Call me a naive romantic, but when Deepika Padukone dropped the first set of photographs on Instagram from her wedding, I found them beautiful. I was at work, crouched behind a dumb desk in a co-working space, but I felt my feelings take on a warm Valencia filter. Our building may be fully concrete, but it rained on my face that day.
And then, minutes later, Ranveer Singh dropped an identical set of pictures, only switching the order of their upload, making us innocent voyeurs believe that we were being delivered something new. I clicked, and a moment later, felt ‘chitted’ for this lack of authenticity, and prepared myself for the worst—a templatised influencer-led social media takeover of wedding happiness. It felt like blue balls, but in the heart.
But shitfuckery like Ranveer’s ended yesterday, when newly-wed Priyanka Chopra dropped the coup de grâce of this wedding season—a picture with “our Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi ji” giving her and her failed boy band boo Nick Jonas (#PrIck) his blessings. Why should DeepVeer have all the fun?
This ended a frantic month of carefully curated #WeddingGram drops, giving us a brief (very brief coz I don’t know when Ranveer might decide to drop honeymoon pix) window to figure out who came out on top in this new buttress of the celeb cultural economy.
DeepVeer vs NickYanka Round 1: Open Mouths
It’s weird, but it seems like famous people think happiness means opening your mouth a lot. Ranveer Singh is a known abuser of the open-mouth-to-express-thyself technique (proof), but sadly Deepika too joined in with her hubby in their wedding pictures.
They have pictures with open mouths, but not many, which is important. The rest of them are closed mouthed, or even pouty, giving us the full range of the new couples’ expression game.
Priyanka Chopra, though, doesn’t agree, and went drastically open mouth in all her pictures. It was adorable at first, but got super annoying super fast. Like, her mouth is too open to be happy; it’s almost like she’s laughing at someone, and not because she’s happily married. I also wondered if she was laughing at someone who is single. “Meri toh shaadi ho gayi tum single ho hahahaha!” Is Priyanka that person? I do not know, but it did make me think she might be, and that’s not a good thing. This round goes to DeepVeer.
Round 2: Clothes
Tbh, IDGAF. And look at the coding tragedy that is Sabyasachi’s website.
Round 3: Swag
The biggest reason famous weddings are the cocaine of social media, isn’t because of the clothes or the locales or the happiness of two people we’ve never met; it’s because we want to see how other famous people hang around famous weddings. Is Aamir Khan the dude who annoys servers at the gulab jamun counter by asking for repeated helpings? Is Parineeti the person who high-pitch screams ‘SHOTS’ every five minutes? I don’t know, but I want to.
Priyanka Chopra understands this, and displayed a fascinating arsenal of attendants. There is her cousin, Parineeti—mouth open even wider than Piggy Chops’. And there was Sophie Turner aka Sansa Stark, clapping, dancing, and truly happy. The Indian internet was happier, as we got a full week of “Sansa Stark enjoying wedding jokes”, capitalising on the true power of a celebrity: Fashioning meme fodder out of thin air.
DeepVeer were a major disappointment in this regard, posting pictures only with unknown family members. It’s sweet and all, but we weren’t wasting precious 4G data for that shit. Where were the famous friends, especially the weird drunk ones? (cc: Arjun Kapoor). #RoundThreeForPriNick
Round 4: Image Quality
Call me old fashioned, but when I click on celeb wedding photos, I’m expecting high resolution, extremely zoomable pictures. PriNick went for a different technique, dropping many pictures which were apparently clicked on mobile phone cameras. It established a certain connection—famous people click photos from their phone too—sure, but no one wants to see that one megapixel shit circa 2008 no more. This is not an ad, but we all have Jio now.
The Narendra Modi picture especially was resolute travesty, a truly magnificent feat of low quality photography. It’s more distorted than India’s future, and a photobombing aunty to boot. Sure, that aunty is a legend, but then we’re focused on the aunty and not the meeting of hearts in the middle—a failure at keeping our low attention spans zeroed in on the task at hand.
DeepVeer did really well in this category, with each picture taken with megapixels-from-god. The bad thing is that it makes their wedding seem more like a photoshoot, but lack of authenticity is a small price for high res pix. They win this round.
Round 5: Cultural Currency
Let’s talk about them likes.
DeepVeer beat NickYanka in pure volume of only wedding photo likes, 52.6 to 49.6 million. But, a closer inspection of the numbers paints a different picture, as DeepVeer are volume shooters focused on quantity over quality. Using the complex metric of likes/pic, Priyanka beat Deepika 4.68 to 4.4 million likes, Nick bested Ranveer 3.58 to 3.1 million. Well done friends.
Now, timeline timeline on our wall, how did the pictures come into our lives, pray tell all?
This is important, perhaps the most important part of deciphering the winner: Who gained more social capital with their wedding? DeepVeer went first, with coordinated drops on every platform with low-key messaging. The best of them was the first one from Deepika, with one pristine, clean message: A heart emoji.
It’s the perfect crystallisation of what it means to be loving in 2018, all captured in one feeling. Deepika uploaded everything else without a comment, because she didn’t need to say more. The heart emoji tugged at the coldest of my heartstrings, to the point of near breakage. Ranveer followed her lead with the same messaging, but there’s no way he thought of it. Like dude’s cool—a wayward dreamboat—but he too loud. The pictures killed it, with news publications covering the amount of likes they got.
But it all got dark very fast. DeepVeer fucked up, dropping pictures for weeks, all in wedding mode. Twitter was rightly aghast at this commodification of love. Heck, they even dropped pictures after #NickYanka pictures came into our lives. Why the fuck, guys?
It got even sadder, as they suddenly started doing their usual promotional posts on Instagram—Ranveer for his movie Simmba, Deepika for magazine covers. I’m not saying they can’t already go back to work, but at least don’t do thirsty promotions so soon. Priyanka too posted branded-adjacent shit, but one was her being named one of 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes, and one is a cover whose digital version has both her and Nick, which is still sweet.
Now, DeepVeer’s wedding pictures rest on their pages just like other pictures, devoid of their, even our, specialness. And if they aren’t going to treat their wedding pictures with extra care, why should you, why should I? It’s L by default.
They tried to so hard and got so far, but in the end, it doesn’t even matter. NickYanka win this round by default.
Our scoreboard reads 2-2, and our scoreboard follows a very scientific and completely objectively devised methodology, which means the Great Wedding Instagram Wars of 2018 were truly a draw.
Is that a bad thing? I don’t know. Everyone’s a winner in the obsessive stalking of love ❤️.
Follow Parthshri Arora on Twitter.