How Bollywood has influenced marriages in more ways than one

While Bollywood has often influenced our fashion sensibilities, there is another aspect where the filmi influence is quite apparent, specially these days — weddings. It is not surprising, since Bollywood and Indian marriages seem to share the same DNA of being larger than life, dramatic and sentimental. And thanks to some of our filmmakers, young Indians across the world are familiar with terms like mehendi, sangeet, karva chauth, roka, mangni and the works associated with them. The last part of the sentence is crucial, as the fanfare relating to marriage ceremonies has undergone a transformation that’s in sync with the hit shaadi sequences of the year. We spoke to a few would-be-brides and grooms to understand how Bollywood has impacted their wedding psyche.

Bollywood-style weddings
Deepika Padukone’s lehengas in Ram Leela are high on the wedding fashion radar. Girls are also opting for outfits similar to those donned by Alia Bhatt in Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya. Aishwarya Rai’s jewellery in Devdas and Jodhaa Akbar is extremely popular with bling lovers. Kangna Ranaut’s simple floral jewellery in Queen too is loved by young girls

Truly filmi style
The 1968 film Neel Kamal was quite forgettable but its sentimental track, Babul Ki Duaen Leti Jaa remains iconic till date. It resonates at every Indian wedding whether it’s in a metro or a small town. However, it was Sooraj Barjatya’s record-breaking 1994 film Hum Aapke Hai Kaun (HAHK) that left a deeper impact.

The film described as a wedding documentary by some in the West took us through the ceremonies while telling a story of love and family values. Nagpur-based Shilpa Dubey who is getting hitched in January, tells us, “I live in a joint family and every wedding in our family has the HAHK element. The scenario will be the same for my marriage, all cousins are gearing up for dance performances, skits; they have even planned to make a short film on me to show to my in-laws on the day of the sangeet.”

She further says, “I have noticed that films like Devdas, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and the recent Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (YJHD) have influenced people. The idea of having a face-off between the boy and girl’s sides at the sangeet has gained popularity after films like Saathiya, HAHK and YJHD. It’s a lot of fun.” Karan Johar is one filmmaker whose dreamy wedding sequences have stirred the imagination of many girls. Mumbai girl Sejal Sethia who is also getting married in January, says, “Though I am not a very filmy person, I definitely want to incorporate some elements of my favourite film’s, Kal Ho Na Ho during my function. I love the scene where Jaya Bachchan and the rest hold a dupatta over Preity’s (Preity Zinta) head as they bring her to the mandap. I want that in my wedding as well.”

The big fat Indian wedding
Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s colourful canvases have also jazzed up weddings. Shilpa says, “Films like Devdas, Jodha Akbar and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai make us want to co-ordinate clothes and jewellery to bring forth that regal look. We have given orders to the decorator to do up our home differently for every occasion.”

Allahabad girl Alpana Tandon, who works in Mumbai, is having a destination wedding at Merwada Palace, Ajmer, a la YJHD style. “I loved YJHD and I hope my wedding festivities too are as awesome as what we saw in the film. I am looking forward to my sangeet that will be hosted by my cousins. We are also having a Rajasthani folk dance performance for the guests. In YJHD, there’s a scene where Ranbir (Ranbir Kapoor) and Aditya (Aditya Roy Kapur) are holding the veil over Kalki’s (Kalki Koechlin) head as she arrives for her mehendi. It is a part of North Indian tradition and I plan to do that. I want a dupatta and floral veil to be held by my brothers as I walk to the mandap.”

Cultural confluence
North Indian functions like sangeet and mehendi have found their way in other cultures too. Abhishek Mukherjee, who got hitched earlier this year, reveals how a sangeet became a must-have at his traditional Bengali wedding. “I had a traditional Bengali wedding where we don’t have the tradition of a sangeet. My wife had got her mehendi done as a part of her make-up. However, my younger cousins and the children wanted a fun-filled affair. So, we held a sangeet cum dance party after our reception. One of my elder sisters choreographed the show.” Likewise, Sethia who is getting married to a Maharashtrian, Rahul Meghraj tells us, “Gujarati girls wear a Gharchola and Panetar sari for their wedding. But since it’s an inter-community marriage, my parents have given me a free hand. I am wearing a red and white lehenga instead of a sari. I loved the South Indian coin motif jewellery sported by Deepika Padukone in Chennai Express. I have made one set like that for my trousseau.” Her fiance, Rahul, says, “I am not much into Bollywood but if all this makes Sejal happy, then I am game for it.”

From Deepika’s lehenga in Ram Leela to Aishwarya Rai’s jewellery in Jodha Akbar and more recently, Alia Bhatt’s wedding outfits in Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (HSKD), there are a lot of fashion inspirations for the brides. Richa Patel, who is tying the knot with her boyfriend Vipul Brahmbhatt in January says, “I loved Deepika’s eye make-up in Ram Leela and I have told my beautician that I want something similar. The lehenga I am wearing has a similar pattern to that sported by Alia in HSKD.”

Sejal too is planning to wear floral jewellery as worn by Kangna Ranaut in this year’s much-loved flick, Queen while Alpana is high on chandbalis. “I see a lot of celebs wearing lovely chandbalis. I plan to get a pair for one of the events.”

Ever since its release, Jodha Akbar has been a reference for girls deciding on their wedding trousseau. Shilpa tells us, “The jewellery worn by Aishwarya in the film is very North Indian. I am also wearing a heavy necklace and nathni at my wedding.”

Shilpa Dubey

"My favourite wedding-themed films are HAHK and YJHD. However, when it comes to clothes and jewellery, nothing can beat Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s films. I love the jewellery worn by Aishwarya in Devdas. I too want to look like Jodhaa on my special day." 
Shilpa Dubey, resident of Nagpur

Richa Patel

"I have told my fiance, Vipul to match his outfits with mine for our reception. I love Mehendi Laga Ke Rakhna from DDLJ and Saajanji Ghar Aaye from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. These two songs will be definitely played at my sangeet. Bollywood is a great help for brides."
Richa Patel, resident of Mumbai

Sejal Sethia

"I am not very fond of choreographed dance sequences so I will skip it. However, I’m observing the kind of make-up and hairstyles being flaunted by our divas and talking to my make-up artiste about the same."
Sejal Sethia, resident of Mumbai

Alpana Tandon

"I loved the wedding sequences in films like YJHD and DDLJ. I loved Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham (K3G) as well. Earlier, sangeet used to be a smaller, ladiesonly affair. Bollywood has made it very grandiose."
Alpana Tandon, resident of Mumbai

Kirti Salve

"I am a Maharashtrian but I will have a grand haldi and mehendi function. I loved the weddings in films like DDLJ, HAHK, Queen, K3G and YJHD. Incidentally, I got engaged on November 2, which happens to be my favourite star, Shah Rukh Khan’s birthday."
Kirti Salve, resident of Navi Mumbai

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