A fashion guru friend was invited by a leading TV channel to be on an “important’’ panel. The burning topic of the day was not Manipur. Nor Canada. It was a celebrity wedding in Udaipur. The minutest details of the high profile nuptials involving the young, dashing MP from the Aam Aadmi Party and the accomplished Bollywood actor, were being avidly discussed across media platforms.
Raghav Chadha (34) married Parineeti Chopra (34), with a roster of famous guests representing the two entirely different and yet overlapping careers of the bride (actor) and the groom (politics). Both Raghav and Parineeti come with impressive academic credentials—Raghav was a practising chartered accountant with an MBA certification from the London School of Economics, while Parineeti has earned a triple honours degree in finance, business and economics from the Manchester School of Business. The Ambala born, award-winning actor is a trained Hindustani classical singer with a BA honours in music. Apart from their noteworthy degrees and similar cultural backgrounds, they also happen to be startlingly good-looking—a big bonus in our frenzied social media obsessed times, where imaging is the main story, and success is measured by how many ‘likes’ each post on Instagram generates. No wonder, these two pre-planned their publicity by taking full control of the coverage and creating the catchy hashtag #Ragneeti, a clever play on rajneeti (politics).
There is something about showbiz shaadis that arouses the voyeuristic demon in us. While I don’t know the protagonists personally, I was hanging on to trivia surfacing on the internet, much like their devoted fans. I knew the bride had the groom’s name embroidered on her trailing veil—this is a new trend. No more demure ghunghats–it is Princess Diana style diaphanous veils, worn over heavily embroidered lehengas. The colour palette was beige-ivory-white, which made for soft, dream-like optics, as wedding guests floated across the lake in decorated boats, to the beats of local dhols. Discretion and good taste dominated, from the décor to the publicity leaks. The message being: wealth whispers. Ambition shouts. Raghav and Parineeti are seasoned public figures, accustomed to being in the media glare.
I remember being captivated by Parineeti’s performance in Shuddh Desi Romance (2013), which remains a personal favourite and something of a breakthrough movie, in terms of what it said about arranged marriages and individual aspirations of young India. With the late Sushant Singh Rajput as her co-star in this unconventional story about a tourist guide in Jaipur (Sushant) going through pre-marital panic, till he meets Gayatri (Parineeti) on the same bus, and is struck by how independent-minded she is. After a steamy kiss during the journey, and many misadventures later, realisation dawns, and the two love struck young things make important decisions about the future. The theme broke many rules of commercial cinema and brought smaller cities like Jaipur into sharp focus. So much social change was taking place, especially in the lives of women who refused to conform to their family’s notions of a perfect domestic life, and the movie captured it all via a quirky script and stellar performances by the leads.
Raghav’s career moves have been pretty bold as well. From a secure job at Deloitte, to taking a plunge into politics and gaining prominence as the youngest member of Parliament from Punjab, he is an articulate spokesperson for his party. Going by the presence of political bigwigs including Chief Ministers Arvind Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann at the recent wedding, it is safe to conclude RagNeeti will be the latest power couple in the corridors of Delhi. And no, Parineeti’s globally famous cousin Priyanka Chopra couldn’t make it to Udaipur. But the blessings came via Instagram!