When celebrity weddings like Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor’s do more harm than good to our … – Firstpost

As we fawn over wedding pictures of Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, we must ask ourselves this question: Are we seeking the aesthetic or the love?

Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt finally tied the knot on 14 April, in what was an ‘intimate affair,’ including only close friends and family, but of course you already knew that.

From the designer, to the attendees, to the number of pheras, there is nothing that we do not know, thanks to social media and some very devoted paparazzi.

The world has always been obsessed with celeb weddings but back in the day, they were private affairs with a picture or two being released in print magazines. With the social media revolution, you have minute-by-minute real-time updates. Celebrities have become more accessible, and the distance between fans and their favourite stars has significantly decreased.

Couple all this with the inherent human psyche to be curious and interested in the lives of people who seem to be ‘living the dream.’ For simpletons living the mundane life, all this feels like a fairytale that they wish they could mirror.

Now, add to this cauldron, the culture of Big Fat Indian Weddings, because rich or poor, famous or not, there is nothing more that Indians love than a wedding, and they will do anything to achieve that over-the-top splendour. Even a simple middle-class family with a budget to stick to will have ambitious desires that they will do anything humanly possible to fulfill. In such a setting, Bollywood weddings are the epitome, making them aspirational. They add to the fantastical notion of Big Fat Indian Weddings, and not to mention, are an extension of our filmy urges that lead to the desire to replicate them or live vicariously through them. 

However, no matter how alluring all this looks, the dark side to this obsession lies in the desire to emulate such aesthetics, and paint a pleasing portrait of the wedding for social media and otherwise. There is a pressure that builds on the curious viewers. For instance, after the wedding when the newly-weds stepped out for a picture, Ranbir was seen lifting Alia in his arms. Seen in singularity, this is a sweet gesture, but when coupled with the barrage of paparazzi that was shooting them, as well as the fawning viewers on social-media, such a stunt is probably a way to grab attention. It was almost as if Kapoor was aware of the demands, and was thereby supplying a dose of fairytale romance to meet them.

It is this commodification of celeb weddings that is problematic because it leads to the formation of picturesque expectations that may not be fulfilled in natural settings, and it inevitably has, with several women explicitly demanding that their grooms also do this, unaware that it is quite possible that this seemingly flattering move was orchestrated to pique interest.

Just last week, I received a wedding invitation that had the couple’s name in the hashtag format, imitating the trend of joining the names of a couple, linguistically known as a portmanteaus. The card also requested that we follow the hashtag on Instagram, and I could not help but find it silly. I am no one to judge, but the point is that this is what celebrity weddings have done to us. Not only is all this unnecessary pressure, but it is also lacklustre and unoriginal. Every bride wants to be a Sabya bride, and it is not even about the finance; I have always wished to wear Gaurang Shah on my wedding day, a designer outfit that is probably as expensive, but the choice is still unconventional because well, celebs choose Sabya, so Sabya it is! 

Moreover, while I agree that I sound cynical, there is no denying that this also leads to people falling in love with the idea of love, instead of a person.

If our escapist movies were not enough already, then such photogenic weddings and actions are misleading the youth to aspire to an image rather than a reality that may not be so good-looking, but is in fact much more comfortable and genuine. However, the downsides to this obsession of celeb weddings is not just limited to the ordinary folks, but even affects the very people we talk about. Actors and stars, much like anyone else, are entitled to privacy and intimacy, which they are robbed of thanks to the social media hype that is nearly impossible to escape. This is maybe why they transform the curse of social media into a boon, by making a brand out of their relationship, and thereby monetising it through endorsements and selling their wedding pictures to magazines. Since they surely cannot escape it, so why not earn from it? 

All that said, celeb weddings do have their silver lining, which for one is that gives people hope and joy. For instance, recently the Crashing Landing On You stars Son Ye-Jin and Hyun Bin got married, and it drove the internet crazy. Fans of the show and stars were ecstatic, and why should they not be? These stars that until recently were inaccessible motifs of fantasy and romance, actually fell in love (that too with each other), making them more human and more accessible. You see, when weddings of people like Ranbir-Alia or Bin-Jin or Vicky-Katrina happen, they lead people to believe the celebrities and stars are no different than them because they too fall in love, they too wish to build families, and they too celebrate the coming together of two people. 

When celebrity weddings like Alia Bhatt Ranbir Kapoors do more harm than good to our idea of celebrating love

Stills from Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal’s wedding

Additionally, celeb weddings are also a much-needed respite during stressful times, especially with the two long years of pandemic, where everything was dull and dim. In such a circumstance, weddings become an occasion of unparalleled joy and colour, and their voyeuristic nature compels even the ones not personally involved to enjoy it vicariously.

It is true that the ones we see on social media are extremely extravagant, and glamour is attractive and desirable, but we cannot blame somebody for having the financial ability to spend. However, what we can do is look at the what they really stand for, not the glitz, not the glamour, but the love.  Because whether opulent or simple, whether intimate or in the public eye, it can be in the court or in a palace for all I care, but weddings are special not because they are big and beautiful, but because they symbolise a dream that many of us possess: the desire to find and spend our lives with that one person who will hold our hand through it all. 

While one aspect of the whole celeb wedding culture does highlight the wide class difference between commoners and those who are rich and famous, it is also imperative to be mindful that they are entitled to love as much as we are. Yes, celebrity weddings are ‘picture perfect,’ and the digital age does implore us to gush over the impeccability and dreaminess, but as we fawn over the wedding pictures, we must ask ourselves this question: Are we seeking the aesthetic or the love?

And if most of us are choosing the latter, then it is not wrong to believe that despite the differences in class and privileges, we are not all that dissimilar, because our search for love and companionship unites us, if not anything else.  

Takshi Mehta is a freelance journalist and writer. She firmly believes that we are what we stand up for, and thus you’ll always find her wielding a pen.

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