Prathama & Richard | Hindu Odia Wedding | Bhubaneswar

Prathama & Richard (P&R) spoke to me sometime last year, saying they’re getting married and that too across three different continents - Asia (Odisha), Europe (Bath) & Africa (Johannesburg). I almost leapt for joy at the prospect of shooting all three weddings! The dreamer in me woke up and went to work. I pictured myself geotagging my social media posts with exotic locations like Paris (instead of Pallakad), Cape Town (instead of Kanyakumari) and Bali (instead of Bengaluru) with hashtags like #internationalweddingphotographer & #shootlife! I swear the only place where I didn’t check-in was the moon itself!

Life, Prathama and Richard however had other plans. P&R told me that they wanted me to only shoot their Odisha wedding. Sigh! My dreams, hopes, aspirations and social media strategy came down crashing that very instant. But their wedding turned out to be exactly the fun, intimate and ‘non-wedding’ wedding that I’d dreamt of attending someday. Be it the Odissi & Chhau dance performances, daily parties or Sobriety Tests (i.e. drunk people asking the sober ones to prove their sobriety by walking in a straight line. Nice try!) - It was fun! Everyone danced together on Odia classics like Rangabati among Hindi/English tracks like they knew each one of those songs! P&R were personally involved in all aspects of their wedding. Their family & friends from across the world were coming down and P&R ensured they got to see India the way many Indians haven’t. Everyone at the wedding was having a great time. And personally, I didn’t feel I was working as the vibes were such.

On Day 1, Prathama’s & Richard’s respective fathers got onto the stage to speak. I am pretty sure neither had any idea of what the other was going to say. But it was beautiful how both speeches complimented each other perfectly. Richard’s Father mentioned that he grew up during the peak of Apartheid in South Africa where fraternising with people of colour was a taboo. And that to see the very next generation in his family look beyond all these material differences was just so heartwarming! Prathama’s Father on the other hand quoted Indian Astronaut Rakesh Sharma - “People always ask me what I looked for when I first viewed Earth from orbit. Well, the thing that astronauts of other countries did was to look out for their country. And that's exactly what I did. It was a wonderful sight and when our then Prime Minister Smt Indira Gandhi asked me what India looked like, I told her: Saare Jahan Se Achchha (the best in the world). Then, slowly, you begin to realise that borders are not visible from space and then you start looking at your country as part of a whole and the whole being planet Earth itself. You come back feeling how fragile the planet is and how it needs to be protected.” Different perspectives, similar inferences!

I think I’ve said enough. So let’s see some pictures from the wedding, shall we?! :)

Photography: Elvin ‘Almost International‘ Jacob
MUH: Shubhraseema Nayak / Manu’s Midas Touch
Venue: MAYFAIR Lagoon, Bhubaneswar
Entertainment Courtesy: Pruthwiraj Panigrahi, Anashwara Radhakrishnan, Prasunna KP
Special Mention: Plasma :)