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Documentary Takes Viewers to an Exotic Indian Wedding, in Their
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
length of film: 46 Minutes.
further information contact:
Phone: (858) 484-8230
** photos, video and writing on this site are the
of the author, The Social Diary, San Diego Social Diary, margomargo.com
and Margo Schwab.
reproduction of any part or parts is allowed without written permission
by Margo Schwab