Winter is here, which means the wedding season is on. There’s pressure to host the “perfect day”, make it memorable—something that will leap out of family albums, earn nth number of upvotes on Instagram and Facebook, or simply sit silently in the hard disc for the brides and grooms to go to when they want to press the refresh button. That’s not the only “memory” saved for posterity. For those getting married, the shooting begins months preceding D-Day. Pre-nup shots, a Western fad, are now an intrinsic part of big fat (even small and lean) Indian weddings. Couples contract professionals—the retinue includes photographers, make-up artists, managers—and travel to exotic locales in India (Kasauli, Manali, Ooty, Goa et al) and abroad to get the best shots possible. But all these have become quite blasé. Couples want their photos to be atrangi and would pay or do anything for what they consider picture-perfect. Anything to lollop towards uniqueness. What about striking a pose in the gondola of a hot air balloon? Like the way Vidya Balan and Farhan Akhtar promoted their Shaadi Ke Side Effects in 2014. Or, go commando in a done-up room for the latest in pre- or post-wedding photography: boudoir. Risque? People are willing to take risks—in the air, underwater, hanging by a rope from a cliff face, posing on airport runways, or on a sultry couch.
Ashutosh Tyagi, 29, explains why people are pushing the limits. “We wanted to do something atrangi (unusual). Plus, my wife’s brother got his photos shot in Ladakh. There was pressure from her to make ours better,” says the software engineer in Gurgaon, who got married last December. He and his bride went to Goa, but the pictures were boring. A month after the wedding, they hired another photographer and headed to Kasol in Himachal Pradesh. What the palm-fronded beaches couldn’t, perhaps the outdoorsy, wooded hill town might, they thought. Shooting for two days in sub-zero temperatures and “so long as the light allowed”, the couple—in insufficient clothes for the weather—walked on snow to reach ‘locations’. “I had a blazer, but Charu was in a sari...torture for her,” says Tyagi. The rum wasn’t of much help.