Back in childhood, we as kids were taught to exchange our dolls while playing with siblings/friends. That was quite a commendable sharing exercise. Wasn't it?
Speaking of exchange, Jayeshbhai Jordaar, a not-so-hyped 2022-released film brought a totally different connotation of adla-badli system that you might not know of.
Aata Saata shaadi is an ancient practice in rural areas primarily in Rajasthan in which a family gets into an agreement with another family to exchange their respective daughters for matrimonial purpose. In other words, the husband's sister marries his wife's brother. In this custom, the age of women does not matter.
According to a DNA report, experts claim that it is majorly due to fallout of sex-ratio of girls. Speaking of which, a 2021 government data on PIB's official website shows that there are only 891 females for 1000 males in Rajasthan. Coming back to DNA report, it further suggests that there are several other reasons that promote Aata Saata shaadi which includes families' preference of girls from their own communities and safeguarding property especially farmlands from outsiders.
Here's a worst case scenario that this evil practice brings along itself:
In 2021, a case came into limelight in which a Rajasthani woman, who was married under this custom, died by suicide and blamed society for her death, the Times of India reported. The police claimed that Suman Choudhary, the deceased woman wasn't mentally well and her husband was living abroad, the report added.
If divorce or marrying against family wishes is not acceptable, then why is aata sata acceptable?
- Suman Choudhary
Because of such a social evil, lives of thousands of girls are destroyed when a 17-year-old girl is married to a 70-year-old man just because society is greedy of getting a good bride for their sons
- Suman Choudhary
(Spoiler alert) Coming back to Jayeshbhai Jordaar, here are some practices showcased in the film that come under Aata Saata shaadi:
In the film, Ranveer Singh, who plays the role of Jayesh Patel, an educated man in a village, is married to Shalini Pandey's character Mudra Patel under Saata shaadi (that's how he refers to the custom). Ranveer's on-screen sister Preeti is married to Mudra's brother.
1: It can take place irrespective of girls' age
In a flashback scene, Ranveer as Jayeshbhai takes us back to the past in which Mudra and Preeti as little girls are exchanged between families, highlighting that their age doesn't matter at all in this system.
2: If any of the two daughters get beaten up, other one will face the same
3: If a woman married under Aata Saata is pregnant, family only cares about the child, I mean, son
After the fake-beating scene, Ratna Pathak Shah, who plays Ranveer's on-screen mother Jashoda Patel, tells him, "Itna kyun maara? Zara toh soch Dhaval ka." Yes, Jashoda and Pruthvish have pre-decided that the unborn child will be a boy and his name will be either Dhaval or Hardik, whatever! cos aayega to ladka hi!
4: Other family needs to know, hey! We treat your daughter like sh*t too
In a follow-up scene, as soon as Jayesh shows a photo of Mudra's (fake) bruises to his parents, Pruthvish (Boman) asks him to send it to Preeti's in-laws' house.
Directed by Divyang Thakkar, Jayeshbhai Jordaar, a light-hearted social comedy also focuses on several other issues including eve-teasing and black cat superstition. Though the film tanked at the box office, it surely won our hearts.