The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Of rings and relationships

The wedding bells keep ringing in the theatres drowning out voices of naysayers. And the gems keep twinkling on the neck and earlobes of Poonam, the fresh-faced leading lady of Rajshri Productions’ Vivah, enacted by Amrita Rao.

Sooraj Barjatya’s celebration of arranged marriage comes bedecked in jewelled splendours from the house of Gitanjali Group’s leading brand D’damas.

“Very happy with the response of the family crowd” to the film, Barjatya points out how jewellery is an integral part of the script in any Indian wedding, including in Vivah, from engagement to marriage.

“The ring of sagai stands for the purity of the relationship. It is an exchange that comes out of happiness,” he tells GoodLife from Mumbai.

The engagement between D’damas and Rajshri Productions happened late last year, with an agreement for in-film placement. “There is a Sooraj Barjatya style of presenting the wedding which is evident in all his movies. He shared with us the plot to give us a background to the placement of our jewellery in his film. Both of us were keen to have an effective yet subtle showcasing of the jewellery, such that it is wisely woven into the movie plot and doesn’t seem otherwise,” reveals Mehul Choksi, managing director of D’damas.

When the production team got busy translating the script into the screenplay, the D’Damas team also got clued into the two scenes of the engagement and the wedding where the jewellery is showcased — the set design, the actors in that scene, Amrita’s attire, etc. “Such minute details were really helpful in selecting the right kind of jewellery,” Choksi adds.

There were ample choices since the jewellery house had an existing bridal line in gold and diamond. To that was added a new range of diamond engagement rings, under the sub-brand DER. The ring that Shahid slips on the finger of Amrita Rao in the engagement sequence is from this range.

“There was a huge variety of diamond-studded rings ranging from the classic bands to the trendy ones, the gorgeous cocktail rings to the solitaires. The one chosen is a solitaire which is a studded shank splitting at the top and encompassing the central stone,” Choksi says. And this is what caught heroine Amrita Rao’s fancy the most. “Its simplicity was the essence,” she says.

The centrestage, though, belongs to a necklace that Shahid carries as gift for his betrothed. She refuses it. Isn’t that strange in a film that showcases jewellery' “Not really. The girl explains that she would feel awkward wearing such an expensive ornament in the middle-class household of her uncle and aunt. The boy appreciates that honesty and gifts her a garland of flowers, instead,” Barjatya defends.

The necklace finally gets used in the wedding sequence. “It is in diamond and colourstone, from our latest designs in the Vivaaha range.” The lady whose neck it adorned confesses that she loves wearing jewellery. “All women do,” Amrita laughs, adding that during a recent trip to Calcutta she picked up some terracotta jewellery. “I love those pieces as much as the D’Damas necklace.”

But terracotta will have to wait. For it is images of Amrita in shimmering white silk and sparkling diamonds that viewers are taking back from the theatres. “Films define the fashion industry. A sari or jewellery worn by a heroine creates a desire to emulate. The craze is fuelled by star visits to the showrooms and publicity campaigns,” says Philip D Anthony, vice-president, marketing & corporate communications, Gitanjali Group.

Prices in the Vivaaha range, comprising necklace sets, mangalsutras, rings, nose rings and nose pins, start from around Rs 1,000 and rise to over Rs 8 lakh. “The Friend cap that Salman wore in Maine Pyar Kiya had become the talk of the town. People wanted to become that character,” Barjatya recalls.

The hero of Vivah is also called Prem, Salman Khan’s name in Rajshri’s biggest hit yet, but how many grooms can afford what Shahid could in the film is another matter.

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