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Deypika's Wedding

New Documentary Takes Viewers to an Exotic Indian Wedding, in Their Own Backyard

Richly colored clothes, ornately decorated hands, and elaborate ceremonies are all staples of a traditional Indian wedding. But a flower-coated Ford Mustang to zip the groom to the bride's home flourishes a uniquely American twist.

Gems like this are all part of Deypika's Wedding, a new documentary by local filmmaker Vinod Kumar. In India, the groom's family marches across the city to the bride's house, replete with a full band and dancing in the streets, as the film shows. The groom follows the baraat - the term for the parade of revelers - on a horse. In the US, the floral car can substitute for the horse. It also shows how immigrants stick to tradition, but at the same time need to be innovative.

Through its setting, Deypika's Wedding puts a fresh spin on a topic gaining steam with international audiences. But while there is plenty of footage about weddings in India, little is known about how they are conducted in America's fast growing Indian community. The film has footage of India and the US, highlighting both the similarities and differences in the traditions.

The film's approach is as novel as its setting. It follows the wedding of a North and South Indian couple in a San Diego suburb. The different geographic origins of the couple make for a unique blend of traditions, especially in a country known for its cultural diversity. Sprinkled with commentary from the couple themselves, it is not only rich in information but also a deeply personal narrative.

Deypika's Wedding also uses the first-person point of view, a style that is growing in popularity with independent filmmakers. Kumar invites the viewer to attend the wedding with him, and then delivers with whirlwind camera work. The impressive blends of angels, maneuvering, and filming make the viewers feel like they are actually there.

The pre-wedding ceremonies shown in the film capture fascinating traditions that set the stage for the cultural extravaganza to follow. Take the "Kashi Yatra" ceremony. Here, the groom gets cold feet and decides to go on a holy Hindu pilgrimage instead of the wedding. As he sets off, dressed in a loincloth and with an umbrella - a symbol of wisdom - in hand, he has to be persuaded to stay by the bride's father. The film captures this energetic exchange, and the backdrop of Southern California gives it an added twist.

Other ceremonies leading up to the wedding are also vibrant and colorful. The "Sangeet" features nights of singing and dancing, with events for both the men and women. All this builds up to the wedding itself, and it is here that the film offers its most delightful visual feast. Taking place early in the morning (starting at 6:30 AM), the religious ceremony is replete with all the elements that would accompany a wedding in India thousands of years ago. Conches blare, garlands of beautiful, fresh-cut flowers are exchanged, and the couple circles a Vedic fire which is considered as a deity second only to Indra Deva. Throughout the film, subtitles inform the viewer about the meaning of rituals.

The story behind Deypika's Wedding makes it an even more remarkable accomplishment. Created by a lone filmmaker, this debut was created using a standard camcorder and garden variety editing software. It is a testament to what can be accomplished by relatively inexpensive equipment, thanks to advances in audio/video and computer technology.

But the film also showcases Kumar's talents with a camera, his relentless planning and perseverance, while carefully editing down tens of hours of footage. Armed with a DV camcorder, a lifelong interest in photography, and a passion for explaining his native culture to the rest of the world, Kumar sets out to make a film that is both informative and entertaining.

"I think the West is now ready to learn about Eastern ancient cultures like India, and it is important to bring it to them in an interesting and simple manner so that they can appreciate our traditions and rituals," says Vinod Kumar.

A management consultant and a mechanical engineer by training, Kumar could represent an emerging breed of filmmakers. In an age of globalization and rapidly advancing technology, filmmakers with a knack for the camera and desire to tell their culture's story could take center stage.

Total length of film: 46 Minutes.

For further information contact:
Vinod Kumar
Phone: (858) 484-8230





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