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Cinema creates and perpetuates the festival: Karwa Chauth is a live example!

October 31, 2015 1:31:35 PM IST
By Nalin Rai, Glamsham Editorial
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One always wonders if it wasn't for Yash Chopra, whether the festival of Karwa Chauth, which was originally a festival that was celebrated by the Punjabis would have gained a national eminence and would have been observed by married women, irrespective of the caste or creed all over the country side? The premise is being forwarded as my maid who has just landed in Delhi after her marriage, and watching the preparations for the festivals for the occasion laid out in the market, and accidentally watching DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAYENGE decided to take the plunge, catalyst being the cinematic representation of it in DDLJ.


It is not that the fast of Karwa Chauth has not been depicted in the Hindi cinema earlier, but the kind of treatment that Yash Chopra gave it in DDLJ-where he made the occasion stand on its head by showing Shah Rukh Khan observing the fast as well - was stimulant in creating a new parameter of commitment for relationships - observing the karwa chauth even before being married underlining the commitment for life by the couples and subtly injecting the paradigm of gender equality through the character of Raj enacted by SRK, to spur the lovers all over the country to do it for each other- Just do it as they say!

It would not be out of place to inform that it was Manoj Kumar who had dabbled in this genre of Karwa Chauth in his eponymous film KRANTI where a Nirupa Roy was shown observing the fast for his lost husband Dilip Kumar, giving the occasion an antiquity- but may be as the choice of character to underline the religious occasion used was Nirupa Roy it would not catch the imagination of public. It could also have been owing to the fact that KRANTI being a film associated with struggle for Independence, the symbolic reference to Karwa Chauth could not gain ground- who knows may be if Manoj Kumar had used the occasion by associating all the female characters in the film to show observing this fast and associating it with the success in freedom struggle- Manoj Kumar may have been credit with giving a new lease of life to this festival.

Ultimately it is the treatment of the subject that matters and who could do it in a more romantic and make believe manner than a Yash Chopra as he did it in DDLJ! Such has been the impact of the occasion that now this festival transcends the regional barrier and religious barrier as well and has become a channel vehicle to publicly display commitment by the couples for one another. Even a Salman Khan tried to dabble in this genre through BIWI No.1 but the whole narrative was woven in a comical manner and therefore the idea could not take ground.

However Salman Khan being Salman Khan how could he not dabble in the genre once again! And he did it with panache along with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM, taking a leaf out from DDLJ, as in the film both these characters were still in love with each other and not betrothed.
If one were to analyze how the festival has emerged as an occasion for celebration and festivity, one would perhaps have to have a look into one of the most faithful disciples of Yash Chopra school of film making- Karan Johar's KABHI KHUSHI KABHI GUM, where he wove the narrative of Karwa Chauth as an occasion of family unity, festivity and also an occasion of bonding between a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law - a mother-In-Law using the occasion the pass on the processes of traditions of the family to the daughter in law. But Karwa Chauth being a part of cinematic oeuvre of Chopra clan, a Ravi Chopra through BAGHBAAN took it to other exalted heights.

A film by the name of KARWA CHAUTH has also been made but it was a damp squib, as it could not weave the narrative in as emotional and as romantic a manner as a Yash Chopra, Karan Johar or a Ravi Chopra did it.

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