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When Hari got married is a short 75 minute documentary film on the marriage of Hari, a taxi driver in Dharamsala.
The filmmakers follow Hari around in his taxi and chat with him about marriage and hear him expound his philosophies on everything under the sun. They also get him to meet his immediate and extended family and take us through the wedding preparations right up to the wedding and after to when his daughter is born.
The film gives you a peep into the life of a family in another part of the country and brings home the fact that as a country we are bound by family ties, rituals and traditions. So, even though, the customs and costumes will be local (Hari puts on bright fuschia nailpolish on his fingers and toes for the wedding), it’s a small country after all and we are all alike.
Hari, the hero of the movie, is charm personified and is the spirit of the movie. He is jovial, philosophical, cynical yet hopeful about progress and change and personifies the aspirations of an India trying to get out of a rut.
The other thing that came across is the gradual emancipation of women everywhere. Hari’s aunts in one scene explain how when they were young, they had no say in who they married and could not even object to a handicapped person. “Now!” one of them exclaims, “which girl will marry such a man. They are all educated. They know what they want.” Such tiny things send small frissons of happiness through you too.
Hari has never seen his fiancée but talks to her on his cellphone, forcing her to say “I love you” every time he talks to her. It’s all kind of cute and romantic.
Hari talks about progress and women’s freedom etc though I am skeptical about how much he believes in his ideas. He could be just posturing for the camera. Nevertheless his insights and ideas delivered in a wry, gently cynical manner make you think while keeping you entertained.
The film makers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam have a great equation with Hari as well as his family and the lack of a patronizing attitude makes this a very enjoyable watch. There are parts that get a bit slow but overall this movie about the great Indian wedding is quite a delight. Countless wedding cards come alive in the scene where the bride with a ghungat covering her head is carried off in a palanquin with the backdrop of the majestic mountains.
Weddings make you smile and Hari’s wedding with the charming groom and the absolutely beautiful bride is a good watch. You may not see it in the theatre but do definitely catch it on DVD or on TV. It’s worth it.