If there are two things that Indians take a special interest in, it's romance and weddings (though, ironically, not together). Which is why Bollywood has combined the two and presented multiple stories on this idea.
But, 9 years ago, Bollywood saw a romantic drama that focused on the other side of weddings - wedding planning. 9 years ago, Bollywood saw lead characters in a romantic drama who were anything but usual. 9 years ago, we saw the exuberance of Ranveer Singh light up the silver screen in a wholly endearing way. And all this was because of one film - Band Baaja Baraat.
Band Baaja Baraat, which was the debut film of both, actor Ranveer Singh and director Maneesh Sharma, became a commercial and critical hit after its release.
In fact, despite the release of blockbusters (starring superstars) like My Name Is Khan, Raajneeti, Dabangg, etc. Band Baaja Baraat still remains one of the most memorable films from that year.
And the primary reason for that, other than Ranveer and Anushka's amazing on-screen chemistry, was the relatable and refreshing storyline.
Herein lies the genius of writer Habib Faisal. He made a topic like wedding planning--that people usually associate with tiring shopping trips--appear exciting.
In other words, he wrote the characters of Bittoo Sharma and Shruti Kakkar in such a relatable way, that it didn't feel like the story of two fictional characters. Rather, it was like watching two of your own friends struggle through college, dreams, family expectations, and of course, the start-up struggles.
Naturally, the credit also goes to the two actors who wonderfully brought alive Bittoo and Shruti. Anushka Sharma, who was only two films old, embodied the spirit of a feisty, strong-willed, dilli ki kudi. Her dreams were inspiring, her actions understandable (for the most part), and her on-screen presence, lovable.
And while there is no discounting the charm that Anushka brought to the film, Ranveer Singh's version of Bittoo Sharma wormed its ways into our hearts with a subtlety that was in complete contrast to his character's mannerisms. It was Ranveer who made Bittoo's slightly uncouth behavior appear quirky and not creepy. And he nailed the 'dilli boy' mannerisms and the colloquial phrases to the T.
When Bittoo and Shruti came together on-screen, their love story was not steeped in larger-than-life romance. It was, instead, crafted over bread pakoras, genuine friendship, and the misunderstandings that add the drama in a romantic drama.
But perhaps the film's salient winner was that it managed to romanticize the idea of wedding planning - an activity that few people have looked at with the kind of fondness that Shruti and Bittoo did. And this is where Maneesh Sharma's directorial vision came to play.
He interspersed the obvious flaws of the wedding planning process (budget constraints, time-bound activities, excessive planning, managing varied expectations) with the dreamy-eyed determination of two eager wedding planners. The result - a filmy version of wedding planning you did not mind buying into.
It's not like the movie was without flaws. But it was an honest, unexpected romantic drama that ticked the right boxes - great music, amazing chemistry, and relatable setting. And for an industry famous for churning out romantic dramas set in exotic locations, this dilli wali love story was an unusual but much-needed (and thus, loved) romance.
Here's to dancing on ainvayi ainvayi, every wedding season!