Bol­ly­wood Holds Sway Over Brides of In­dia

Once the bridal pair show­cased the re­gional di­ver­sity they came from, now the look is de­signer rather than re­gional wear

The Economic Times - - Environment & Companies -

grooms) are less known by their re­gions than their de­sign­ers. Girls want to be Sabyasachi or Man­ish Mal­ho­tra brides rather than, say, Ben­gali, Marathi or Tamil ones.

De­sign­ers and their clien­tele miss out on a great op­por­tu­nity for cre­ativ­ity by opt­ing for a stan­dard look when it comes to the out­fits, jew­ellery and makeup. In most such en­sem­bles­thereis­lit­tle­room­for­re­gion­al­vari­a­tions, though Pun­jabi brides can add choodas and kali­ras to their wrists and Ma­ha­rash­tri­ans their naths. But the over­all look is hard to as­cribe to a par­tic­u­lar re­gion.

This is one as­pect of ho­mogeni­sa­tion of cul­ture that has got less than its de­served share ofop­pro­brium.Modern­wed­dingsshoul­dac­tu­ally be a won­der­ful oc­ca­sion to show­case our di­ver­sity rather than sup­press it for an amor­phous ‘de­signer’ look. A Tamil bride and her Marathi groom intheir re­gion­alfin­ery­would make for an elo­quent state­ment of the grad­ual meld­ing to­gether of In­dia.

Over 20 years ago, I cor­rectly iden­ti­fied an Odi­aroy­alamidthe­finer­ieso­fatyp­i­calRa­jput wed­ding in Udaipur be­cause the ‘borla’ and jew­ellery she wore had that typ­i­cal eastern fil­i­gree work though she was clad in the tra­di­tional Ra­jput ‘poshak’. To­day I am not sure such di­ver­sity would be ev­i­dent, es­pe­cially as most In­dian roy­als ap­pear to be adopt­ing a uni­form Ra­jasthani look!

The sa­ree in all her man­i­fes­tions—from the nine-yardTamilBrah­mi­nandMa­ha­rash­trian rain kashta ones, to the reg­u­lar six-yard ones from Gu­jarati Pane­tar and Ghar­chola to Odisha’s boula patta—has been the loser in this ho­mogeni­sa­tion trend. In­deed, the bridal sa­rees of In­dia could have been a pretty awe­some choice for an Air In­dia cal­en­dar, given their di­ver­sity of de­sign and colour!

The sa­ree’s fall can be seen most per­haps in Chris­tian wed­dings in In­dia. Tra­di­tion­ally there was no sin­gle ‘look’—Ker­ala Chris­tian brides looked dif­fer­ent from Man­ga­lorean or Goan ones, not to men­tion An­glo-In­dian or East-In­dian. But now, like the typ­i­cal tra­di­tional In­dian Chris­tian Christ­mas feasts are be­com­ing‘in­ter­na­tion­alised’ tothe detri­ment of lo­cal dishes, so is the bride’s look.

It was a Goan friend who first told me that brides in his com­mu­nity of ‘Brah­min Chris­tians’ never wore white dresses—it was al­ways sa­rees. In some cases even the ty­ing of man­gal­su­tras have been in­te­gral parts and par­cel of In­dian Chris­tian wed­ding cer­e­monies.Nowwhite­bri­dal­go­wns,veil­sand­flower tiarasar­ere­plac­ingsa­reesinIn­dia’schurches as much as de­signer lehn­gas are else­where.

Thanks to Bol­ly­wood, re­gional vari­a­tions some­times­be­come­trendy,suchasAish­warya Rai Bachchan’s Ben­gali red-bor­dered sa­ree af­ter Dev­das—and the col­lar-like jew­ellery in Jodha-Ak­bar that has now be­come allper­va­sive. Deepika Padukone’s ghaghra in Pad­ma­vat got some trac­tion but Priyanka Chopra’s nau­vari in Ba­ji­rao Mas­tani was over­shad­owed by Deepika’s lehenga in the same film.

But in 2018 on-screen looks have paled be­fore Anushka Sharma’s real-life pas­tel lehenga adorned with flow­ers and those sig­na­ture Sabyasachi dou­ble du­pat­tas. It in­spired a mil­lion knock-offs in the wed­dings that have fol­lowed their De­cem­ber 2017 nup­tials. Had Anushka not worn sa­rees for her re­cep­tions in Delhi and Mum­bai, this tra­di­tional drape may not have re­cov­ered from the blow!

Her man Vi­rat Kohli sparked no trend at all as he looked just like what all-too-many grooms do these days, clad in an em­broi­dered sher­wa­niand­churi­darthough­hissock­swere an­aber­ra­tion.In­di­an­groom­sal­so­haveaw­ide va­ri­ety of tra­di­tional at­tire to choose from but sadly the un­stitched un­cer­tainty of most of them make our pusil­lan­i­mous men go for tied churi­dars or safely belted trouser suits. Two mega wed­dings are com­ing up— both cross cul­tural. It is too much to ex­pect Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra (and es­pe­cially Ran­veer Singh and Nick Jonas!) to stick to tra­di­tional wed­ding wear from their re­gions. But while Bol­ly­wood wed­ding trends are be­guil­ing, it is time for those who havethe­where­with­al­toal­so­think­about­p­re­serv­ing this im­por­tant as­pect of our di­verse com­pos­ite cul­ture.

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