I am in a shaadi Como. Sorry, coma. My head is reeling trying to differentiate between the Bollywood superstars who tied the knot, exchanged rings, exchanged vows and what not. The destinations look the same. The outfits look ditto-ditto. Even the expressions are somewhat alike. As if the same movie director is behind the camera saying, "...and ACTION!"
Not being cynical, khadoos vaghera but the two mega-shaadis resembled super productions with special effects and amazing sets. Each shot of every magical moment was so perfectly lit and composed, one marveled at the art direction and attention to detail. Since most Indian weddings (big-fat or small-lean) have been transformed into customized events curated for social media, it's silly to look for simplicity or bhaari meaning. Besides, what's the point in opting for low key when you happen to be the most fabulously gorgeous stars on earth? Every single thing has to be 'awesome' - from the flowers to the goodie bags, and even the paan masala. "Awesome''!!! And to make it all "epic'', we now have cutting edge professionals handling it all. "Baby, you want vintage? Nooooo? Okay. Victorian meets Mehrauli? Yaaaassss! You've got it." Once the 'vision' is in place, the rest is easy.
Then comes the HUGE decision: which designer gets to fleece...oops, sorry...dress the couple? What about picking between just two? The one who does 'head-to-toe' and the other who also does 'head-to-toe' without saying it. Okay. That's settled. Chikaankaari? Perfect. You can never go wrong with that. With gota-patti. Without gota-patti. You know...mix it up a little, play around with pastels and throw in a few 'authentic' ethnic elements. Strictly no reds, okay? Brides in red are just so dehati, babes. Only pastels and ivories, please. So much easier to colour co-ordinate on Insta. Jewels? 'Head-to-toe' again. Natch. Yes, baba...even for the grooms! Today's dulhas love their polkis and diamonds as much as the dulhans. They also love the idea of lehengas and elaborate embroidery for themselves - do you mind? And haan...please don't snigger. At least, we aren't giving the groom ghungats, payals, nathnis and maang tikkas - maybe we'll save that for the next Bollywood shaadi (Ranbir-Alia?). Gender fluidity is very, very on point in the West. If we can copy their gowns, why not copy the androgynous trend too?
Achcha, the real big competition was for the better guest list ? Not the grandeur of the shaadi? The location? Fireworks? Khaana peena? No?? Okay. So how did the guest list competition pan out? Haan, Meghan Markle didn't make it to Jodhpur. Bechari. How can she travel so far, she is preggers, na? See, travelling to Africa and other faraway destinations is different. That is her job, now that she is a countess and all. Countess or Duchess or something like that. What goes of ours what exactly Meghan is in her country? Chalo, she wasn't present. And we don't really know who those other foreigners were. They must have been important and famous, given the level of security provided at the palace. Unless, of course, Donald and Melania came to the shaadi incognito?
It's quite mean of some big, big stars to attend one colleague's wedding and skip the other one's. It must be pure jealousy. One colleague is now officially American, living the ultimate American Dream in California. Soon she will produce a 'Made in America' baby, and then we will hardly see her in India. That is what industry wallas are saying. The other one is not going anywhere! She also tried her luck in Hollywood but realised she was the asli Desi Girl, whose future is right here. Naturally, more people attended her multiple receptions (19, did we hear?) Better to be on the right side of this power couple whose plans are unambiguously 'Make In India' - babies and movies, both. See, Bollywood is very practical that way. Out of sight, out of mind has always been the film industry's mantra. The guest attendance at the two shaadis proved it once again. Koi baat nahi. At least both the couples looked pyaar mein, and genuinely happy. That's the only thing that matters, hai na?
Who wore what? Uffff...difficult to sort out the hits from the misses, given that the rather unfortunate looking designer gowns with thigh-high slits and no backs won over sarees and traditional wedding outfits for the ladies. While our men chose tuxedos with shiny lapels and shinier shoes over elegant sherwanis and bandgalas. The only star who was more bridal than the bride herself was Rekha - Bollywood's perennial dulhan for all seasons and reasons.
For some entirely inexplicable reason, the Mumbai couple wanted a library theme for their reception, complete with faux books! Perhaps, with so many lit fests taking place, they didn't want to miss out on the 'intellectual' vibe in the midst of all that blinding glitz. The carefully picked red carpet 'looks' on parade seamlessly converted both Bollywood shaadis into international promotional events for luxury brands. Why not? Go ahead...flaunt it, babes!
So...which jodi won this war? Neither. The only winner was social media.
Welcome to the OTT world of Shaadi.CON
(Shobhaa De is an established writer, columnist, opinion shaper and social commentator, who is considered an authority on popular culture.)
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