Once upon a time…
There was a time when actual weddings and their filmed versions in Hindi movies showed some solidarity. The open yard and the flowers all over the place. The women sitting in a corner and singing wedding songs with children running around helter skelter squealing in delight at finally being able to run away from the clutches of preoccupied mothers. The men looking important and somber while they went about doing “useful” stuff for the wedding. There was a time when things were simple.
Gone are those days when weddings were a modest affair. Nowadays weddings are flashy and glitzy, and “over the top” is the new “normal“. I could site numerous examples of how things have changed since now and then but because this is about music I will focus on music. So when previously music in the wedding meant songs that Aunties sang to tease the bride and groom, nowadays it is about DJ nights and disco lights, with people dancing off to glory while the actual ceremony would often take place without much attention being paid to it.
But I should explain myself before I proceed. I am getting married you see (blush!). And while everyone else is running around trying to arrange for everything else, I stay cooped in my room trying to decide what music will be played during my wedding. I mean, won’t it be sacrilege, not having a playlist for my own wedding? Specially since I have a song for everything? I scanned a lot of places for a readymade list (the lazy bum that I am) but failed to find one. Which is why I am sharing with you part of the playlist that I finally came up with for the Great Day.
The playlist has to start with something slow and sweet, kind of like a warm-up, you see. And my story starts with the day before the wedding when I will be surrounded by my cousins and friends and family members. Challka Challka Re (Saathiya) is about the bride’s friends describing for her the feelings that she can never put into words. The song is all about a little teasing, a little advising and a little reminding the bride what entails being married afterall. The quintessential ingredients to make the bride sit and blush and smile, I tell you.
And while in the bride’s place it is all about the emotions and sentiments leaning a little towards a happy melancholy, in the groom’s place it is more about how the guy now officially loses the cool “single” stamp. Don’t get me started on how I find it unfair that the guy is considered doomed just because he is getting a wife, but well, I can almost imagine Saiyyan Re (Salaam-E-Ishq) being played in full blast in the groom’s place on the day before the wedding. I imagine raucous friends and taunting girls surrounding him and asking him to change his mind when there’s still time. Add to it that it is the kind of song people love dancing too. Throw in an old flame and boy doesn’t it make for one sizzling number. Or maybe I am just a little hung up on Priyanka Chopra dancing to that song in the movie.
Ah, but it is not just about the teasing and taunting. So later, when the noise has subsided and the groom has some time to think for himself, he thinks of his bride and then wonders what she must be doing. The classic Mehendi Lagake Rakhna (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge) is a must in any wedding playlist. Immortalized by Kajol in her green lehenga and Shahrukh in his Pathani suit, this song must be the first one that comes to anybody’s mind when they think about a wedding. The mehendi, the sehra, the anticipation, the romance…. This song has it all
And while we’re talking about Shahrukh and Kajol, how can I miss out on yet another favorite? Bole Churiya (Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum) could very well be the bride’s not-so-subtle reply to the groom’s anxiousness. Because well, that’s how she says that even if she might not speak out the very words her clinking bangles will let him know that she is as restless as he is. And then you wonder why all our Bollywood movies are musicals. Where dialogue fails the song comes in to save the day.
Meanwhile the bride’s mother and aunts make her sit and then they share ancient pearls of wisdom about how the in-laws is nothing but Genda Phool (Delhi 6). So they tell her how sasural isn’t really a piece of cake and you have your unsatisfied mother-in-law and your teasing husband, your sister-in-law and a playful brother-in-law, and you have to live happily among all of them. Because that is what marriage is about. I personally love the folksy simple feel of the song. Takes me back to simpler unpretentious times.
So now moving on to the big baraat, the one which deserves the biggest chunk of footage in any self-respecting Bollywood movie with a wedding in it. Where it’s all about the dancing and only about the dancing. The next three songs are thus for that bit in the wedding when old Uncles and fat Aunties shed all inhibitions and dance like no one’s watching. As the groom starts his journey from his place to the bride’s, the only thing that he can think of is that it is finally time to collect his prize. Tennu Leke (Salaam-E-Ishq again) is the perfect expression of the exultant groom as he declares open celebration. Nothing says “Watch out..Here I come!” better than this song.
Taking the noise a little notch higher (I guess that happens the closer the baraat gets to the bride’s place) is the song Pe Pe Pepein (Chance Pe Dance). When the song is named after the sound the shehnai makes, you can bet it has wedding written all over it. This, in my imagination is when you dance so hard all you see are streaks of light and color in front of you. The dancing crowd, the shining lights, and the sequined dresses. Ah, Bollywood!
And then of course the groom thinks of how after that day his bride would be all his and he would be all hers . Gal Mitthi Mitthi (Aisha) is just one baraat song that I would love to see people dancing to in my wedding! Plus it appeals to the sucker for mush in me, because it’s about the groom persuading his bride to stop being shy and make some noise ! This is when he urges her to show his love for him, to finally say sweet nothings in his ears. To me this song sounds like the happy culmination of a long time romance, and the only thing better than a happy romance is a happy romance leading to the grand wedding!
Finally the groom reaches the bride’s place and the first thing that he does is lose his shoes. Tradition has it that the bride’s sisters steal the groom’s shoes and later on bargain about the price to be paid for their return. Enter Sooraj R Barjatya with his famousDulhe Ki Saali (Hum Aapke Hain Kaun) which showed us frame by frame updates of this entire episode. The song captures every bit of the teasing that takes place between the groom’s friends and the bride’s friends. I mean, seriously, while the bride and groom are in a world of their own busy getting married, the only scope of entertainment all the rest have is to participate in harmless flirting! No wonder the movie taught us a lot.
And then the moment comes when the groom sees the bride for the first time, all decked up and dolled up in layers of silk and gold and make-up. I can only imagine what must go through the groom’s mind when it hits him; that woman is truly finally being handed to him. Maybe that’s when he starts thinking of Oh Girl You’re Mine (Housefull) and silently wishes she could hear him say that he can’t possibly imagine life without her anymore. And despite all the hullabaloo, somehow the world stops and all that there exists are two people frozen in a moment that would change their lives. Sigh.
Now the next song is one of my personal favorites because it shows the bride dancing in her own wedding and I really, really wish I could do it too! Raat Ke Dhai Baje (Kaminey) breaks all so-called Bollywood moulds and shows a new bride who is not at all hesitant to show how happy she is to get married. And I really want to imagine that behind that veil and despite the bowed head and shyness, inside, the bride really wants to come out in the open about how exciting getting married is!
And now that the bride and groom have seen each other the only thing that is left is the wedding itself, and it is nothing but Mauja Hi Mauja (Jab We Met) as they take part in ritual after ritual and their friends celebrate their new beginning. While the couple is all somber and serious and lost in the moment, for friends it is yet another occasion to flap their arms and shake their legs, and just do their thing. With nothing else to do during that time, all they can do is try get to dance with the ones they had managed to flirt with during the course of the evening!
With the wedding over the deal is sealed, and the fates are locked. And that’s when the friends love to rub in the groom’s face the fact that he is now formally doomed. Zor Ka Jhatka (Action Replayy) is the ultimate anthem of a confirmed disbeliever, and including this song in my playlist is really my idea of a good humored joke. I really have promised to play this song for my brand new husband in the wedding itself! In my story this is where the friends follow the groom around making sure he hears them say this out loud and then they also dance to the song to make sure the message is etched in his mind.
The last song is for when the end credits roll. When all that is left is an abandoned “mandap” and flowers strewn over and all the people are tired and sleepy. Dhunki (Mere Brother Ki Dulhan) is casually thrown into this playlist because it is a fun number that will ensure that there’s no awkward silence after all the noise has subsided. And for those super men and women who still have energy left to groove just a little bit more. So while this song has nothing to do with the story itself, which ended in joyful camaraderie and a comedy scene, this is where you toss off wayward popcorn and smoothen the creases in your dress and get ready to call it a day. While making sure you are left with a catchy tune to hum along to.
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