It’s not just lights, sound, decorations or a disco stage. Baraatis can also be hired for lavish weddings in Madhya Pradesh.
“Good baaratis add prestige and colour to the baarat “, says Monika Sahay, a dietician and choreographer who started the business six years ago.
The fee per baarati is Rs 5,000, and an average baarat procession is charged about Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000, depending on the number of paid guests hired.
Sahay initially sent her group for free as her students loved dancing but turned it into a business venture with mounting demand. Apart from local marriages, the paid baaratis have also travelled to other states, including Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
A lot of preparation is needed per baraati as wedding sherwanis and suits have to be stitched and dry cleaned for a sharp look.
Sahay says she came upon the idea when a family from Nagpur came to her dance class in Bhopal and asked me to perform at a wedding. “They asked me if I could send some baaratis too as they had only few people from Nagpur and they wanted to add life to the procession,” she says.
Sahay has strict policies such as not sending women for the baarat procession
”Keeping in mind the safety of girls, we don’t send them to the baarat even if they are ready. Anyone can misbehave at such gatherings and I do not want that,” she says.
The choreographer also sends trainers and the sessions vary from one day to a week.
Arvind Vishwakarma, who runs a dance group, has also started the same business throughout the state and says that it is quite profitable.
“The concept of paid guests is very helpful for the people who want to add colour to their baarat as they do not really have a good social network. NRIs also benefit from this,” says Mohsin Khan, a wedding planner.