Friday, November 20, 2009

The big fat Punjabi wedding

I am sure you all have been to one of these or at least have been virtually part of their Bollywood rendition. With all my cousins queuing up to take the pious saat pheras, I am continuously reminded of a dialogue from the timeless DDLJ, which goes something like -- Purre ki Purri nasal hi Jawan ho gayi hai.

The world of Punjabi weddings is not too far away from our beloved bollywood. Both borrow a lot from each other. Just like our films we have a hero, our dashing bridegroom, (who can give a good competition to a Shah Rukh Khan) radiant in an ornate sherwani. For a good part of the movie…ah..I mean the wedding, poor thing keeps waiting for the heroine ah..again sorry… the bride to arrive. And when she does arrive, all these cameramen (or the paparazzi) take over, with the luckless relatives and guests trying their best to get one good look of her, getting sidelined.

One thing I have never been able to understand is that ‘Are these weddings only meant for the cameramen to shoot in order to have a good album or a video for the people to admire later or for the souls who worked so hard to deck up and make it to the wedding venue?’ The question is always left answered since everybody is waiting for his or her turn to get photographed with the celebrity couple. Anyhow that again makes it very close to Bollywood where shoots are done only keeping the camera in mind. The people are meant to enjoy the films later and not the real stuff, so fair enough!

Oh, so yes our lovely bride (no less than an Aishwarya Rai) has arrived! It takes like forever for her to get to the stage (yeah, we know the tiny thing is at least managing to walk in the 10 kg zardosi Lehenga of hers!) where her prince charming is eagerly waiting for her, trying his best to appear composed. As I already mentioned her entry is no less than any celebrity’s with all the camera flashes and people following.

So, Finally she’s here and now comes the time for Jaymala or the garland exchange for the firang souls. To add to the surrounding drama there is one new addition to the sequence, which left me, astounded the first time I witnessed it.  The bride and the groom are made to climb this high pedestal (not to be confused with the stage, that’s separate!) where they exchange the garlands. The prime reason for making that lighthouse sort of structure is of course a good view for people, no actually the camera. But the drama doesn’t end there. After the exchange, the disc on top (where the couple is!) of the pedestal starts rotating and does so for atleast 15- 20 min. During that period there is a continuous rose petal shower that adds to the spectacle.  That strengthens their position as the celebrity couple and merely brings us back to the point where I said they are so much Bollywood ishtyle!

Though one thing sets them apart is that the bollywood films ends in 3-hour (or max 4 hours!) but this show goes on till next morning and is a sure shot paisa vasool for the spectators (that is if you are smarter than the camera man!). From the couple’s (bride and the groom of course!) photography sessions, people photography sessions, couple’s eating session and the finale the sat-pheras session, everything is quite fascinating. I will end up writing a book if go in details of all of these ceremonies and more (doesn’t sound like a bad idea though!), which hold their individual charm and excitement.