KARACHI: Beauty salons are packed with young women getting all dolled up for a fun night out; the parandas and motia flowers in their hair will tell you that the frills are not for a charity ball — it’s shaadi season and the competition has only just started.
Gone are the days when mehendis meant a bunch of aunties gathered around a dholak, singing “Ko ko Korina” and “Pardesiya”. Group luddis are almost extinct, and have been replaced by the older female-relatives of the bride or groom doing synchronised dances to tracks like “Om Shanti Om”.
At most mehendis, you will see the bride’s side opening the performances by taking the floor first. Boys wear coordinated dupattas and kurtas, with some sporting aviators or other props for their upbeat numbers. Girls try to be as colourful as they can, with fuchsias and olive greens being favourites for mehendi joras. As soon as the DJ cranks up the volume of “Chikni Chameli” (or any other catchy number), dancers take their positions to bust their moves. So what is everyone dancing to?
Fabeha Farrukh recently attended her cousin’s wedding and prepared one ‘medley’ — an assortment of clips from various songs — for a dance-off against the boy’s side. She says Vicky Donor’s “Rum Rum Whiskey”, the desi hip-hop version of “Bumbro Bumbro”, DJ Casper’s “Cha Cha”, “Thug Le”, “Desi Thumka”, Imran Khan’s “Tu Meray Moun Na Lag” were just a few songs on the playlist. Their medley was (gasp) 30 minutes long!
From the groom’s party, Zohaib Mufti was not too happy — he feels his side did not get a chance to display all they had prepared for. He humourously says: “We ran out of time! There was a lot more to come but the bride’s cousins were not ready to leave the floor — maybe because they did not have a proper medley.” He adds that though there were some mistakes in the opponent’s dance moves, watching the dances was enjoyable for everyone.
These upbeat tracks that are mostly from Bollywood movies have surely made their way into Pakistani weddings. Aliza Tirmizi, who was recently part of her friend’s wedding celebration, is of the view that the best thing about mehendis nowadays is the Bollywood style dances and remixed tracks.
Songs like Agent Vinod’s “Pungi”, “Anarkali Disco Chali” and “Chikni Chameli” have become popular choices for dance numbers at weddings. According to one young girl, “I would love to have [dances to] these tracks at my wedding.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2012.
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