Thursday, April 26, 2007
Talk about national integration and you find it fully in the family of the biggest Bollywood family, the Bachchans (especially after the recent alliance), who are now a living example of the same. While Amitabh aka Big B is an from Uttar Pradesh, he married petite Bengali beauty Jaya Bhaduri and got daughter Shweta married off to a Punjabi family, the Nandas (who also happen to be the family into which Raj Kapoor's daughter Ritu married and hence is related to Abhishek's ex fiance Karisma Kapoor).
The latest addition to the Bachchan family, the ethereally beautiful bahu Aishwarya Rai belongs to the Bunt community from Karnataka that speaks Tulu. While there was confusion as to which customs would be followed during the recent Abhi Ash wedding, it was really interesting to know that all kinds of customs were given equal importance. There was a sangeet, a very North Indian custom, complete with song and dance, two days before the wedding. Aishwarya was dressed as a South Indian bride in a beautiful gold silk saree (Kanjivaram) and sported flowers, while Abhishek was seen flaunting a typical North Indian groom's attire; a sherwani and a sehra. He even came riding a white mare to the venue with his baraat.
The initial customs during the actual wedding ceremony did belong to the Ash's tradition. Muhurtham or lagnam was the custom to begin with where in the bride's family receives the groom, the bride's aunt performs the traditional aarti in his honour and the bride's mother follows it up by performing the deepa aarti (welcome ritual performed with lighted lamps) for him. Even the Jaymala or garlanding custom was typical South Indian. The remaining customs including the saat phere were in accordance to the North Indian traditions mostly the Arya Samaji way.
However Bengali customs were not overlooked either. At Jaya Bachchan's request, Aishwarya was holding a sindoor box, a typical Bengali custom during the entire wedding ceremony. Later after Ash's vidai(farewell from her parents' home), her sister -in-law, Sweta welcomed her to her new home, dressed in a red and white Bengali saree. The mehendi custom, prior to the wedding is however common to almost all traditions where Aishwarya wore a north Indian style pretty Pink outfit and was uniquely adorned in jewellery made of flowers amidst all kinds of flower decorations. This was something unique as well and is quite Bengali.
The Bachchans are not only the biggest brand from Bollywood now; they are also a family with mix culture under one roof. It will nice to see more such unique displays of their mixed culture in future too.