Celebrity Weddings and the Lehnga Index

Celebrity Weddings and the Lehnga Index

Celebrities have switched choices by limiting what they “release” from their weddings and private lives but we persist as trespassers and hangers-on

Here is what some (many?) of us learnt since late evening of Thursday, December 9, once five photos of the Katrina Kaif-Vicky Kaushal wedding were “released” on social media.

* They are finally married!

* Katrina Kaif wore a red Sabyasachi lehnga.

* Vicky Kaushal wore a Sabyasachi groom’s ensemble.

* They looked radiant and happy.

* Red lehngas are a fixation with celebrity brides.

* Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Anushka Sharma among a bunch of others, congratulated them on Instagram with red heart emojis.

* Katrina’s styling was from a template of previous looks by the couturier for some of his campaigns including one with Masaba Gupta.

*The couple exchanged Tiffany & Co. rings. Oddly, Katrina’s sapphire encircled with diamonds was being compared for some reason with Lady Diana’s heritage monarchy jewel. Well. Not to mention that right after Tiffany India sent out a press release to every publication and platform with images of the rings, one publication ran on to call it an “exclusive”.


Photo: instagram/katrinakaif

Vicky Kaushal and Katrina Kaif on their wedding day.

This is the sum total of the wealth of information gleaned by the same five photos shared by fifty odd handles of stylists, bloggers, fashion glossies, brands of all kinds from makeup to those who sell Banarasi saris, close friends and almost- friends of the newly married couple. Five photos that have glutted the social media feed of those like me who must have chosen during idle surfing or deliberate searches, memes and themes like lehnga, bride, Katrina, Vicky, celebrity wedding, streaming platform, Sabyasachi couture, Indian jewellery, wedding ring, gold border, shaadi hairstyle etc, thus pushing the algorithm to greet us with this infinitely repetitive information.

Tabloid paparazzo, the Mumbai-based Viral Bhayani and his viral load team consistently posted photos from Jaipur and other Rajasthan events with captions like “XYZ did not perform at Katrina-Vicky wedding but they were in Jaipur for this and that.” Or, “XYZ have not arrived at the airport to attend Vicky-Katrina wedding but for something else.” This kind of captioning dumbs us down but it also holds a mirror to what we seek. Which is that even if someone has “not” sung, danced or arrived for the wedding in question, we will predictably dig every post in our hunger for some update on the shaadi of the year.

Five Photos, Three Takeaways

Given that there are only three takeaways from the five photos of Vicky-Katrina wedding being circled ad nauseam—bridal ensembles, Tiffany rings and an outside view of venue—I find myself struggling to answer what is it that we search for in these photos? And what do we find?


Especially when celebrities close off access, make it exclusive or limited with NDAs by guests and rumours of big crore deals for streaming the wedding. Even as we are reminded in no uncertain terms that we are trespassers and uninvited hangers on at a private wedding venue, real and metaphorical.

A few days back, The Voice of Fashion (no different from any other platform in milking mileage out of a trending topic), sent out a social media quiz asking readers and followers about celebrity weddings. 4,390 respondents said these weddings interested them. 3,798 said clothes, guests and haute venues made them curious. 3,519 said celeb bridal outfits influenced “fashion”. While the first two are no new discoveries, the last that this is “fashion” confuses me the most.

Especially at the end of 2021 when it has become even more difficult than earlier to locate, understand and write on the idea of Indian fashion beyond wedding couture. God forbid should someone ask a question about “Indian fashion”, the only words that easily trapezes from mind to expression are “bridalwear.” The rest exist somewhere but fuzzily. It is a dilemma shared by more than a few people I have exchanged conversations with this year. Except for the one, loud and clear messaging that Indian fashion is about wedding clothes, we have no real idea what’s going on. These wedding images only reiterate that. It shows the tenacity of our cultural distinction; it also shows resistance to fashion as movement.


Photo: instagram

Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone during their wedding in 2018.

So back to bridal chunnis and lehnga sets worn in the last few years by Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Anushka Sharma, Patralekha and now Katrina Kaif. Each of it is Sabyasachi couture and Sabyasachi jewellery. Which reminds us that celebrities particularly, or least most of them do not want to make “couture statements” (shall we rest the word fashion for a bit) outside what has now become repetitive, even as it is undoubtedly beautiful and makes each bride look ravishing.

Content Drive

There is definitely a story or few in the Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal wedding. Perhaps it is in analysing why is it seen as a bigger or meatier event or one that offers more compulsive viewing than the shaadi of Rajkummar Rao with Patralekha or that of Varun and Natasha Dhawan? Does this new couple bring bigger business heft to the brand endorsements market? Perhaps there is a story in what the streaming rights deal with an OTT platform (if it is true) will actually lead to? Not just in terms of the numbers of the business transaction but whether it will give us Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii fare or Hum Aapke Hain Koun entertainment? Will it be reality TV show or a wedding directed and choreographed for entertainment?


Photo: instagram/patralekhaa

Patralekha and Rajkummar Rao on their wedding day in November.

So far, none of these stories are realisable. What is clear though is that Indian celebrities have changed the rules of their engagement with fans by blocking or limiting access to their weddings and personal lives. Deepika-Ranveer Singh or Anushkha-Virat Kohli weddings in Italy. No visuals on Anushka and Virat’s baby daughter. Ditto for Kareena-Saif’s younger son, the sibling of none other than the once reigning superstar of Instagram, Taimur Ali Khan. The Katrina-Vicky five photos are a snub of a similar kind.

So why won’t we change as so-called content creators or fans?


Photo: priyankachopra/instagram

Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra during their wedding ceremony in December 2018.

The answers may probably be of use in a well-positioned, multi-city, Lehnga Index Survey. Which, like the famous Lipstick Index can be used as a surveying tool to understand the robustness of the Indian couture market, the cultural traps and business opportunities therein, purchase driven consumer response to celebrity fashion and jewellery, choices for destination weddings, the vast and growing replica market of “designer” lehngas, privacy versus publicity and shaadi reality TV.

A deep dive maybe on why the tag “exclusive” is in the red.

Banner: Two of the five photos “released” from the Katrina Kaif-Vicky Kaushal wedding. Photo courtesy Instagram/vickykaushal09