2018, the Year of #DeepVeer, #NickYanka, and #IshaAnand Weddings: Who Did It Best?

Social Commentary

2018, the Year of #DeepVeer, #NickYanka, and #IshaAnand Weddings: Who Did It Best?

Illustration: Arati Gujar

Okay, with only a couple more days left to go, I’m calling it: We’ve officially experienced the greatest year on record for the big fat celebrity wedding. In 2019, shaadi season should just stay home with its head under the blankets – like the rest of us plan to do during general elections – because it’s never going to top the unhinged festivities that have defined our Instagram feeds for the past three months.

In case you weren’t fully convinced by the Holy Trinity of Deepveer, NickYanka, and Isha-Anand, that celebrity shaadis have jumped the shark, #MeToo accused ad-man Suhel Seth tied the knot with 37-year-old model Lakshmi Menon two days ago in Gurugram. Remember when we used to scratch our heads over the odd coupling of a former evangelical Disney star and an “Exotic” east-west actress? Simpler times – because now, we have 55-year-old Seth, accused of sexual harassment by 20 women, marrying not just a sentient, living woman, but a gorgeous and successful one to boot. Is this his Christmas miracle, or a case of “beta, #TimesUp” for a woman over 35?

After all, neighbourhood aunties have made exactly the same judgments about 36-year-old Priyanka Chopra’s wedding to Nick Jonas last month, gossiping energetically over the state of her eggs and Hollywood career, wringing their hands over her marriage to a gora ten years her junior, and dissecting in detail the impact this will have on humara sanskaar. Fair enough, but Piggy Chops’ contribution to wedding culture can’t be denied either. Where other celebrities coyly advertise their engagement through Manyavar ads, and drop subtle hints about Sabyasachi collabs, the NickYanka shaadi was unabashedly commercial. There were People magazine exclusives and Vogue spreads; plugs for Ralph Lauren, Chopard, and dating app Bumble; and a GQ Most Stylish Man Award for Jonas that was clearly paid for – and might well have been the only actual expense from the sponsor-heavy shaadi.  

The NickYanka hustle, though, is not the norm – at least, not if this year’s Gujarati Royal Wedding is the standard for normalcy. Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal’s match made in billionaire-industrialist-heaven cost an estimated $100 million, a sum spent on palaces, a private IT cell tasked with shutting down social media haters, and a monstrous sangeet stage that will make next month’s Filmfare Awards look like a primary school talent show. The guest list was a study in how impossible it is to say “no” to an Ambani: Every conceivable variety of VIP was in attendance, including three bona fide Khans, two former US Secretaries of State, and a Beyoncé in a pear tree.

From the time we saw the godawful invitations being unboxed, it was obvious that the Isha-Anand wedding was going to be one long, cumbersome, and hopelessly tacky flex. Maybe this extravagant display of wealth and power will push along one of the many Lok Sabha bills that have been introduced with an aim to curb wedding spending.

But then, should we really run the risk of never again experiencing the magic of true love, as we did during the Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone union? Sure, they spared no expense to ensure their fairytale wedding in Lake Como would be all that they dreamed, but more importantly, they shared that dream with us, the unwashed, #ForeverAlone masses. Our hearts were warmed by the faint hope that pyaar need not always be ek dhoka, and that maybe we, too, can find someone who looks at us the way Ranveer looks at Deepika.

The NickYanka hustle, though, is not the norm – at least, not if this year’s Gujarati Royal Wedding is the standard for normalcy.

Does it matter if you resemble a potato more than a supermodel and that your personality is less “Ranveer” and more “run away from commitment”? Probably – and that’s why the announcement of the inimitable Rakhi Sawant’s wedding to the equally cringe-worthy social media personality, Deepak Kalal, convinced us that there truly is somebody out there for everyone. Along with the requisite number of attention-seeking press conferences, the happy couple even posted a very authentic pair of virginity certificates to share their pavitra status (“aage”, “peeche”, and, confusingly, “neeche”) with the world – no doubt a trailer for the live pre-suhaag raat video they would go on to make.

Unfortunately, the nuptials, scheduled for December 31, appear to have been called off a couple of days ago in a cryptic Instagram post by Sawant. Let this be a lesson to us all not to trust wedding invitations made with Microsoft Office clip art, whose only listed address is “Los Angeles”. Go home, 2018 shaadis, you’re drunk. (Just don’t take a lift from Suhel Seth.)