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The year 2021 was embellished with top-notch celebrity weddings. These weddings broke the internet not only for being grand & lavish but also for smashing societal stereotypes!
When it comes to celebrity weddings, people’s excitement knows no bounds. These weddings feel personal, and most of us want to be updated with every minute detail of the wedding.
This is perhaps the reason why these weddings go viral, and the internet is brimming with snaps from these grand celebrations. But the year 2021 was different in this sense. These 8 high-profile celebrity weddings didn’t make news just for their celeb value, but also for breaking conventional and prominent societal stereotypes.
On 9th December 2021, Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal got hitched at Six Senses Fort Barwara in Chauth Ka Barwara town of Sawai Madhopur of Rajasthan. It was a private affair with limited guests invited to the destination and hence there were no certain updates from the wedding. Social media brimmed with anticipation as to what would Katrina be wearing for her D-day, who all are invited to the wedding, what song will Vicky Kaushal dance on, and what not! There were many rumours pertaining to ‘privacy’ in the wedding like no guests were permitted to click pictures or post anything on social media.
Theirs was not only a grand and lavish wedding, but it also made headlines because of the unconventional age-gap between the couple (Vicky Kaushal is five years younger than Katrina Kaif). This created news due to the conventional system of the bride being younger than the groom as people think women age faster than men. Seriously? We are in 2021, are we still to believe in such stupid conventions?
Apart from being the older one in the marriage, we all know that Katrina Kaif is also more successful than Vicky Kaushal. She has an exemplary acting career and is now blossoming as an entrepreneur as well. Again, this breaks conventions as society states that the man should be the more successful one. Well, we have these two celebrities who broke all these societal stereotypes!
And this is not all, the wedding also redefined gender stereotypes when Katrina’s sisters held the ‘Phoolon Ki Chaadar’. This is conventionally done by the bride’s brothers as this signifies the love and care she has grown under. Katrina posted a picture on Instagram of how her sisters were her biggest support and how they kept each other grounded.
After being in love for 11 years, actor Rajkummar Rao and actress Patralekhaa Paul got married on November 15, 2021, in Oberoi Sukhvilas Chandigarh. The good-looking couple got all the love from the fans when they made their wedding official by posting pictures on social media. A week later or so, Rajkummar shared a video from his wedding celebrations that went viral and won the hearts of people.
In a part of this video, Rajkummar was seen asking Patralekhaa to paint him with sindoor after he put sindoor on her. This is what we call an ‘equal marriage’. Putting sindoor on a woman is a ritual that marks the beginning of her life as a wife. So, why not even men put it to mark the beginning of their new journey as a husband? Rajkummar and Patralekhaa have indeed set an example in front of society!
Model, actress and climate change activist Dia Mirza tied the knot with Mumbai-based businessman Vaibhav Rekhi on February 15, 2021, in an intimate wedding. Dia Mirza looked stunning in a red Banarasi saree and Vaibhav looked dapper in an ivory sherwani. They opted for minimal decor using biodegradable and natural items.
What caught people’s attention the most was the presence of a woman priest. Conventionally, a male priest carries out the rituals of the weddings. How often have you seen a woman priest chanting mantras and carrying out rituals? Well, this wedding broke the gendered stereotype about how a woman is not permitted to perform the functions of a priest! And why so? Because women are impure, and hence should not be allowed to perform such pious rituals?
Dia Mirza even said in her Instagram post: “The highest point for us was the Vedic ceremony conducted by a woman priest!”
And they didn’t just have a priestess but also avoided regressive rituals like kanya daan and bidai.
They have inspired people to take such steps and smash the patriarchal and stereotypical rituals. As a consequence, many more people are inspired to walk in their footsteps.
Actress Yami Gautam tied the knot with director Aditya Dhar in a hush-hush wedding in her hometown Himachal Pradesh on June 4, 2021. It wasn’t a grand wedding, as people expect from celebrities. Their wedding pictures went viral for being simple, elegant, and traditional!
Instead of opting for a designer outfit for her special day, Yami Gautam wore her mother’s saree. Her make-up was done by her sister, she wore the dupatta (a cloth worn by women on her head) that her Nani (maternal grandmother) had kept for her. She was donned with traditional jewellery.
When asked in an interview about the reason behind opting for a simple wedding she answered “I’m someone who values my tradition and roots. And my family means the most to me. It was decided since forever that I’ll be wearing my mother’s sari. I knew [I will wear] the dupatta which my nani, she has kept for me, and that pahadi nath, which she had gotten it made for me and for all my other cousins, years back. I knew that this is what I want to stick to. And to each its own, whatever makes you happy. For me, this is what made me happy. I wanted to feel the warmth of our traditions.”
Yami’s simplicity is what won hearts all over the country. Despite being a part of an industry where everything is glamorous and lustrous, Yami has not forgotten her roots and wanted her wedding to be traditional and as simple as possible. It is not always the lustre that allures people, sometimes simplicity creates magic. Just because she is a celebrity does not mean that her wedding must be grand and lavish. It was her choice, and I am glad everyone accepted and respected her choice!!
Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Malala Yousafzai got married to the General Manager of Pakistan Cricket Board’s High-Performance Centre Asser Malik on November 10, 2021, in an intimate Nikkah ceremony in Birmingham, United Kingdom. The bride looked stunning in ethnic wear, and the couple looked as if they were always meant for each other. However, trolls came on to Malala for an old interview that was resurfacing on social media. In this interview, she had said she was not keen on the idea of getting married.
After marriage, when she was asked about this in an interview with BBC, she said, “I was not against marriage, I had concerns about marriage and that is true for many girls around the world who have seen reports about child marriage and reports about forced marriage.” She added that she saw there was an imbalance of power in marriages where “women make more compromises than men”. “A lot of these customs are influenced by patriarchy and misogyny. So you have to question the systems that we are living in and we have to question the status quo, but I am lucky that I found a person who understands my values,” she was quoted as saying.
Yet again, Malala cleared the air with her wise words. People need to understand that choices may change with time!! Apprehensions pertaining to the marriage amongst women are for a reason.
Niyati Joshi is not a famous name, she is known for being the daughter of Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chasma famed actor Dilip Joshi (famous for playing Jethalal). She tied the knot with her boyfriend Yashovardhan Mishra on December 11, 2021. Though she is not a famous name, yet her photos went viral because of her choice of embracing her grey hair. Yes, the bride had grey hair and she embraced them!
The response she got on social media was mixed. While some trolled her for keeping her grey hair on her special day, others lauded her for being courageous to flaunt her grey hair.
Niyati carried her grey hair with elegance and confidence, setting a positive example for people.
Actress Angira Dhar and actor, director Anand Tiwari got married at a private wedding on April 30, 2021. The couple disclosed their wedding in June with Angira posting emotional pictures from the wedding. But the twist was that it was the groom who was crying during bidai, instead of the wife. Usually, brides are expected to cry during bidai, but Anand broke this stereotype. Men are usually perceived to be less emotional than women, but is this true? I don’t know who made it a prominent convention that men don’t cry, and they don’t have emotions. Here, you can see clearly, that they do have emotions, that they are sensitive, and that they can cry during bidai! Angira captioned the picture: “You know you are in the right hands when it’s not you who’s tearing up at the vidaai”.
Image source: Instagram handles of the above-mentioned celebrities
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Shows like Indian Matchmaking only further the argument that women must adhere to social norms without being allowed to follow their hearts.
When Netflix announced that Indian Matchmaking (2020-present) would be renewed for a second season, many of us hoped for the makers of the show to take all the criticism they faced seriously. That is definitely not the case because the show still continues to celebrate regressive patriarchal values.
Here are a few of the gendered notions that the show propagates.
A mediocre man can give himself a 9.5/10 and call himself ‘the world’s most eligible bachelor’, but an independent and successful woman must be happy with receiving just 60-70% of what she feels she deserves.
Darlings makes some excellent points about domestic violence . For such a movie to not follow through with a resolution that won't be problematic, is disappointing.
I watched Darlings last weekend, staying on top of its release on Netflix. It was a long-awaited respite from the recent flicks. I wanted badly to jump into its praise and will praise it, for something has to be said for the powerhouse performances it is packed with. But I will not be able to in a way that I really had wanted to.
I wanted to say that this is a must-watch on domestic violence that I stand behind and a needed and nuanced social portrayal. But unfortunately, I can’t. For I found Darlings to be deeply problematic when it comes to the portrayal of domestic violence and how that should be dealt with.
Before we rush to the ‘you must be having a problem because a man was hit’ or ‘much worse happens to women’ conclusions, that is not what my issue is. I have seen the praises and criticisms, and the criticisms of criticisms. I know, from having had close associations with non-profits and activists who fight domestic violence not just in India but globally, that much worse happens to women. I have written a book with case studies and statistics on that. Neither do I have any moral qualms around violence getting tackled with violence (that will be another post some day).