Indian weddings are now by far the biggest social industry, conceived, planned and executed as mammoth entertainments to beat any plaster-and-plywood epic that the film industry can imagine. The age of guilt (with government restrictions on the number of guests or consumption of liquor) has been replaced by pure unabashed gilt.
Interestingly, the film industry, which helped turn fantasy into reality, is now one of the main beneficiaries of the new Indian Marriage Act. Actors and playback singers earn more from performing at weddings than in films. Shahrukh Khan recently said that he made films only for pleasure; his main sources of income came from endorsements and performing at functions. Top fashion designers say that they earn more from a few outfits during the wedding season than from several months of retailing. “Wedding clothes are India’s answer to Western couture,” says Rohit Bal.