Docu takes on arranged marriages and society humorously
‘When Hari got Married’ aims to provide an insight into age-old traditions and customs in India
New Delhi: The humorous tale of a taxi-driver from a small town who sees his wife only for a split-second, before his marriage, courting her all the while over phone, is set to open in theaters next week in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Delhi.
The documentary, “When Hari got Married,” aims to provide an insight into age-old traditions and customs in India, says the husband-wife filmmaker duo-Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam. “This movie is a combination of light and humorous characters with a heavy and serious topic like marriage in times of technology”, says Ritu.
She points out that things are changing gradually in the villages where mobile phones, television, Internet have made their place along with time old customs and traditions. “This film would definitely be interesting for urban audience, reason being that most of them still have their roots in rural villages and this co-existence between the modern and the traditional is an interesting facet,” the director adds.
The Dharamshala-based director duo has previously made politically and socially significant movies like “The Shadow Circus: The CIA in Tibet”, which unveiled popular impression that non-violent Tibetans allowed the Chinese to stroll into Lhasa.
Their documentary, “The Sun Behind the Clouds” which portrays China’s occupation of Tibet and spiritual leader Dalai Lama’s reaction towards it, has been screened in the US. Now they are trying their hand in humor and as Ritu says, “Sometimes humor is the hardest thing to convey to the audience.”
Ritu says the film is “a fine balance to embrace the old with the arrival of the new, and Raju (the lead character) has done it rather nicely and creatively in his journey of knowing and loving his wife and finally marrying her.” Today, when any kind of association, personal or otherwise begins with exchange of numbers, Raju had to wait over a year to get his wife-to-be Suman’s number. Right up till the wedding day, it is through mobile phone that they interact, share and express love for each other.
The director duo, Sarin and Tenzing received an invitation for Raju’s wedding long ago, since they were acquainted with the family from many years (Ritu had attended Raju’s mother’s wedding too). So when Raju shared his dilemmas with them, Ritu says she thought about capturing the journey of this taxi driver on film.
“We were like family there, and due to space constraints we did not have a huge crew. It was Tenzing himself who shot the whole documentary and that made it easier for us to capture rare moments during the wedding celebrations,” Ritu says.
The directors claim the documentary is a classic example of cinema-virite, also known as truthful cinema or observational cinema, where events are simply recorded without any commentary.
Tenzing who shot the film, is known to be very relaxed and calm, and this comes across as the movie is both candid and colorful.
“It’s a general belief that documentaries end with a message, but in this case its an open ended film”, says the director.
Ritu explains “Although the topic of the film is marriage, we have not given any value judgements, explanations, dos and don’ts, we have simply tried to make it a better cinematic experience for the audience”.
The film has already been showcased in various film festivals globally, “People have really like the film specially the fact that the characters, including the groom, his family, his old aunts, everyone is so relaxed, comfortable and candid in front of the camera”, Ritu says.
After travelling around the world, this sweet love story is coming to India which makes this screening “extra special” as Ritu puts it.