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Sangeet Sensations

By Asra Shaheen

Foot-tapping dholak geet or a punch of naughty banter; a mélange of Bollywood chartbusters or a memorable slideshow of the couple’s courtship… or still better a concoction of all of these and much more! When it comes to Sangeet, there’s only one rule – full-on fun and entertainment!

A typical Indian wedding is like a platter full of all the desirable flavours. There’s a splatter of vivid colours of mehendi, turmeric and vermillion. There’s the glitter of grandiose attire. There are sharp spices to pamper your taste buds to the hilt. And to top it all, there are dollops of fun and frolic with the quintessential “band baja baaraat”. Music is the soul of most Indian weddings – so much so that some ceremonies are exclusively dedicated to it. The sangeet is one such wedding function that is the most awaited evening of all. Dulha-dulhan and their parents, chaha-chachi, mama-mami and several other couples in the family wait with a flurry of excitement for that one night when they get to let their hair down together. For eligible singles, sangeet brings you a chance to win a heart or two! Hum the right tune and swing a brisk thumka; for who knows the Cupid’s arrow may strike the one you set your eyes on! And then there are those tiny Shah Rukh Khans and Kareena Kapoors toddling and balancing themselves to the beats of chamak chalo. These little champs care a damn for who’s watching and who’s not.
While sangeet nights are packed with fun galore, making preparations for an electrifying evening is not funny at all. Choosing a venue, selecting apt song-dance numbers, roping in a choreographer and gastronomic arrangements… the list is exhaustive. But it’s all worth it for sangeet is the only event of merriment that brings the families and friends of bride and groom together.
Seek Professional Service
Wedding arrangements have occupied a major part of your time, so performing spontaneously may not be a great idea. Seeking professional help is a sensible option. You can hire performers for music and dance based entertainment. “Now-a-days people don’t have enough time to come together to practice. When they finally perform, they actually end up messing up the whole thing. We would suggest seeking professional help and going for something different and adventurous such as a boat party or poolside
lounge,” say Ruchita Parelkar and Sujay Pathak of SR Event Planners and Elite Wedding Planner.
When and Where
Choose a venue that is very convenient for your family and friends. No one’s willing to drive for three hours to reach the venue. They would rather save their energies for crooning and thumkas. But at the same time, “Don’t go for the usual banquet hall; go for something adventurous,” suggests Ruchita and reminisces having organised many beach parties in Mumbai. “We also had a sangeet event at Sula winery at Nashik. The idea was to do something different,” she says. It is ideal to organise the sangeet a day-or-two before the wedding. This would also ensure that you have a good number of people from the side of both bride and groom participating.
Decide on a Budget
While it may seem like sangeet is a function on the sidelines of wedding, it can be a pretty expensive affair. The expenses could range between ` 2, 00, 000-to-` 3, 00, 000 and go further upwards. It is better to decide on a budget and work towards it.
Time Slot for All
If both the bride and groom’s family have performances to present, divide the time in such a manner that both get a fair chance. No one should feel left out or disadvantaged against. Small misunderstandings could give way to bigger misapprehensions, so it is always better to keep any such possibilities at bay.
Designing Your Sangeet Night
Spoofs & Skits
Skits interspersed with filmi songs have always been a popular means of merriment at sangeet. An array of songs can be used to tell the story of how the couple met or will spend the rest of their lives together. Some performances are staged by families of both bride and groom joining in while others have a two-sided performance. You can choose either latest Bollywood numbers or Classics, or still better have the best of both the worlds. Spice up the skit with humorous snippets or impersonation of bride and groom. Need some inspiration? Check out the classic kajra mohabbat wala from the Hindi film Kismat. “The wedding in itself is traditional and the ceremonies are dictated by the priest. The reception follows a set pattern too and the couple is on stage for most part of the evening, therefore limiting things one can do. The sangeet function however has no set rules to follow and is best done with the idea of incorporating
as much fun as possible. Go with a theme, use lots of props and create fun photo ops. Keep the whole event very colourful and lively,” suggest Divya Chauhan and Vithika Agarwal of Divya Vithika Wedding Planners. “We’ve done a host of themes, and one of them was a puppet show for a Marwari couple. Instead of a typical MC, the puppets narrated the story of their journey together and that made it so special,” recollect Divya and Vithika.
Say It with Slideshows
It’s an interesting idea to use a combination of pictures and music to keep your guests engaged. In fact, you could have the show as a break between two power-packed dance performances. You can flash the photographs of the bride and groom in their courtship days with romantic numbers playing in the background. Another creative idea could be combining a slideshow with live performance! Have the slideshow and music in the background with a live song-and-dance number, representing every photograph on screen. Ruchita recollects one sangeet event where “We had booked the entire theatre and showed a nice video of the bride and groom, the different stages of their relationship… it was a very
emotional moment and people liked it a lot.”
Bollywood Tadka
Bollywood and Indian weddings have a very close connection. It doesn’t take much to make people groove to the exhilarating beats of Bollywood numbers. Besides, you can also draw inspiration from various sequences in films to design a fun-filled activity such as antakshari or any musical based game for family. Desi themed songs and dance can be interspersed with Bollywood numbers. Do a fusion of Punjabi folk like mehendi ni mehendi and Gujarati garba. If it’s a cross cultural wedding, the blending
represents the union of two families! “Can you imagine we did a dandiya dance on sadi gali from Tanu Weds Manu on our sangeet? It was simply mind-blowing!” quip Vipul and Chavi. Vipul is a Gujarati and Chavi a Kayasth from Uttar Pradesh. The interesting fusion feat helped break the ice between two families coming from different cultural backgrounds.
Choice of Chartbusters
Select songs that suit the occasion and sort them out accordingly. An inappropriate number popping up in full volume could be very embarrassing. Romantic numbers or songs aimed at teasing the
to-be-weds are suitable for the occasion. Do not choose any song that would not go down well with any of the family members and friends present at the event.
Imaginative Themes
Gone are the days when it was enough to sport in ghagras to concoct a Gujarati or Rajasthani theme. You may wanna try out something more unusual such as Carnival fairs and Casino themes these days. “Get creative with your event. Choose your cuisine to go with your theme. When we organised a Bollywood themed sangeet we made sure there was a red carpet entry for every guest. The food was Mumbai street food like pani puri counters, pav bhaji stalls and of course the ever popular chai stall. The event should leave a mark, a personal signature and hence reflect the personality and tastes of the couple”, opine Divya and Vithika.
Checklist for the Sangeet Night 
• The music system should be in good shape.
• DJs must be booked at least three-to-four months in advance.
• Choreographers should be arranged for well in advance.
• Stay tuned in to latest Bollywood songs and private albums on the
list of Top 10 chartbusters. This helps you design a program for
the evening.
• Keep it short and sweet. The program should not exceed
90 minutes; else guests tend to get bored.
• Arrange for munchies to snack on. It’s a good idea to serve alcohol at the occasion. 
Photo courtesy: 
SR Event Planners and Elite Wedding Planner
Yuna Weddings

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