coping with the reactions her neighbours in Faridabad have to her one-and-a-half month long TV sojourn. The kids in the mohalla love all the glitz, coming to her for autographs, but grown-ups in her Faridabad neighbourhood are more guarded in their views. Babita Rawat, a middle-aged homemaker who lives in the same colony, says: "All of us watched the show only because a known face was participating. However, I am amazed that Nikunj's parents agreed to send their daughter in a show like this, when so much has been said about Rahul Mahajan." Another neighbour of Nikunj, 35-year-old Rashmi Srivastava, adds: "If it's a reality show to judge a person's talent of some kind, one can understand. Going up for grabs as the bride of a man on reality TV is something that I would never allow my daughter to do."
That's middle-class morality speaking. But then, that's exactly what Nikunj Malik set out to leave behind when she put herself up for grabs on Rahul Dulhaniya Le Jayega. She has achieved short-term fame. Whether she can consolidate the situation and turn it into something more fruitful in the world of showbiz, only time will tell. And although she seems determined to combat the recent rejection with nonchalance, it seems like a big price to pay for a shot at 15 minutes of fame.
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Joined: 22 January 2008
It definately sounds like the grapes are sour for nikunj....it's so strange that she says that she didn't wanna marry rahul and told him that...and then goes on to say that she was the most popular girl to win the show...HUH???? what is that to you, since u didn;t even wanna marry the guy???
Joined: 09 July 2008
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