Men and Mehndi: Rekindling the love affair

Ranbir Kapoor’s Mehndi act in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil stole many a women’s hearts. And honestly, some men too. While Ranbir looked resplendent in a Sabyasachi designed sherwani, the real show stealer were his hands sporting henna. I overheard one of the bridesmaids at a wedding quip to her male friend, “You guys have new wedding fashion goals now”.

She wasn’t wrong exactly. Though, as a wedding photographer, I have seen bridegrooms getting mehndi art done on their palms because it’s considered a ‘shagun’, but it’s always as minimal as they can have it. While Mehndi has been part of wedding rituals since forever, with time, the art got skewed on the side of women, with men only going in for a small customary blob of henna.

And though Bollywood has made a case for henna as a style statement for men, how long it will survive, I am not sure. I realised it’s probably not to do with mehndi per se. The problem lies in the depiction of art that’s centred around ‘kalis’ and ‘booties’. And incidentally, even men in touch with their feminine side aren’t very comfortable with all the floral art.

Men usually (I am not generalising, mind you) prefer simpler and sober patterns. The best reference would be popular tattoo designs for men and women. Though mehndi designs have certainly toned down with Arabic stylization but they still haven’t been able to break out of their floral and paisley mould. And this is the reason why men still shy away from this important wedding ‘rasam’ which has become a ‘ladies only’ affair.

This means, despite the success of ‘ChannaMereya’, many grooms still aren’t sure if they really want to give bridal mehndi a try for their D-day. Incidentally, they are sometimes seconded by their would-be brides too.

So, is there a way to get men more involved with this aspect of the wedding? Apart from being put on duty to hold the bags and feed the girls! Henna art just needs to make a stronger case in favor of men. One such example is here:

But whatever it be- minimalist or detailed, play it as you want because it’s going to be your big day. Your happy heart and smile will be your most beautiful accessory for the day. Make sure you wear that, and we promise to capture them for you as a memory for a lifetime.

Happy Wedding!