17 April, 2021

Fancy And Fandangle

Indian wedding has journeyed from simplicity to Bollywoodised chintz

Sandeep Adhhwaryu
Fancy And Fandangle

When I got married in 1971, colour photography was virtually unknown, so the only pictures we have today to commemorate that historic occasion are some grainy B&W ones. In them my husband and I look like characters out of a village Ramlila, our heads covered with Almora-made tinsel 'crowns' (often lined with old newspapers advertising Zalim Lotion or Dalda vanaspati). Come to think of it, the scale and manner of most weddings in our time was that of a nukkad Ramlila. The food was homemade, and the house was decorated with terracotta diyas, mango-leaf garlands, and rice-paste alpana, its pattern unchanged through centuries.

Cut now to the year 1999: I had been chosen to play a small part in Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding (probably because by now I was sufficiently fat and vulgar to play the part of an auntie at a Punjabi wedding a la Delhi). Wildly excited, I awaited the costume fittings—an ardent desire unfulfilled at my own modest wedding. The film's poncy designer took a bored look at my vital statistics and waved...

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