NDTV imagine's Rakhi Ka Swayamvar came to a picture perfect end with Rakhi Sawant choosing for herself an NRI groom- Elesh Parujanwala. Rakhi looked stunning in a red sari with silver and crystal work and Elesh looked domineering with his good built and pinstriped suit. Together, like two lovers determined to fight the world, they tackle the dart like questions aimed at them by the media …
The first thing on my list was respect and Elesh has tremendous amount of respect for me. He is honest. He is also gutsy to go for the things he believes in.
What about you Elesh?
Rakhi aces every single category that a woman should, for me personally.
You both want to spend some time alone to get to know each other. So where will this time be spent- in Mumbai or Toronto?
Elesh: Both Toronto and Mumbai. We both come from two different places with different lifestyles. Since we have a lot of differences we need to make many adjustments too. And this would be possible only if we get to know and understand each other deeply.
Rakhi: I haven't decided yet. But I will definitely visit Toronto to see the way of life of Elesh and my in laws. I also want to be there for my (future) sister- in- law Vrinda's wedding.
Rakhi, why did you choose to search your life partner through a reality show?
It's my wish. I've earned my bread and butter through television ,so why not marry taking its help too? I want to create history by being the first girl to do such a thing. Also, I saw that many big film stars who are today in a high position because of media, sidelined that very media during their wedding. I did not like the way the media people were excluded from such an important event in the stars' lives. I'm media's daughter. I decided to be a part of this Swayamvar so that media can be a part of my wedding.
But the same media wasn't given permission to cover your engagement?
Rakhi: Yes, that's because it was the prerogative of the channel NDTV Imagine. Don't worry you all will be a part of my shaadi.
It's still puzzling why you both want more time.
Elesh: It was my calling essentially. I was very clear from day one that I would personally want to get to know more about Rakhi. I want to see if she is a morning person, and what her friends are like. The same way I want Rakhi to know more about my whole life back in Toronto. In North America divorces are rampant. I don't want to be a part of the statistics. I want to take each step slowly and surely. That's why I need the time.
Rakhi: You see I was ready to get married to Elesh right when I chose him. But he wanted more time. So I thought I should not oppose him. It shouldn't happen that today we get married in a hurry and tomorrow we get divorced also in a hurry.
Elesh, you shifted to Mumbai way before the Swayamvar. What have you been doing since then?
I shifted to Mumbai in November 2008. I made that transition because I saw that Indian economy was booming and I wanted to be a part of it. So I along with a friend of mine opened an international film academy. Here you would learn film in the North American style. We've got faculty from LA, New York and Toronto. When you're running your own company you got to have patience to generate revenue. So that's what I've been doing.
Rakhi, your mother is very upset over the fact that she wasn't notified about the Swayamvar. So now that you've chosen your life partner, did it ever occur to you or Elesh to go meet her and make amends?
Who will do your kanyadaan then?
Rakhi: NDTV Imagine, who I consider as my maaykewaala will do my kanyadaan.
You said you are media's daughter and now you're saying that the kanyadaan will be done exclusively by NDTV. How is this fair to us?
Elesh: I think you are all one big family. So just come on down and party with us.
The eliminated contestants were not allowed to attend the engagement ceremony.
Rakhi: First of all, I was so loaded with jewelry, all my attention went on handling myself. I had no clue what anyone else was doing. So naturally I never came to know that some of the eliminated contestants had come. But I think it's a good thing they never got an entry because even I saw some of the news clippings. Someone had slashed his chest and blood was oozing from it. Someone else was pulling out his hair in despair. So even if they would've been let in, you can imagine what a scene they would've created.
You've had very bad experiences with men in the past. After you broke up with Abhishek Awasthi you vowed never to get married.
Rakhi: Men?! I have only one ex-boyfriend. You are making it sound as if there are so many! And anyways I've had bad experiences with men therefore I decided to participate in Swayamvar where every prospective groom had to undergo many tests. Elesh because of his sincerity has passed all the tests. He is my Kohinoor diamond.
How much time will it be before you finally tie the knot?
Rakhi: I will wait patiently till Elesh is ready. Be it a month, six months, a year or more.
Elesh your would- be - wife is so popular, aren't you jealous?
Fear or insecurity is a state of mind which I don't have. I am very much confident. And I can assure you that there is no jealousy from my side.
Rakhi how much do you like your solitaire ring?
Ah!( looks at her ring fondly). Too much is all I can say!
How many crores is it worth?
Rakhi: Crores?! (laughs) Arre baba, I'm Rakhi Sawant not Shilpa Shetty. But jokes aside, it doesn't matter what its worth. Elesh has given it to me with love and that's what makes it special.
Elesh has seven ex-girlfriends.
Rakhi: That's precisely why I chose Elesh. He told me honestly that he has seven ex-girlfriends. Everyone has a past. So I don't mind whether he has seven or a hundred ex-girlfriends. I'd accept him anyway.
Hypothetically speaking, what if you go to Toronto and you find Elesh's wife waiting for him?
Rakhi: (Gasps and then replies calmly)Well, then I leave the choice to Elesh, to either pick me or her.
Elesh would you like to tell us which one of your ex is better than the rest of exes?
Forget about the past. Rakhi is sitting right next to me now. I don't need anyone else.
When exactly did you realize you're in love with the other person?
Rakhi: I did not fall in love with him during the Swayamvar. Because, as you also might have witnessed, every time I started trusting someone and started having feelings, my heart got broken. Therefore, I had decided I would control myself at all costs. I will not let my heart get attached to anyone until all the tests are done. And it was after I had made my final choice that I let my feelings grow for Elesh.
Elesh: Well, it was the time Rakhi was visiting homes, Delhi, Rishikesh and so on. I was left alone behind, in a solitary confinement, if you'd like to say. That was the time that Micheal Jackson's ceremony was going on. I was watching it, sad and mourning. And I knew that Rakhi has also been greatly inspired by MJ. So it just crossed my mind that she should've been there with me, during that hour of need. That was when I realized that I genuinely missed her company and that I have feelings for her.
Rakhi, your competitors say this show is a big farce. This is no real marriage.
You people wont rest until I go to the grave. Seriously! I have even got engaged (flashes her ring) and yet you are not ready to believe, then what can I do?
Rakhi will you shift base work in Hollywood? Because now you have an option of settling down in Toronto.
Elesh: Both of our careers are in Mumbai. So let's keep it this way- that Toronto will now be our vacation hot spot.
Elesh you will always be known as Mr. Rakhi Sawant.
Elesh: Titles don't bother me. But I will tell you this- she is Mrs. Parujanwala.
Rakhi what would you like to be called as Rakhi Parujanwala or Rakhi Sawant Parujanwala?
Rakhi: (Smiles widely and answers after a long time) Rakhi Parujanwala.
Rakhi was also pretty close with the other 15 contestants. Didn't this bother you?
Elesh: When I came to the Swayamvar I came with the full understanding that Rakhi would devote equal time to all the suitors, so she can get to know them and choose who she thinks is best for her. Having said this, even otherwise I don't have a problem with that. I'm completely fine.
Did you feel funny fighting for your love on national television?
Elesh: At first it was awkward but then I got used to it. And once I knew she was the one for me, I had to do whatever I did, be it holding her hands or telling my parents that I want to spend the rest of my life with her .
You said you have only one ex-boyfriend. But what about you previous marriage to Ashraf Khan?
Elesh: I don't see the relevance of that question right now.
But I want to hear what Rakhi has to say about this.
Rakhi: No Comments.
Did Rakhi ever hint at you that you will be the winner?
Elesh: No, she kept me on my toes all the time. I was literally biting the bullet till the last minute.
Will you remain friends with the other fifteen suitors?
Rakhi: Yes, I will. There is nothing wrong in maintaining a healthy friendship. I might even meet them once in a while.
Rakhi has told many times that she doesn't respect her parents. Didn't you feel apprehensive that she might show the same attitude towards your parents?
Elesh: No Comments
Rakhi what are your future career plans?
Well career plans are many. There's Yash Raj ji's Dil Bole Hadippa and many more films. Don't think just because of my engagement and marriage I will sit at home. No I am a workaholic and will do much, much work in the coming days.
Reporter: Ashima Mishra
Author: Susan Jose
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