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Game of Thrones is the ‘in’ theme at big, fat pre-wedding functions in India

The TV show is the latest craze among couples who want to inject novelty into their life-changing event. One recent sangeet ceremony had family members giving a sword salute to the couple.

tv Updated: Jul 22, 2017 12:51 IST
Etti Bali
Etti Bali
Hindustan Times
Game of Thrones,Pre-Wedding,Sangeet
A still from Game Of Thrones. Fans of the series are opting for themed wedding events, replete with decor and props representing the show.

The world-famous big, fat Indian weddings now have almost equally big, fat pre-wedding functions. And right now, with the Game of Thrones Season 7 having just begun, the TV show is the ‘in’ theme for people spending a packet — that’s a rather large packet — on ceremonies like sangeet and mehendi. These occasions, earlier meant as fun family gatherings, are now full-fledged dramatic events.

“There are a lot of themes that are yet unexplored, and Game of Thrones is among them. I do suggest this theme to my clients, as it gives [them] a chance to experiment,” says photographer Rahul Saharan.

At the recent sangeet of a Mumbai-based couple, who opted for a Game of Thrones theme, the décor had elements from the TV show such as custom-made dragon eggs, sigils of the four houses of Westeros, and the Iron Throne, too. The sangeet ceremony was part of the couple’s destination wedding in Udaipur, Rajasthan.

Shaurya Mehta, the groom, says that it started as a light-hearted joke. “Selecting the GoT theme was, in a way, an epiphany, because it was my first thought, as a random, off-the-head funny suggestion. But then I fell in love with the idea. I first thought of it for the wedding, and the very next thought… of The Red Wedding… got me to choose it for the cocktail / sangeet,” he says.

Meticulous planning went into recreating the theme of the series. “The stage with the Iron Throne and house sigils was the best thing that we created and that, too, from scratch. It was made over a week in Mumbai and then taken to Udaipur on a lorry. It remains a prized possession,” Mehta says. “Another thing I’ll remember from the night is our entrance, with our closest friends and family holding up swords, which gave us the feeling of walking through a tunnel, while a few men and women guided us with flaming torches and sigils and the Winds of Winter track from GoT played in the background.”

He adds that both he and his wife Sanjana Mehta are big fans of Game of Thrones. “I was confident about coming up with something decent, given my passion for the show, but it turned out to be much better than [we] hoped for, thanks to the weeks of ideation, effort and execution put in by us, and the confidence and support that my parents lent to me,” says Mehta. “I was trying to be as creative as possible, but also had to keep in mind that it should be doable and practical. We had to strike the right balance between Game of Thrones and a Punjabi family’s sangeet and cocktail,” he says.

Photographer Anand Rathi, who covered the ceremony, feels that couples are demanding newer themes by the day. “If we got paid for every time someone asked us, “Kuch naya (something new)?”, we’d be millionaires,” he quips. “The series is new [in India], so that’s where the parallel is coming from. The couple has a demand, and we come up with the ideas. My production manager drove this entire event.” What’s the cost of mounting events on this scale? Rathi says, “We were a team of 15 people that also included our production crew. The on-location cost can be anywhere between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 5 lakh per day. This includes post-production costs.”

Depending on the event’s scale and details, prep work takes several weeks, or even some months. Rathi says, “We sit with [couples] and discuss details like how they will enter, where are we going to be positioned. It’s like shooting a film but with zero retakes.”

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First Published: Jul 22, 2017 12:51 IST