CHENNAI: Beautiful star-studded lehengas and suits are worn by the likes of noble women and men. The place is lit up with golden and warm fairy lights and marigolds dance in the gentle evening breeze.
Laughter, chatter and music fill the atmosphere, while the aroma of food teases hungry stomachs. The couple gets their happily ever after in the presence of friends and family.
But what goes behind all of this? To unravel the scenes behind a marriage, wedding photographer Megha Bhatia, explores this in her book The Jitters Behind the Glitters. The book was launched in the city on September 11.
In a conversation with DT Next, she talks about her book, the process of writing, the journey of these couples, the darker side of marriage and lots more.
How did you venture into wedding filmmaking and photography?
I started my journey with Israni Photography 10 years back. My brother, Luv Israni, who is a fashion photographer came up with the idea to document candid moments during a wedding. Since there was nothing in the wedding space 10 years back with candid photography, we felt this unique way of storytelling will help couples preserve moments from their special day forever. That’s what drove me to it. I was a child artist and have done a few TV daily soaps and a movie and so I have always been in front of the camera. My relationship with the camera slowly changed as time went by.
When did you decide that you wanted to write a book?
The thought occurred to me in 2020. During the pandemic, I realised how much I missed work and the everyday hustle and crankiness that came along with it. I became restless at home and I didn’t have a vent for all this pent-up energy. My dad always encouraged me to write my stories, and my journey and I think somewhere that’s what pushed me to write this book.
How did you zero in on the concept for your book?
It was a slow process. Initially, when I was working on the book, I tentatively named it ‘The Wedding Secrets’. I wanted it to revolve around the wedding industry and I thought I will interview some of the most accomplished wedding planners in the world. But with time and as I kept writing, I wanted to focus only on the marriage and not the wedding per se. It took its own pace to pan out and it did.
How does it feel to be a part of someone’s journey?
It’s a very huge responsibility because I’m responsible for someone’s memories. The pressure pushes us to do our best. Unlike regular filmmaking, you cannot ask for a retake when you don’t get what you look for. It’s all about that perfect moment filled with emotions. I believe there is no margin for error.
How did you convince the couples that you wanted to tell their story, warts and all?
When I become a part of someone’s wedding, they are no longer my clients, they become my friends. Hence, it becomes organic and doesn’t take a lot of convincing. So, I just had to call them up and tell them about this project of mine and they happily agreed to be aboard.
How was the process of writing the book?
When I sat down to write, I finished the first chapter rather quickly, but then after that, I had massive writer’s block and couldn’t write further. It then struck me that I could highlight the concept of dowry in weddings and then began penning a chapter on that. Gradually, I understood that I wanted to give out a message through each chapter and worked my way around it. However, I found naming the chapters to be challenging and even editing the book to publish it more difficult. (chuckles)
Your book follows a novelistic narrative style. Was it done on purpose?
To be honest, no. I have been an avid reader and I know what readers expect. The stories did have a novelistic style as you mentioned, but that was not the vision of it. It was just to retain the essence of their story while following a narrative pattern.
What can readers expect from the book?
Through this short, fun-read, readers can see the darker side of marriage. After the read, there will be an emotional connect with the incidents narrated. Even if I can save two marriages, or put out a thought to couples to live their marriage the way they want. I hope my readers would enjoy and experience the process of weddings and marriages with more fulfilment.