After shooting videos for Anushka Sharma-Virat Kohli, Bipasha Basu-Karan Singh Grover, and Deepika Padukone-Ranveer Singh’s fairy tale weddings, the expert weighs in on how to select the best destination to say 'I do'.
The word ‘soulmates’ is often used when we talk about two people madly in love with each other, who connect at every possible level. Love happens when you least expect it. Marriages are made in heaven and ought to be special. Umaid Bhawan, built between 1928-1943, is a magnificent piece of Rajasthan’s heritage and a perfect destination for royal-like weddings.
The Wedding Filmer made their first big blockbuster video, Happily Ever Laughter in 2013 with producer Shaana Levy and Mumbai entrepreneur Uraaz Bahl here. From the horses to the towering dome and magnificent stone structure, Umaid Bhawan screams perfection. Not just this, there is a little Krishna on top of the dome to bless the couples! This place should definitely make your grand day memorable.
Kerala works as an ideal destination as it is a seamless mix of the traditional and the playful — the ceremonies followed by games, involving the bride and groom, add to the fun. Wedding travellers from around the world are enchanted by the rich cultural heritage of God's Own Country. From white sands and beautiful beaches and the sparkling backwaters in Alleppey to high mountain ranges in Munnar, among other scenic habitats, there’s much to see and experience here. Blessed with unmatched natural beauty Kerala ranks on top of most preferred wedding destinations. If you want to enjoy tradition with a charming backdrop, this southern state should be on top of your priority list.
The last nine years have taught me that every relationship has its own story, and every destination helps us gain new experiences. We alone don’t make the films beautiful and memorable, it is the destinations that contribute. Bali is known for its forested volcanic mountains, rice paddies, beaches and coral reefs.
It is one of the most unconventional destinations on my list. Weddings in Bali are all about gorgeous venues with wow-worthy views. There are options and locations for every ceremony
If you want your wedding movie to stand out, just be yourself. If you want more than spit and polish for your great day, head to Jaisalmer which has a rich culture and is ideal for a picture-perfect wedding.
Magical charm makes the ancient city stand out. Pledging a lifetime of love and togetherness at the mandap in the middle of a lush green courtyard with cobblestoned paths, surrounded by bedecked fort walls sounds like a dream for every couple. Lilting Rajasthani folk music playing in the background adds to the experience.
Masai Mara, Kenya
Have you ever thought of having breakfast with giraffes and the jungle's inhabitants as your wedding guests? Well, this is possible if you get married in Masai Mara in Kenya! There are places that stay with you forever. When a couple asked me to shoot their wedding here, I had no idea that this land would touch me so deeply or that I would find new horizons to bring out the best in me. Shooting a wedding there was a high ride of emotions, happiness, and warmth from all directions. Nothing adds to the celebrations like a happy bride and a groom who make the promise of staying with each other for eternity amidst natural beauty.
Away from the hustle-bustle of city life, Lakshadweep is a location for couples looking for a peaceful destination to get married. It’s a place straight out of fairy tale books — get married under the stars away from pollution and have beautiful blue and turquoise water surround you. That’s not all, you can evengo diving as a bonus! For as long as I can remember, dreaming of faraway lands and alternate utopian realities has been my place of comfort and it helps me visualise my shoots.
Chit-chat with Vishal Punjabi
Vishal Punjabi packages wedding moments straight out of happily-ever-after tropes
Tell us something about your journey from commercials to The Wedding Filmer.
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I did my first wedding film in Mumbai and spoke to the couple and their families to get a script to accompany the visuals. They said some beautiful things and loved how it translated into the film. We began to get appreciation and gradually word spread about The Wedding Filmer.
How do you make videos look real rather than gimmicky?
There are many people who shoot even better than us. But film-making is not only beautiful shots or nice music. It’s about whether you can tap into the emotions through the brouhaha of a wedding with what you capture on film. It’s about how you use sounds and music, experiences and stories, that touch the soul.
How did you get the idea to make original background scores? How do you visualise what you need?
Popular music can get dated and since these memories are for life, the music should be timeless too. The music we make for our films comes from the couple - what they listen to or identify with. We take into consideration what played at the ceremonies, and which sounds would be most appropriate for a particular part of the film.
Tell us something about virtual reality at weddings...
All their special moments; first dance, haldi, pheras, entries, champagne pops, cake cutting, bidai, and more. Sometimes, space doesn’t allow it or the moment is too intimate. As always, being discreet comes first.
Do couples have a vision of what they want or is it completely up to you?
We must, of course, take into consideration what is important to them. Once we understand what they hold dear, putting the film together is entirely up to us. It’s a huge responsibility that requires a lot of thought and time.
Are the videos usually candid or rehearsed?
Nothing is rehearsed. Even the chats are recorded when they are relaxed and we try to be as unobtrusive as possible when filming them. It’s important they have a good time and that we don’t get in the way.
How do you capture shots at the right moment?
We have a great team of cinematographers who have mastered the art of anticipation, which as I tell everyone is where the magic is! Being alert is key to not missing an important moment.
Wedding films are a recent trend and every couple wants exclusive visuals. What advice would you give them?
Everyone is different. Just be yourself. And yours will stand out! A wedding is not to prove how beautiful or blessed we are. A wedding is the celebration of love, of having found a partner with whom to share one’s life.