The Big Day (Part 2) Review: Still Calls You Poor, Still Confused About Its Take On Indian Weddings
When I reviewed The Big Day Collection 1 in February on Netflix, I had a lot to say about the couples, their extravagant hopes and dreams for their weddings, and how despite repeating ad nauseam that they were trying to break regressive tradition, they were falling right back into it, subconsciously (and consciously). After writing two critiques—one about the show itself and the other about the socio-political commentary it stood for—I realised that perhaps, there was no way I could make the review of The Big Day Collection 2 exempt from judgement about the bride and groom, their tastes and personalities, and their exorbitant wealth which flowed more than champagne did.
And so, while watching this second round of rich people getting married on a budget of a small town’s annual expenditure, I decided to focus more on how it made me feel, as opposed to where it stood in the grand scheme of its socio-political impact. Because the latter is so messed up, it would take as long to discuss as planning a wedding takes.
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What is the purpose of this show? And why do rich people have such bad taste?
Let’s get the most obvious thing out of the way first. These people are dirty rich. Or even if they are not, they’ve got themselves a deal, like celebrities get when they have closed weddings and then sell pictures and footage to magazines for a record amount of money. I don’t know if that’s an agreement these couples also had from the makers of this show, where they had an extravagant but limited budget in which they could dream up and execute the fanciest of weddings in exchange for a chance to be featured, in all their good, bad, and often annoyingly OTT glory.
But the point is, they are rich peeps. And honestly, I don’t have anything against rich people. Heck, I want to be rich people! And I’d be misrepresenting myself if I said that were I offered the chance to have an exotic destination wedding that looked like a week-long party in a Sabyasachi or Papa Don’t Preach trousseau with my handsome groom-to-be zip-lining into our wedding venue that looked like a Sanjay Leela Bhansali set, complete with a performance by Ranveer Singh, paid for by my Daddy with barely a dent in his bank balance, I don’t think I’d say no. I’d probably go ahead and make it a Marvel themed wedding too. Baron Zemo would be the headlining act.
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I mean, when that one bride, Shrutika, said that she hadn’t attended a single wedding in the past two years that wasn’t a destination wedding, because everything else is just boring and not worth attending, I felt that. Destination weddings are more fun. Or when one of the grooms said that he didn’t want a huge guest list but a bunch of their closest people (100) at a far off venue, it made sense to me too. I think the max relate happened when Prerna, one of the brides in the second episode, revealed how her soon-to-be husband Kunwar had actually turned her down at first. But she went on to live her best life and post pictures on social media that gave the dude major FOMO and brought him back in a well played game.
What I didn’t understand though is the purpose of this entire show, the need to split it into two parts, or even have a second collection instead of just picking a smaller selection from the existing 12 couples, and what purpose the show served in terms of entertaining its audience, educating them or patting the back of the Indian wedding industry and its international conquests. Because it does none of the above.
For starters, the show most of the time made me go “Arrey yaar, ye thoda zyada ho gaya!” And not just when they brought in dancers in Money Heist costumes or painted faces to perform at the weddings. There was a bride who was a surgeon but mostly channelling Geet from Jab We Met, who talked about her dream wedding and having some 20 lehengas and her groom’s entry being inspired from Shahid Kapoor’s in Padmaavat. Even then, I was all “Umm… weird flex but okay.” But then Tarun Tahiliani walks in, and I see the bride decked in her Fanta orange outfit which had so much going on, it looked like they just clubbed every wedding outfit from Bhansali period films into one.
NGL, it made me gag at how much overdone the whole thing was. I felt annoyed, because it looked like someone gave these people money and freedom to spend it, but did not show them how to use it well. The ‘taste’ was missing. And more than the taste, the ‘talent’ of how to keep it classy was missing too. And I think this is something most rich people weddings have. Look at the Ambani weddings for example, and you’ll want to laugh more than take notes for your own shaadi. Not because you can’t afford it, But because it looks silly, and you are not surrounded by ‘Yes men’ who don’t give you honest opinion.
Also Read: The Big Day Review: The Show Is Basically A Showcase Of A Big, Fat Indian Wedding. It Called Me Poor And Unprepared In 7 Languages
The Big Day proves that modern Indian weddings are neither modern nor care about tradition. And young couples just want to party!
An expert brought on board as a talking head spoke about the criteria for picking a destination for Indian weddings. And one of them was the ease of acquiring the things that would be needed for the wedding. And soon enough, the Langkawi wedding planners were talking about how they couldn’t source flowers locally so they were imported from places like China, India, and a bunch of other countries. Why would you get married in a country there then?
In another instance, where the wedding was in Bahrain, the groom and his friends went go-karting days before the wedding. Another groom zip-lined into his wedding. Both things looked fun, but just gave me major anxiety and envy. Who are these Indian parents that are allowing their kids to undertake life-risking adventure sports mere days before their wedding? Where are the nosy relatives? Apne idhar toh ghar se nikalna mana hota hai na, days before the wedding?
It got worse when every time something was thus overdone, it was sold to us, the audience, as the bride and groom believing in grand old-school romance and tradition. I call bullshit. The sheer amount of times the word ‘tradition’ was thrown around, I wanted to jolt the makers awake and remind them, “Wake up, guys. As a young person, let me tell you, we don’t give two shits about tradition! These kids just want a big party with their friends and are playing along so their parents will pay for this!” Also, those international guests raving about tradition, again, like it only as long as it’s fun and looks pretty. If they were to understand the patriarchal origins of most of those customs, they’d be outta there faster than you can say ‘Rajasthan’.
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And that is exactly what this entire show feels like, and where it loses any sense of purpose. It wants to show you Indian traditions and how modern Indian weddings are. And the only thing it proves is that modern Indian weddings are neither truly traditional, nor truly modern. They are just a pretentious spectacle. Which is okay. There’s nothing wrong in wanting to put up a show, and have some fun. But why does this need to be a legit TV show? For an audience?
I don’t know these couples, so why do I care? Sure, I get some of their back stories, but they are so darn filmy that a normal person like me couldn’t relate one bit. I don’t have that much money, and if I did, I’d probably never be able to get away with all these demands and unnecessary expenses. One bride legit gave up her job because she said a wedding was a full time event! Here I am fighting to find an arranged match that will let me work after marriage, and some people have it so easy! NGL, it frustrated me a little.
Once again, the biggest thing missing in The Big Day Collection 2 was relatability. Prerna, the bride, says that she thought finding a guy was difficult, but turns out, that’s easier than planning a wedding. Toh ye sob dikhaao na? Show me the hardships and hurdles, disagreements and do-overs that happen in wedding planning, and I might get my dose of relatable drama. Not a single plus-size bride was featured, who had to haggle with designer to not charge her extra for custom-designing her bridal lehenga. Most parents on the show were sassy and resigned when talking about what their children were trying to do. It felt as if they found this all too much, but they went along with it all, because they didn’t understand most of it and had no strength to fight it. Why didn’t even one of them talk about their concerns of going over budget? That stuff happens, right?
Furthermore, there’s major hoo-haa about the Indian wedding industry putting India on the global map with lavish international weddings. Ummm, yeah, I don’t know how I feel about Indian culture, already massively appropriated abroad, to be known just for how insanely we spend out money on weddings, trying to recreate a mini-India outside of India so we could marry with ‘traditions’. Y’all sass Gujaratis for carrying their theplas on foreign trips, but when the same thing happens with weddings abroad, you want to celebrate that? Sweee-et.
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A few things I actually liked
Yeah, believe it or not, there were a few things I dug, like the fact that this time, some of the grooms were actually actively participating in the wedding planning.
I think Nisha and Scott’s story is my favourite so far, in all of the 12 couples. It was more about the couple than about a flashy show-off. What you say on the show is so important when you want people to believe in the controversial notion of ‘rich Indian weddings are awesome’ you are selling to them. And I mean this in a genuine way, that I thought this couple said all the right things without any foot-in-the-mouth moments. The groom zip lining into the wedding was fun and unique, and the bit where they faced issues with the Catholic church they were trying to get to bless their marriage, that was the kind of insight and detail you’d want from a show like this.
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Can I just say, no matter how pretentious you make it, the purest moments in the show come from the parents, especially the fathers. The man’s probably paying through his nose for that wedding, and has a million things on his list. But the only thing on his mind is his daughter leaving, and those emotional moments were touching. I do wish we could’ve had some commentary on the fact that this whole ‘bride having to move out of her parents’ house’ is such a sexist custom. And who better than a father or a mother to remark on it?
It does feel a bit sad, judging people for what they did on the happiest day of their life (or so we are made to believe). I also don’t have much hope that the criticism would be taken seriously and changes incorporated in any future iterations the show might have. Because the fact is, the show is made to be ridiculous and extract your judgement on purpose. That’s reality fiction for you.
Moreover, the jury’s still out for me on the timing of the show’s release. Are you trying to give us an escape at a time when the pandemic has ruined weddings, so that when we’re out of it, we go on to have even more OTT weddings? Or are you trying to trigger us, while we are stuck in one lockdown after another, with dire finances, and unable to travel, attend weddings, or even go for a simple coffee date?
So, the only thing I have to say about The Big Day that matters and that you should remember is, this is a sham. Oh and…
PS: WHAT IS THAT FONT USED IN THE CREDITS? Another example of how fancy isn’t always effective.
The Big Day Collection 2 is currently streaming on Netflix.