Boy: “I love you.”
Girl: “Same to you.”
Perhaps it’s the most disarming and innocent articulation of affection you’d have heard in a while. A love that, like most others, moves and shifts: from an initial fluster to a growing frankness. But there’s also a catch here: the boy and girl, Hari and Suman, have never met. Not even online. Their courtship is carried over several phone calls, long before the approaching big event: their marriage to each other. Filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam’s new documentary, When Hari Got Married, is a charming peep into this relationship in the making. It’s about how most of India discovers love, or something like love, within the protocol of an arranged marriage.
We see most of the love story through the eyes of the colourful, compelling Hari, 30, a cabbie in Dharamshala. Sarin and Sonam have known him ever since he was 16. “He is frank and funny,” says Sarin. He is excited, not just about the marriage but as much for the fact that he’d be wearing a tie for the first time in his life. Along with the brashness and swagger, there’s also a sense of insecurity, about a future where he’d have to be the provider, responsible not just for himself but for a wife and family. How will he make ends meet?
Audiences will relate to his vulnerability too. How he fusses about the girl being short to mask his own lack of height. And a simultaneous masculine assertion of superiority. He had rejected the girl, she was not of his own choice but the intimacy grew over the phone. “You even get attached to a stone or dog in the house,” he says. You can see the roles and expectations in their life together getting defined even before they have taken the vows.
The film works because it’s intimate and reveals all without getting intrusive or judgemental. Even when Hari talks of his ‘honeymoon’, the camera maintains a dignified distance. “As filmmakers, our camera is never in-your-face,” says Sarin. While normally they film with a whole crew, in this instance it was just Sarin and Sonam. “The family was so welcoming,” says Sarin. “They allowed us into their lives and we wanted to capture the intimacy without interfering.”
Their camera also catches a world in flux, where the ‘young blood’ is free of class and caste biases and doesn’t foresee getting married to someone whom they haven’t even met. Hari too wants to ring in the changes, but will his aunts—bua, tai and bhabhi—allow it?
WHGM is an ‘experiment’. A rare documentary that find its way commercially into the theatres this week. “It has a light touch and humour which the audience responds to,” says Shiladitya Bora, head of PVR Director’s Rare that has earlier released Supermen of Malegaon, Bom and Celluloid Man. “It’s a human story which moves, touches and reaches out to the larger audience,” says Sarin. “Hope it opens up the way forward.” Amen!
"When Hari Got Married" trailer.
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT