No such thing as too many Bollywood weddings, say Bittoo Bos
In Bollywood, a big fat Punjabi wedding is one of the big screen's favourite traditions. Considered the formula for a sure-fire hit, a sweeping romance is deemed incomplete without a colourful, lavish wedding. But has the perfect Petri dish for heroes to showcase their dancing and singing talents, for the lead pair to whisper sweet nothings or to introduce the battalion of noisy, annoying relatives in one swipe reached its saturation point? No, say the makers of Bittoo Boss, with relative newbies Pulkit Samrat and Amitha Pathak; they are confident that wedding weariness is an urban myth.
"In today's times, marriages are the only surviving festivals remaining in India," said Supavitra Babul, the director of the film.
“In today's times, marriages are the only surviving festivals remaining in India”
Bittoo Boss director Supavitra Babul
"With the economic growth taking over everything else, festivals like Holi and Diwali are not celebrated with the same fervour and spirit like weddings. And personally, weddings form such a perfect milieu — you will always cherish the rituals, the ladies' sangeet [singing ceremony prior to the nuptials] and the memories it brings along," he adds.
Enter Bittoo Boss, a comedy about a Delhi-based videographer who covers weddings. But the big question remains whether the audience is tired of watching syrupy orchestrated Punjabi weddings. The glut is led by hits including Diwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Hum Aapke Hai Kaun, Vivah and Monsoon Wedding. More recently, Band Baaja Baarat, a tale about a pair of Delhi-based wedding planners, did wedding-centric sagas proud with its engaging story-telling.
"Bittoo Boss is nothing like Band Baaja Baarat. Apart from Pulkit hailing from Delhi and being called Bittoo, there are no other similarities. And people always love to watch a good old Punjabi wedding. It never goes out of style," said Pathak.
Television actor Samrat of the daily soap Kyun Ki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi fame left no stone unturned in researching his Punjabi lad role.
"This role came to me at a point when I was knocking on the doors of dozens of production houses. It has not come easy and there was no way I would get this wrong," said Samrat. Watching the dubbed Punjabi version of Spider-Man, Titanic and Superman were all in a day's work for this 28-year-old actor.
"The toughest part about this role was getting the Delhi lingo and dialect right. I could easily connect to the wedding culture and holding the videocam well, but the accent is something that bothered me. I knew it shouldn't look caricaturist," said Samrat.
‘Undoing who I was'
While he learnt the nuances of a typical Delhi guy, he had to unlearn a few things.
"It took several attempts to convince Samrat that I could play the part of Bittoo. He was adamant that I looked a certain way. The first time he looked at me, he thought I looked like a metrosexual and not like a rural guy. So I underwent this process of undoing who I was — the slick hair was gone and was replaced with ruffian hair and I even toned down my skin to three shades darker. I am quite fair and in this case it was a bit of a disadvantage."
However skin darkening is just one of the hurdles facing the Bittoo Boss team. With IPL cricket invading the small screens, the question is, will a film with no star power lure people to the theatres?
"IPL is one source of entertainment and cinema is another source. And if our film is good, there's nothing stopping them from watching it. And IPL has become too commercialised these days — and people are beginning to realise that. So I have no fears," said Babul.
The leading lady Pathak, who is also the producer's daughter, believes that they have a sound project.
"Salman bhai [Khan], Sanjay [Dutt] and Ajay [Devgn] have been so incredibly supportive. They all said they loved the film and the music. So if we wanted, we could have had a special appearance of a big star — but we didn't do that. We are confident of our story."