Our fixation with celeb weddings has resurfaced once again with Sonam Kapoor and entrepreneur Anand Ahuja tying the knot in Mumbai. The Saawariya actor’s high-profile star-studded wedding has us obsessing over everything from her clothes, jewellery, venue and the guest list. People are sharing videos and pictures from her sangeet and wedding ceremony with the enthusiasm reserved especially for family weddings. Ladies on my WhatsApp groups are exchanging classified information about the event, which even Sonam would not know. But why do celebrity weddings in India cast such a spell?
Why do we go berserk every time a film star or a prominent public figure decides to exchange vows? Suddenly our social and personal problems become irrelevant, as we live the high life virtually, through these weddings.
First things first, let us admit that we Indians are drawn to celeb life and weddings both separately and together.
We have grown up feasting on celeb gossip and traditional weddings in our society, complete with supposedly awe-inspiring rituals. So celebrity celeb weddings are like a massage of opulence to our budget-driven senses. A large part of the Indian population can never afford to wear that gold-embroidered lehenga, for many it is worth a year’s salary, the jewellery costs more than the GDP of some African nations. But they can watch these celebs pose in their zardozi and diamonds, and fascinate about being in the proximity of such grandiose, if not at the center of it. This is the similar kind of grandiose which draws us to larger than life Bollywood films.
There are many who also watch celeb weddings from the perspective of couture. What kind of ensemble is in and what is out. The colours of the garments, the bridal make-up, hairstyle, etc. everything is paid close attention to be recreated on a budget scale come the next wedding season for the commoners.
Wedding couture is probably the most talked about aspect of any celeb weddings. This would probably explain why my head is full of useless information like traditional Indian attire in shades of white was the dress code for Sonam’s sangeet.
The buzz that distracts
Our obsession with celeb weddings and a dearth of TRP drawing news propels media houses to cover these weddings extensively. There are people who want to scroll through endless pics of Kapoor posing in her bridal outfit. Those who want to know what Taimur wore to the high-profile ceremony. And social media and news channels feed it to them dutifully.
This is because celeb weddings sweep us away from the perils of living in a third-world nation momentarily. Women are being abused, corruption and patriarchy are rotting the very core of our social infrastructure. Petrol prices are at all-time high, and our politicians’ virtues at all-time low. The cornered and burdened Indian minds time and again need a distraction from their troubles.
No one likes to have their heads full of miserable thoughts 24 by 7. So, we use celeb weddings as a white noise to cancel out the loud concerns which envelop our mind constantly.
The said celeb gets free likes and re-tweets on social media. The print and digital news platforms gain high TRPs. The fashion designers get free publicity and our problems get a respite from our pestering. But what do we gain?
We gain some distraction. And while we may later loath ourselves for giving into the temptation, these fat and opulent weddings are our cheap thrills. They help us find light moments in the humdrum of our burdened existence.
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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own