Interview: Meera’s search for Mr Right

KARACHI:Pakistan now has its very own version of “The Bach-elorette”, starring none other than Lollywood actor Meera. “Kaun Baneyga Me-era Pati” (KBMP), which airs on Thursday and Friday at 9 pm on GEO TV, features the starlet searching for a prospective groom amongst 13 suitors.

The Lollywood starlet is currently starring in ‘Kaun Banega Meera Pati’. DESIGN AND ILLUSTRATION : ESSA MALIK

“KBMP’s” very first episode featured the bashful bride to-be decked up in gaudy jewellery, smiling at the camera and coyly requesting the audience “to pray for her happiness”.  Later in the show, Meera made a dashing entrance on the flamboyant podium, in a doli carried by backup dancers dressed as baratis.

The show projects the fantasy of a princess plonked on her plinth with over a dozen commoners — or Shahdils as they are called on “KBMP“— wooing her to the best of their abilities. But this is no tale of old-fashioned romance. Replete with cheesy dialogues, melodramatic pickup lines and emotional outbursts of contestants, the show is a crass replica of “Rakhi ka Swayamvar” featuring controversial actor Rakhi Sawant, which was aired on India’s NDTV in 2009.

“KBMP” sets a new benchmark for Bollywood-inspired tackiness in Pakistan’s reality TV. When the programme host, Ali Safina, asked a contestant whether he was nervous before meeting Meera for the first time, the confident competitor replied, “Why would I be nervous? She’s not a nuclear power; she’s just a beautiful girl.” And when Meera asked another candidate to get his long unruly locks cut, he replied zealously, “Not just my hair, I’m also willing to chop off my neck for you.”

Many other such naff, yet entertaining, theatrics definitely make watching this show a guilty pleasure.

The Express Tribune contacted the controversial starlet to ask her views about her own show.

How is your experience of working on the show?
I am really enjoying it. I really like common people and so I love interacting with them on the show. Some people advised us to bring in executives and businessmen on the show but we opted to bring in commoners. Ordinary people consider famous stars their idols and they dream of marrying them. My show aims to make this possible.

Why did you decide to do such a show?
I found this idea very entertaining. Many channels have asked me to do political shows and morning shows but I did not want to do something too serious. But instead, I opted to do this programme.

How do you handle the intense adoration of the candidates?
I have been in the business for nearly 15 years so this is nothing new for me. I am a famous person so I have always had thousands of fans. But I feel good about the attention and love that I get from the candidates.

What do you think about the suitors on the show?
They are good boys from good families. They are very ambitious. I like them.

So will you really be marrying one of those boys?
Well it has not been decided yet.  I am not sure whether I will marry one of them.

Rumour has it that Veena will be featuring on Veena Ka Swayamvar on NDTV, India. So, do you think that you a trendsetter?
The Indian show will obviously be a bigger and more popular. But I always do new things and introduce new ideas in Pakistan. People have compared my show to Rakhi Sawant’s. But “KBMP” is different. I am targeting the youth and the common people in my show.

Your brother, Ahsan, recently appeared on one of “KBMP’s” episodes. How does he handle you being on this show?
My brother is aware of the fact that his sister is a superstar and hence gets a lot of attention from the public. But he is also a very family-oriented guy and wants me to get married soon and have a husband and children, so he liked being part of the show.

Meera’s most memorable moments

Birthday celebrations
Meera recently celebrated her birthday at the Karachi Press Club in May. The event turned sour for the diva when journalists broke into laughter, after one of them loudly claimed that the starlet had turned merely 25. Annoyed by the constant snickering, the starlet criticised the non-serious attitude of the media personnel.

Verbal diarrhoea
A hilarious video starring Meera has been making rounds on YouTube. In the video, she rehearses for an interview with fashion photographer Tapu Javeri and casually says, “I am very sorry to cut you off, but we have to go to the bathroom break”. Hats off to Tapu Javeri for keeping his cool!

Friends turn enemies
The star recently accused Indian filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt of abusing her because he felt threatened of her growing stardom. “Bhatt wanted me to stick to his banner. When I told him I wanted to meet Subhash Ghai, he shouted at me and even slapped me thrice,” said Meera. She also claimed that Bhatt had special feelings for her.

For better or worse
Contrary to credible evidence shown by the media and police, Meera denies tying the knot with businessman Atiqur Rahman in 2007. In reply to Rehman’s claim of being her lawful husband, Meera filed a civil suit in which she accused him of forging a nikahnama (marriage certificate) to confiscate her property.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 17th, 2011.






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