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Witerati | Celeb couples’ nickname & 15 minutes of fame

This super-couple nicknaming trend, which now sounds as “desi-fied” as Hinglish or “Chizza” on our tongues, was initially an import from Hollywood.

punjab Updated: May 14, 2017 15:03 IST
Chetna Keer
Chetna Keer
Hindustan Times
Chetna Keer

Living in times when trends come riding on the social media faster than the lips learn to spout “swag”, it is natural to sometimes be at a loss of wit to make sense of all that new-media lingo by which one gets hit.

Recently, while reviewing a popular TV dance reality show, showcasing celebrity couples, I grappled with the names of contesting couples, some of whom were not easy on the tongue, some not easy on the eye. Among them was one social media-savvy “jodi”, whose name stood out as trendily as Big B’s signature-style double-wrist watches.

The “jodi,” popularly christened ‘hashtag divek”, is emblematic of the new media-driven nickname for television’s first couple Divyanka and Vivek! Divek is to small-screen couple-hood what Saifeena is to big-screen pairings. This telly “reality” check showed how a famous mash-up moniker could sometimes do more for the score than Divek’s pirouetting on the dance floor.

This super-couple nicknaming trend, which now sounds as “desi-fied” as Hinglish or “Chizza” on our tongues, was initially an import from Hollywood, a la Brangelina or Bennifer, the phonetic union of Brad Pitt and Angelina or Ben and Jennifer Lopez, respectively, where it was trendy to portmanteau (name blend) couples the moment they started dating. With “hashtag” becoming the prefix to popular portmanteau, the trend evolved to acquire a vocabulary symbolic of Twitter and Instagram identities.

What William Shakespeare said of greatness, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust on them,” is a truism which holds good for the social-media trendiness of our stars too.

Some celeb couples are “born” to nomenclature trendiness, thanks to a famous surname which further begets a popular pair name, a la AbhiAsh. Some super-couples have moniker trendiness “thrust on them” a la Saifeena, by sheer virtue of the fact that their linguistic union bore phonetic resemblance to a Hollywood power-couple portmanteau, Brangelina. (It’s another story that a name of yore recently saw Saifeena trending galore when along came Taimur). And it’s also another story that dissolution of the legendary Brangelina union, linguistically and legally, now spells the end of an era in moniker history.

Then there are celeb couples who “achieve” trendiness of nickname simply out of herd mentality so that they can their cupid-struck or committed status proclaimed, a la Divek or Monaya (aka telly’s Mohit Sehgal and Sanaya). This nickname game, however, sometimes goes awry, like when television actors Gauhar Khan and Kushal Tandon’s mash-up moniker “Gaushal” sounded as heavy on the tongue as portmanteau “smog” is heavy on the lung.

Interestingly, this imported trend spells brisk business for desi spoofs. Critics churn out compounded parodies faster than star link-ups, citing couples who shouldn’t date out of deference to the unpalatable monikers they would spawn. So, if an Alia Bhatt-Siddharth union is thought unsuitable from the viewpoint of linguistic amalgamation, which could spell disaster with nickname “Aalsi”, a Bipasha-Harman or Ranbir-Chitrangada pairing was also viewed to be vocabulary unfriendly, what with their only blended possibilities being “Bihar” and “Ranchi”, respectively!!!

Luckily or unluckily for Bollywood pairings of the past, their couple-hood didn’t happen in these times of Twitter. Imagination runs wild figuring out what could have been the best linguistic union for that dream match, Dharam-Hema, or the phonetic possibilities of the portmanteau kind for that sensational alliance of Bollywood’s bygone era – Rajesh Khanna and Dimple era – had cupid scripted their coupling in the current era of Instagram vocabulary.

Just as well, perhaps, that certain yesteryear celeb couple chemistry didn’t make it to social media-driven moniker history.

After all, what’s in a combo nickname? Other than 15 minutes of social-media fame!

The writer is a Chandigarh-based freelance contributor

First Published: May 14, 2017 15:03 IST