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18 Mar

Pakistani weddings according to Pakistani films

There’s one thing Pakistanis love most in the world: weddings. It seems as though all year round, Pakistanis are either getting ready for weddings (getting clothes made, parlour visits,) attending weddings (sometimes we end up attending three weddings in one night!) or planning for their own wedding (or for their cousins, chachas, neighbours and colleagues.) So it’s not a surprise that weddings have become an integral part of our growing film industry; Bilal Ashraf and Armeena Khan’s Janaan mostly revolved around a wedding while Mahira Khan, Adeel Hussain and Sheheryar Munawar’s dance moves were copied at every mehndi all of 2016.

So we dug into our films and wondered what Pakistani weddings would look like to a foreigner, based on the way they’re depicted in our films. We realized that Pakistani films are not painting an accurate picture of what actually goes on. Here are some common misconceptions which we’ve tried to clear out for you.

 

So many beautiful people!

If you were watching Pakistani films you would think that our weddings are so beautiful, which they absolutely are, no doubt. But in the movies, you’ll see some strikingly good looking people. Janaan had Haniya Amir, Ali Rehman Khan and Usman Mukhtar along with Armeena and Bilal. Osman Khalid Butt made a small cameo during one of the wedding sequences of the film – even the cameos have ridiculously beautiful people in them! In Ho Mann Jahaan‘s ‘Shakar Wandaan Re‘ you had Mahira, Adeel and Sheheryar, as well as a very good looking Ahmed Ali, all performing synchronized dance moves. One would think every wedding has these model like people with perfect faces and perfect bodies just dancing around everywhere. We’re sorry to tell you that other than the one odd cousin who looks really good in a black kurta, the others will be very strictly average.

 

Don’t be fooled by Mahira Khan’s ‘Girl Next Door’ image. Girls this pretty are never next door.

 

Well choreographed dance moves

This brings us to the synchronized dancing part. It’s a known fact that Pakistani mehndis have a whole hour dedicated to dance performances by friends and family of the bride and groom. Sometimes the two sides are even competing against each other and the winner is decided by the amount of claps and cheers their dances receives. However, the dancing isn’t as amazing as one would be envisioning it, based on the movies. Yes, every once or twice a year you’ll attend a wedding where someone on the dance floor was as good as Hasan Rizvi. But most of the times, it’s just a bunch of people with a lot of left feet trying to keep up with dance moves they simply cannot remember, even after weeks of practice.  A special mention to the kiddie dances. They are awkward and painful to watch most of the times.

 

Nomi Ansari lehenga cholis

If you saw Sohai Abro dancing in her beautifully embellished Nomi Ansari lehena choli in ‘Fair and Lovely Ka Jalwa‘ from Jawani Phir Nai Aani and thought Pakistanis really know how to dress beautifully at weddings, you are wrong. Yes, we have a lot of bridal designers who really know what they’re doing, but because of the sheer number of designers and weddings, it’s more common to see women investing in clothes, which turn out to be atrociously blingy. Our weddings are filled with walking/talking disco balls, and not the kinds that make you say ‘wow!’ Aunties decked in sequins and embroidery and gold dripping from every corner of their bodies will make you realize that not all Pakistanis know how to dress well. Those organza kurtas with half-sleeve slips, those empire waisted anarkalis and those monstrous clothes inspired by Deepika in Bajirao Mastani. Eye sores!

 

Love stories

Ah, what’s a wedding if you don’t break into song and dance while looking at each other lovingly. In Dobara Phir Se‘s ‘Lar Gaiyaan‘ Adeel Hussain and Hareem Farooq look like the perfect couple as they steal longful looks at each other from across the room. A lot of girls, and guys, get deluded into thinking that they’ll be just as lucky and will find their soulmate at the wedding, or will at least feel all the romance in the air. But that’s not what happens. You don’t find your soulmate on the dance floor, or have a romantic moment where your chooriyan get stuck in his shawl (sorry, that’s a moment from Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and not a Pakistani film.) Usually, you take three hours to get ready, one hour to make your way through the Karachi traffic, half an hour for food to be served, 5 minutes to eat and then you’re outta there.

 

“We’re so happy and stress free” said nobody at their wedding, ever.

 

Happy families

Pakistanis may be happy but they usually aren’t on the day of the wedding. There are so many fights taking place behind the scenes that the girls from Mean Girls wouldn’t stand a chance against our politics. Sisters in law are fighting over the colour of jora they were made to wear, while the cousins are fighting over who gets to stand in the front for the dances (it’s always the sister of the bride and groom and if she can’t dance well then that sucks for the rest of the dancers). There are so many hateful and vengeful things happening behind the scenes and our films don’t even begin to cover it.

 

Can you add to the list?

Manal Faheem Khan

The author is Contributing Editor at Something Haute who has studied film and journalism from SZABIST. Will be found at the gym if not in the office.