The Big Day 2: Caught Up In Borrowed Glamour

The Big Day 2 (Courtesy of Netflix)
The Big Day 2 (Courtesy of Netflix)

The second season of The Big Day came sooner than we expected. I bet they were encouraged by millions of fans worldwide. Why not? The pandemic world is still glued to their couch and an escape from reality has become like the proverbial cherry on our trifles.

I binge-watched The Big Day Season 2 on Netflix last weekend. But I could not focus on the show. Something had shifted in me or the narrative had changed. The show has three episodes, similar to the first season, featuring the journey of six couples like before. I have vivid imagery in my head from the last season, but this season could not hold me in a spell. I wanted more “dil ki baat”. The second season is uber glamorous but it does not tug at heartstrings.

Destination

Wealthy Indians are setting some earth-shattering trends in sourcing private island weddings with authentic Indian food and rituals. The Sindhi community is so comfortable in the Emirate’s lavish landscapes that they do not recreate mini India. Instead, they are equipped with race cars, exclusive rappers, and belly dancers for entertainment.

The Hyderabadi ammas of two cute Telugu love birds had flowers flown from China, Japan, and Paris. Not a single plastic flower for their wedding!  The bridal party’s hair and makeup were on the house (that was nice) but they did not forget to carry a truckload of diamonds for the dainty bride to match the stars and fireworks on the beach. I agree that a getaway for a wedding for three days can be quite euphoric! I still wonder if it’s worth the astronomical bill! Are people really spending 50 crores on Bollywood-style wedding sets in India?! 

Love story

The most genuine story is of two lawyers, Nisha and Scott who find a common purpose and love. He’s a devout Catholic and she’s a “not so staunch” Hindu.

Dhruv seemed to be making all the decisions for his lovely bride, Irina, and she seemed okay with it.

The other two couples with semi-arranged marriages seemed to become infatuated with one another over time. 

Rituals 

In this season, the emphasis was on the Haldi ceremony or pithi ceremony – the application of turmeric (haldi), mustard oil, gram flour, curds, and water to both the bride and groom on the morning of the wedding. It felt like this portion was catering to the non-Indian audience since this is a novelty for those outside of the Indian culture.

In the Punjabi wedding, they talked about Milni, where relatives from both families meet, greet, and sprinkle one another with rose water. The inebriated mamas and chachas often try to lift each other up in a show of strength. 

Ceremony 

I liked the Catholic and Indian wedding. They decided to tie the knot under the auspices of a non-denominational priest with heartfelt wedding vows. Even the Hindu ceremony was explained in English. I did not care for the zipline entry but I said a silent prayer for the success of their marriage.  

Energy

I loved the bubbly and energetic Divya, a surgeon from Bombay with her irrepressible Bombay accent. Her energy was infectious! I don’t know which venue accommodated her 4000 plus guests but I think she would have been beautiful even without her Manish Malhotra lehenga, special diaphanous veil, and attached jeweled braid. I wonder how such a tiny girl could carry off the ginormous polki and emerald necklace? I still enjoyed her spark and interaction with her parents. “Arranged hai par love marriage jaisa ho gaya”.  

The girl from Jammu was quirky and self-assured. Much adored by her extended family – only small-town Indian families know how to do that. I love that silly, happy vibe! These two marriages were arranged through parents but with a little bit of luck and Bollywood pizzaz they hit it off. 

Actual message

This show wants to promote Big Fat Indian Weddings to the starry-eyed world. If that’s the agenda, wealth can be displayed with panache and in an understated style. There is no dearth of history, culture, heritage, topography, and traditions of our Motherland that cannot be elegantly showcased to non-Indians and expatriates; that may present a better idea.

Decor and wardrobe

Nothing as rustic and imaginative as the old fort in Season 1! The floating parrot chandeliers on tents and Arab figurines seemed kitschy. It seemed like dozens of Instagram and Pinterest wedding ideas had come alive.

Irina’s Sabyasachi lehenga and her groom’s royal blue shervani were gorgeous. It made me think of my grandmother’s plum violet zardosi wedding salwar and kameez.

There is a revival of vintage clothing by many designers. I like that. Shreenathji decor with lotus flowers and mint green silk bridal outfit was different.

Ownership

Millennials vs. Family. The second season shows more family involvement with actual arrangements of the wedding compared to the last season. The millennials were happy with finding the right person. The young couples did not disapprove of their parents helping them in their exuberant celebrations. 

I felt that the producer and director got caught up in the adrenaline rush of mega weddings and guilt-free borrowed glamor. I hope if there is a third season it will address the shared commitment of those who can’t spend a fortune to make their big day special! Let’s bridge the gap.


Monita Soni, MD has one foot in Huntsville, Alabama, the other in her birth home India, and a heart steeped in humanity. Monita has published many poems, essays, and two books – My Light Reflections and Flow Through My Heart. You can hear her commentaries on Sundial Writers Corner WLRH 89.3FM.


 

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