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On the Sets of Gopichand and Reshmas Wedding

By Asra Shaheen

All’s set for the shot. Lights, Camera, Action! This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime moment for Telugu actor Gopichand when the lights are on and the camera is rolling but there’s no clapperboard to prompt him! He is being guided by the chants of the priest, instead. PLAN YOUR WEDDING walks you through this real life Tollywood wedding of Tottempudi Gopichand (son of filmmaker T Krishna) and T Reshma Choudary (niece of actor Meka Srikanth).

When Gopichand met Reshma…
Their families know each other well; the boy’s proposal has reached its destination, thanks to his uncle and the girl’s uncle; and the kundalis of the prospective var-vadhu matched! So what are we waiting for?

When a reel life hero goes to meet his real life lady love for the first time, you would probably expect something larger than life! But our down-to-earth Gopichand is a no-frill man. And it is this very quality that stole Reshma’s heart. “We met at my grandmom’s house for the first time with all our family members around. How can I ever forget that cute and honest smile he gave me when we first glanced at each other! I liked his honesty and frankness. Absolutely no attitude! And when I came to know he is a teetotaler; that was it. I knew for sure he is the man I wanted to marry,” chuckles Reshma. And what was it about Reshma that made Gopichand’s heart go dhak dhak? “Well, when I saw Reshu, one thing that struck me at the first glance was her beautiful smile and her cute face. She is her natural self. What I admire about her is she is a very caring and loving person, homely and traditional girl, straightforward and sometimes innocent too. She makes sure things around her are always happy and joyful,” says Gopichand, who grew up in Chennai until he left for Russia to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering.

Nischithartum - the Engagement
The engagement was a very private affair with the family members and close friends of Gopichand and Reshma gathering at Lanco Hills. The decor of the hall was akin to a typical South Indian engagement ceremony with quintessential marigold flower chandeliers, diyas, janoors, crystals, floral rangolis and flower stands. The occasion began with Ganesh puja performed for the bride and groom separately. Gopichand wore a golden-yellow kurta and white patiala, whereas Reshma adorned a resplendent Kanchipattu orange-pink-gold combination saree. Mangala Harathi was performed and the bride and groom were bestowed with gifts, clothes, jewellery and sweets by each other’s parents. For the exchange of rings, Gopichand changed into an Armani blazer suit and Reshma wore a golden tissue Kanchipattu saree. More photo ops followed with cake cutting and exchange of garlands. The guests were treated to a sumptuous lunch thereafter.

Wedding Bells

Sangeet in style
The décor at Avasa Hotel was chic and contemporary -- crystals, drapings, flower balls and diyas for that li’l traditional touch! Gopichand chose a black Pathani suit and contrasting neutral-toned jacket, whereas Reshma dazzled in her elaborate multi-colored kalidar styled lehenga designed by none other than herself! The hues were a refreshing mix of pink, grapes green and orange in velvet and raw silk. DJ Prithvi belted out some foot-tapping numbers that set the ball rolling. “All the ceremonies were cherishable but if I had to pick one, I would say it’s the sangeet. Gopichand and I enjoyed the performance by our family and friends. At one point, we were drawn in to shake a leg with everyone.” says the delightful bride.

Making of the bride/groom and Mehendi
For the Mehendi ceremony, Reshma’s home was transformed into a vibrant garden of marigolds, orchids and mango and palm leaves. The flowing drapes and colourful diwans bore an astonishingly elegant look. Even as the floral rangoli welcomed the guests, the décor was replete with hues of orange, green and pink. The Pellikuturu or “Making of the Bride” began early morning at 4 am on the same day. Pellikuturu is a pre-wedding ceremony in Telugu weddings similar to bridal shower, generally held a day before the wedding. Reshma wore a half saree for the mangala harathi when five women from her family performed the puja; this was followed by anointing the bride with oil and turmeric. After the mangala snanam, Reshma changed into salwar suit during the mehendi festivities.

The chilaka joshyam or the parrot fortuneteller was mobbed with eager teenagers, who wanted to know what’s in store for them or rather who’s in store for them! A group of singers was specially invited from Bengaluru, thus making it a gala affair.

A similar ceremony was performed at Gopichand’s home just as the ‘Mogudu’ of Telugu cinema went on to don the role of Pellikoduku.

Vivaaha Mahotsavam
The aisle at N Convention, a unique destination that blends the splendor of nature and hi-tech infrastructure, was done up with janoors and sea green and white draping. The main hall, which is a perfect place for large gatherings, has glass front on three sides with lake view and an LED wall on the fourth side. The ceiling dazzled with jasmine crystal chandeliers. Of the three gopurams designed, two were decked with diyas, which aptly lend a divine look to the mandap. Background of the mandap replicated the theme concept of their wedding card ie Lord Venkateswara Swamy Kalyanam. The artisans, who were specially flown in from Kerala and Coimbatore, had painstakingly crafted the mandap with kundan and flower metal work. Arranged with an aesthetic appeal, the food courts too were a treat not just to one’s taste buds but to the eyes. The lavish spread included Punjabi and Kerala delicacies, Thai and Continental food and not to forget jackfruit biryani that turned out to be a gastronomic highlight of the evening.

Telugu weddings are ritualistic and traditional to the core. Gopichand and Reshma’s nuptial ceremony was no exception. As the Sumuhurtam or the auspicious moment was at 2.16 am, the reception preceded the kalyanam; this is a common occurrence at many Telugu weddings. For the Reception, Reshma adorned a flamboyant pink-yellow half saree-cum-gharghra with a diamond choker with pearls and a long gold haar. Gopichand shone in contrasting white bandgala. Like any other couple on this day, the two patiently stood through, receiving and bidding their guests farewell with a perennial smile on their faces.

Now was the time for Gowri and Ganesh puja and the pravara ritual. The bride and groom sat in separate mandaps with family members and close friends around. Thereafter, the two moved to the same mandap. Before the Sumuhurtam or the auspicious moment, a partition separates the bride and groom. It is only at the ordained moment that the sheet is lowered. Gopichand and Reshma sat on the either side of the ‘thera’ (flower partition) for the kanyadaanam until dot 2.16 am, ie the sumuhurtam. The partition between the two was lowered and then begins the jeelakaara bellum ritual during which the bride and groom placed the paste made of cumin seeds and jaggery on each other’s heads. The pujari recited slokas from Vedas throughout. For this part of the ceremony, Reshma was draped in a golden silk saree and adorned traditional temple jewellery, handpicked from Chennai, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Gopichand wore a pink ethnic kurta chudidar and not to miss, his charmingly infectious smile! His outfits were designed by his good friend, fashion designer Shravan Kumar.

After seeking blessings from family and friends who showered akshintalu (rice coated with turmeric), Reshma changed into white Kanchipattu saree with orange-yellow border. Gopichand perfectly complemented her with his white pancham. During the Sumangali Puja, 10 married women accompanied Reshma holding thalis, containing sacred rice and diyas. And then arrived the moment everyone had been waiting for… Gopichand tied mangalsutra around Reshma’s neck with a bright and wide smile on his face. Just as he was doing, Reshma’s confident face glowed with her eyes downcast and filled with joy of marital bliss. Showers of akshintalu continued as the two exchanged garlands. Following this was the Saptapadi ceremony -- Gopichand and Reshma took “seven steps” together around the fire pit, each step symbolizing one lifetime of togetherness.

With the sighting of Arundhati Nakshatram and Appagintalu, the marriage was finally solemnized.

Tidbits of fun
If you thought a traditional Telugu wedding was a very serious affair, think again! There’s fun and frolic too. For sthaalipaakam ceremony, the bride’s silver toe rings are placed in a silver pot filled with water. Gopichand and Reshma tried to fish out the rings from the pot amidst roars of laughter, whistles and hooting. And no prizes for guessing who won the game thrice! Undoubtedly, it was Gopichand, whose heroic antics seemed to have worked well!

The talambralu ritual evoked amusement as Gopichand and Reshma playfully showered each other with a mixture of turmeric rice and crystal balls.

Moment of the Day
Reshma recounts the most emotional moment on their wedding day when she was supposed to head directly to Gopichand’s home after leaving the marriage hall: “All along he held my hand, assuring me ‘I’m there for you’. Those words gave me immense strength at a time when I was almost on the verge of tears because I was leaving my parent’s home.”

 Photo Courtesy: Ranganath Photography 


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