Finding Mr Veena on reality TV
Veena Malik is getting paid million of rupees to get married on live TV.
Well, I can’t say this is shocking or anything new. The global economy might be in the dumps, but marriage is a robust and burgeoning industry. Eager girls and boys have been hammered this drill since diaperdom.
Disney told us that if we were pretty and dainty enough, our handsome prince charming would rescue us and marry us in true superstar fashion. Cinderella threw the Prince under a spell with her ethereal blue eyes, and Meg hypnotized Hercules with her cascading tresses and waif-like figure. And let’s not forget our own home turf - Jasmine rejected every salivating suitor who came knocking on her door until she mesmerized Aladdin with her midriff and gyrating pseudo-shalwar.
But money isn’t only in fairy tales.
After terminating their marriage after just 72 days, Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries effectively wasted $10 million on the wedding alone – not including Kim’s three Vera Wang wedding dresses costing $20,000 each, her mother’s $50,000 face lift, and probably a slew of other lavish wedding expenditures. Lucky for Kim, she just might be able to cover her losses from the $18 million she earned from media coverage over the past months leading up to her big day.
Taking her cue from Hollywood, Veena doesn’t seem to want to be left out of all the cash flow fun. Set to be the first non-Hindu, Pakistani would-be bride on the Indian reality show Swayamvar next year, eager suitors will vie for the attention and affections of her coveted heart. Because everyone knows that if you outperform your opponents on national TV with superior sex appeal and ostentatious bravado, you’re set to be an ideal life partner, caregiver, and future father to your children.
If Veena walks away from the show without finding a suitor, she rakes in a handsome Pakistan Rs52 million. And if she decides to marry one of the lucky young men destined to be Mister Veena Malik, she will earn another Rs25.5 million. With that much money, she could probably rid Punjab of dengue fever or educate 5,000 of the country's most needy illiterate.
I won’t attack Malik’s choice to broadcast her courtship process or decision to marry before a live audience and millions of viewers around the world. It’s her business, her headache, her 'happiness,' if you want to be a devil’s advocate and call it that. Fans love her because she is unabashed, outspoken, and she’ll take the bullet from screaming and vilifying mullahs out to get the “lewd and loose” women who threaten the very foundations of this country – as they deem it.
However, if she’s willing to put herself out there, then her thirst for fame comes with a price.
If she wants to make a mockery of herself, she can. We could use some comic relief in this day and age. But she is sending a message to viewers when she plays wheel-of-husband on a reality game show like Swayamvar - cheapening the institution of marriage. It dwindles a sacred relationship to a thirst for glamour, riches, and the spotlight.
Of course, if Veena were to play for charity, then maybe I'd reconsider my aversions. She can donate her earnings from the show to micro-finance projects for the impoverished, or invest in rehabilitation efforts for the flood-stricken areas in Sindh or the Punjab. In the end, she would still have her ultimate prize: a loving, doting husband to love and cherish till death do them part - and there's no price anyone can place on that.
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