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How Bollywood influences South Asian American Weddings

Neetha

Karan Johar has probably had more impact on our weddings than anyone else in recent history” – states a recent article in The Hindu.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Karan Johar, he is a prolific Bollywood producer/director/writer and talk show host, who films show over the top wedding glamour – which in turn has shaped the nuptial ideas of a whole generation of South Asian Americans.

A great quote in the article from a wedding planner: “In fact, I once organised a Tamil Brahmin wedding where the bride was so influenced by Bollywood movies that she wanted a Punjabi  jago  as part of the event. This is where the aunt dances with a pot of lamps on her head. We had to bring in  dholaks  and train the aunt to dance…”

We asked Ruby Bhandari, Chief Designer at the Dallas-based fashion company Silk Threads, about what she sees trending with new brides and grooms.

“South Asian wedding culture is ever evolving”, Ruby says. “We see new brides on a weekly basis, and most of them are second generation South Asian Americans – they may have had infrequent trips to India when they were younger, but now they rely on popular Bollywood movies to guide them from a fashion perspective. In addition, these movies are also heavy on so-called wedding customs (or Rivaaz) – which creates a co-mingling of the culture and traditions behind the wedding – leading to some interesting outcomes. We also get a lot of inter-racial weddings, where we factor in choices of both sides for their wedding trousseaus and menswear”

In fact, Bollywood has created a whole ecosystem around South Asian American weddings – a visit to any of the South Asian American themed Bridal Shows will show a host of vendors showing beautiful wedding decor – from traditional to minimalistic modern – as well as standard, but fusion, trappings of any wedding – from wedding cards to favors to food.

As the article concludes, “Irrespective of the kind of marriage — interracial or within communities — one thing is clear. while the path to marriage in the Indian-American context can be distinctly different from a true Indian matrimonial experience, at the end of the day the quest for a “happily ever after” remains the same…”

Now all we need is ShahRukh Khan…

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