What is the first thing that comes to your mind when I say ‘Khatron ke Khiladi‘ in a post which is categorised as Bollywood? Who else but arguably one of the most dashing, sexy and bravest action hero in Bollywood, Akshay Kumar. Right?
But, its time to think out of the box now. For one, try imagining a Yana Gupta in place of Akki. Or try a Pooja Bedi. Difficult is it? Well you better get used to it cause she might just win that title pretty soon.
Yana Gupta is one of the 13 bollywood beauties who are going to contest with each other for the title ‘Khatron ke khiladi’ in the, soon to go on air, reality tv show, “Fear Factor – Khatron ke Khiladi” which as the name suggest is the Indian version of the American popular show ‘Fear Factor‘ and would be hosted by none other than the Khiladi himself, Akshay Kumar. Its going to be aired on the new Hindi general entertainment channel ‘Colors‘ and is being launched on the same day when the channel is being launched, 21 July 2008.
In my knowledge this is perhaps the biggest gender de-construction that has happened in the Indian small screen. You have the ultimate action man Akshay, surrounded by all these beauties who are the epitome of girliness and feminity, all the sexy girls with their perfect figures and flawless colors it almost becomes impossible to imagine them in any other avatar than what we see on the ramp or the gossip magazines.
So when you see these super gorgeous screen queens facing the highest level of physical and mental challenge in real life, doing their own stunt without using a body double, you break away from the notion that ‘beauty’ and ‘toughness’ don’t go together. And then you have the man himself guiding these women through this whole show, which I think is a huge shift from the common cliche that – a man and a woman compliment each other the best when he brings out the most feminine side from her and she brings out the strongest part of him.
To me Akshay Kumar is truly a champion. Respect to him for being part of this show.
Talking about gender de-construction on small screen, another real hero is Salmaan Khan and the show Dus Ka Dum which recently invited Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a transsexual social activist who came and won many hearts and broke a many myth on the national television.
While flirting with Salmaan in charismatic confidence, Laxmi expressed her heartfelt gratitude to Salmaan for having her in the show, She said, “There are so many reality shows happening but no one has ever invited us before. So, this day is a day of great achievement for the hijda community, and would be marked as a golden day in the history of our struggle for human rights and recognition. By inviting me to this show you have proved you are the real hero.”
And she was not exaggerating. For an average audience of any such show the only image an hijda can have is a ‘money extorting weird non-human who strips anytime anywhere, who is an illeterate dirty outcast worse than the stray dog.’ When such an audience sees a hijda as graceful, articulate, witty and dignified as Laxmi, notions are bound to break.
Respect to Salman and the team of Dus Ka dum for doing this.