‘Sangeet’, the pre-wedding ceremony, is all colour, glitter and glamour these days

Band. Baaja. Baaraat! Indian weddings are going way beyond this these days. With big fat Indian weddings getting fatter, the ‘sangeet’ ceremony that is part of north Indian weddings is getting more elaborate, with loads of colour and glitter. The glamorous portrayal of this pre-wedding ceremony in Bollywood movies is motivating people, even in the South, to make it part of their wedding celebration. “The Sangeet extends the wedding celebrations by a day, giving room for informal interaction among families, and allowing people to let their hair down,” says Prakash, a wedding photographer.

Besides the usual dances that are part of the ceremony, choreographers get a chance to recreate elaborate themes from movies, and even organise ghazal nights and casino nights. The stage décor, performances, props and videos revolve around the chosen theme. Open air spaces are converted into dramatic environments. Brides and grooms enter the venue in style and to add an element of drama they are made to enter in a rickshaw or are dropped from a 15-foot high moon in the presence of applauding guests. One Sangeet had a groom dancing with a guitar, throwing firecrackers, and a bride sitting inside a lotus, its petals opening dramatically. Renowned choreographer Laadi says, “People want it all — special effects, flamboyant props, set designs, dance troupes and singers. It’s no longer about dancing but providing an experience that people can take home.” There are unique shadow dances, catchy skits interspersed with songs, surprise videos for the couple, followed by an impromptu dance party which goes on till the wee hours.

Choreographer’s contribution

However, to deliver the perfect Sangeet can be time-consuming. Choreographer Amrita Samant says, “The experience is fun and challenging, as we try to meet each person’s demands, in the midst of hectic wedding schedules.”

However she adds, “Though the contribution of choreographers goes unnoticed after their job is over, the joy we derive from organising a Sangeet is immeasurable.”