‘Delhi Crime’ Review: Netflix’s Take on the Nirbhaya Case is Cop-Centric but Gut-Wrenchingly Effective

By: Amrita Kumar-Ratta & Sundeep Hans

Brown Girl contributors Amrita Kumar-Ratta and Sundeep Hans share their thoughts about the seven-part Netflix Series “Delhi Crime,” written and directed by Richie Mehta, with one another before and after watching. Amrita and Sundeep are both Indo-Canadian women, with roots in Brampton, Ontario, where Indo-Canadian Mehta is from as well.

Thoughts before watching “Delhi Crime”: Amrita Kumar-Ratta

Quite honestly, I was skeptical about watching the new Netflix series, “Delhi Crime.” The brutal gang rape of Jyoti Singh Pandey has been sensationalized by the media and by filmmakers ever since the incident took place in December 2012.

First, there was Leslee Udwin’s 2015 film, “India’s Daughter,” which was produced by BBC and aired on television in many places globally (though not in India) on International Women’s Day (March 8) 2015; this film took a very ‘white saviour’ approach to the case and its very public response. I saw it the day it aired and was sad, but not surprised, to see that the film reinforced the idea that brown women must be saved from brown men.

Photo Source: YouTube / India’s Daughter

Then, there was Deepa Mehta’s 2016 film, “Anatomy of Violence.” This film had potential, since it aimed to address the very root cause of the incident, and since it was directed by an Indo-Canadian woman who had a track record for taking up timely and sensitive subjects, mostly around violence against women. Yet this film, too, was deeply problematic. I went to a film screening followed by a Q&A with Mehta when it was released and came away feeling both absolutely triggered and utterly disappointed with her far too crass, far too experimental, and far too under-researched project. It was a work of speculative abstract docudrama at best.

When I heard the news about “Delhi Crime,” written and directed by Indo-Canadian filmmaker Richie Mehta — whose work I greatly admire — I was excited. I was curious. But in light of the previous two films and countless sensationalized news stories, I was, understandably, skeptical.

Truthfully, since the 2012 incident, I have felt like because suddenly the world was watching, suddenly India was concerned about sexual assault and violence against women, broadly speaking, and suddenly the people of India spoke out loudly about injustice. That’s not at all to say that this crime was not worthy of attention — of course it was. It does, however, make a point about whose lives are valued more than others, and how urban landscapes are concerned about their global reputation.

I wondered what would make “Delhi Crime” any different from previous attempts at unpacking what happened in 2012? Would this series romanticize or essentialize the issue as the previous films did? Would it forget that this incident was just one out of many horrific incidences that occur unreported and/or under-investigated every day?

Thoughts before watching “Delhi Crime”: Sundeep Hans

I almost want to say ditto and ditto! You’ve captured several of my thoughts, but I’ll expand because I, too, felt many feelings going into this viewing.

I was worried that they would sensationalize the story the way it was sensationalized by the Indian news media from the onset. The details were so horrific that nothing needed to be falsely amplified for us to feel repulsed by it all. The finger pointing I could understand, but the levels to which several journalists and channels stooped was nasty to watch.

I watched the documentary, “India’s Daughter,” and was disappointed with the direction they took. The interview with one of her rapists wasn’t necessary — why give him a platform at all?! We didn’t need to hear him to understand his views of women. Letting him speak, and letting his lawyer speak, were unnecessary bits of drama that left a bad taste in my mouth. It’s one of the reasons I didn’t want to watch the Deepa Mehta film.

The huge protests that made international news were awesome to behold. The “awakening of India” stories we were bombarded with did, initially at least, spark hope in me, but that spark died quickly! The problem of inequality in India wasn’t going to be fixed by protests alone.

Also, until we spoke, I hadn’t seen anything directed by Richie Mehta and I truly thought he was from Bollywood. I shuddered to think what a Bollywood guy would do with this story. I felt a bit better knowing he wasn’t coming from this context.

I went into “Delhi Crime” super apprehensive, but knowing that Shefali Shah had said yes to starring in the series, and that Netflix backed it, did help my willingness to give it a go.

Thoughts after watching “Delhi Crime”: Amrita Kumar-Ratta

Overall, “Delhi Crime” did not disappoint. I was quite pleasantly surprised at the realism and the sensitivity with which this project was undertaken. This has, in fact, been the first nuanced account of the horrific 2012 incident that I have seen and, minus minor hiccups, I’m calling it a successful retelling of a horrendous and previously much-overdramatized story. It is raw, emotion-heavy and filled with suspense.

The brilliance of this series is in its framing. It starts with a ‘regular’ relationship between DCP South Vartika Chaturvedi — wonderfully portrayed by Shefali Shah — and her 20-something daughter Chandni (Yashaswini Dayama) against the backdrop of the beautifully chaotic Delhi. It’s a city whose good and beauty Vartika is trying so hard to protect even if she doesn’t always believe in it, while her daughter Chandni can only see its darkness and instead wishes to move to Canada.

Photo Source: Screenshot / YouTube & Netflix

The premise of “Delhi Crime” is that Delhi, like most urban centres, is a contradiction of life and death, of love and corruption, of gajar halwa and apathy. It is neither good nor bad, but always straddles both. This contradiction is probably best shown by Neeti, expertly played by Rasika Dugal, a razor-sharp officer-in-training whose empathy cannot be rivaled. The contradiction is carried consistently through to the end, when Vartika celebrates the capturing of all suspects with ice cream and gets ready to go home to Chandni, only to find out that one of the suspects, Jai Singh, has committed suicide.

Such is the nature of Vartika’s work; she may overwhelmingly see the bad, but as her colleague notes, 99% of Delhi-ites are good. It seems that here, director Richie Mehta is reminding his audience not to essentialize an entire city or country based on one horrendous incident. Honestly, it’s about time we had this perspective.

Shefali Shah as DCP Vartika Chaturvedi [Photo Source: Screenshot / YouTube & Netflix]
This is a key theme throughout “Delhi Crime,” in fact. There are many elements which move beyond the idea of India as uniquely corrupt/unjust and remind us of our collective search for gender justice at a global level. Whether this crime had taken place in India or in Canada, for instance, we would still see an overwhelming focus on the investigation of a crime (e.g., the search for suspects, the push against media attention, the desire for victim statements, etc.) rather than on the wellbeing of the survivor of violence (or, in this case, the woman who fought until she died). “Delhi Crime” does a wonderful job of portraying a wider, borderless issue of injustice — particularly during the Me Too era — using the Nirbhaya case as a beautifully framed contextual device.

“Delhi Crime” is very much rooted in the ‘good cop’ narrative, and there are definitely moments where the plight of the male victim in the bus attack is sensationalized. Even so, there is enough of a balanced portrayal of the humanity of individual police officers coupled with the corruption of the law enforcement and political systems in India (e.g., the violence during inspection; the indifference of certain officers; the corruption of certain political candidates) which allows the show to retain its nuance overall.

Rasika Dugal as Neeti. Photo Source: Screenshot / YouTube & Netflix

“Delhi Crime” gets the thumbs up from me. It’s not for the faint of heart, nor is it the kind of show you want to watch before you sleep. However, it’s sincere and it captures the complexity of sexual assault and violence against women in urban India; not to mention it leaves its audience, no matter where they are located, with some important things to think about – regarding representation, (in)justice, empathy, and solidarity. As an Indo-Canadian artist-scholar-activist, I’m feeling pretty darn proud right now.

Thoughts after watching “Delhi Crime”: Sundeep Hans

As you’ve said, it wasn’t the easiest of watches, but I’m glad I watched. “Delhi Crime” isn’t something you can binge. The story is real, the horror was real, and it feels like a punch in the gut that lingers, without the sensationalism I was afraid would be added.

Again we agree, “Delhi Crime” is a bit too cop-centric, but I actually enjoyed this aspect of the series. Getting to see the nitty-gritty and sometimes down and dirty business of the investigation was interesting. Seeing the policies and protocols of the Delhi police in this story was more helpful to my understanding of the differences between the systems of East and West, and was definitely more helpful than of all of those cop-centric, dishoom-dishoom Bollywood films!

Photo Source: Screenshot / YouTube & Netflix

For example, how the team has to sneak in all of the accused through the back entrance by jumping a fence while holding hands because none of them were handcuffed was a “wow” moment for me. The lights going out in the entire police station while the investigation was underway because of the lack of operational budget was another such doozy.

Seeing this side of the police system—the sheer underfunding, lack of a unionized system (no paid overtime, yet tons of overtime anyway!), and still getting the job done as a team without much in the way of accolades—was fascinating.

Shefali Shah truly is something else. I believed everything she was showing me, she was incredible. The whole cast was very good. Another standout was Rasika Duggal; her eyes and the sheer exhaustion coupled with profound empathy that she was able to convey was gut-wrenching.

Mehta’s direction and his approach to this story were well done. This was a solid watch and I would recommend this across the board.

[Read Related: Poem: Remembering Nirbhaya – Nirbhau Nirvair (Without Fear, Rancor)]

Summary: Both Amrita and Sundeep went in skeptical — and cynical — and came out absolutely impressed. “Delhi Crime” is definitely one to watch, bearing in mind the trigger warning, which should be taken seriously.

By Brown Girl Magazine

Brown Girl Magazine was created by and for South Asian womxn who believe in the power of storytelling as a … Read more ›

How ‘RRR’ Changed the American Perception of the Indian Film Industry

As a South Indian American, I am aware of how non-brown Americans view the Indian film industry. One word: Bollywood. Bollywood and the South Indian film industry has always been lumped into the same category as Bollywood, despite the diversity. For Indians, South India is obviously different from North India, but non-brown people assume it would all be the same. This extends beyond Indian cinema; feeding into assumptions regarding other aspects of culture like language, food, and so on. People tend to assume all Indians speak Hindi or eat tikka masala at home rather than trying to understand the diversity of Indian culture. With time, especially with the help of social media, there was more accessibility to understanding the differences among these cultures, yet nothing truly spread across the globe. Then came “RRR.”

[Read Related: On the Road to the Oscars: M.M. Keeravani and Chandrabose’s ‘Naatu Naatu’ Redefines the World’s View of Indian Music]

RRR” is a Telugu film from Tollywood. This South Indian film has become a worldwide sensation with its incredible visual effects, captivating plot, and catchy music. I was blown away by the reception this film got in the United States, especially from American film critics who were all praise. What impressed me the most was how more Americans clarified it was not a Bollywood film, and differentiated it as a Tollywood film. The number of people taking the time to learn the difference between Tollywood and Bollywood might seem simple, yet meaningful, nonetheless. South Indian films are incredibly underrated and are finally getting the attention they deserved. It is incredible to see the celebration surrounding the film and what it represents and means to this community and how we get to share it with the world. The hype was real, and then the awards season began.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by RRR Movie (@rrrmovie)

The Golden Globes top the list of some of the major awards for television and film and it was amazing to hear that “RRR” had been nominated in two categories for this award. Funnily enough in my own world, it aired on my birthday. Then came the moment when Jenna Ortega said “Naatu Naatu, RRR” and the song played as M.M. Keeravani approached the stage to accept his award. This song became the first Asian, not only Indian, song to win the Golden Globe for Best Original Song. The 80th Golden Globes saw many wins for the Asian community with films like “Everything Everywhere All At Once” and “RRR.” There is something beautiful about being South Indian in America and watching a South Indian song win an award in America on one’s birthday. There is a joy in getting to tell my friends, both brown and non-brown, about it and share the song, “Naatu Naatu,” with them. Sure it is Indian, but it is just a bit closer to home, and that closeness stands with a beautiful meaning. When it came to the Critics’ Choice Awards, it was touching to hear about how S.S. Rajamouli grew up with the encouragement of creativity and storytelling. It honestly inspired me to continue my own projects; I hope to see them prosper as well. 

[Read Related: Sri Rao and the Future of South Asian Diasporic Cinema]

After the win at the Golden Globes, the Oscars became highly anticipated for the Indian community, especially when the nominations for Best Original Song were announced. Of course, when the familiar title appeared once again, a victory felt within grasp. “Naatu Naatu” had a couple of big moments at the Academy Awards ceremony: the performance and the win itself. The performance was introduced by the absolutely phenomenal actress, Deepika Padukone, who, too, is s South Indian. Her introduction of the song brought forward the context in which the tune takes place, that is during 1920 under the British colonization of India. She reminded all of us of how significant the song was along with its catchy beat. When it came to the announcement of who won Best Original Song, it was a first-of-its-kind victory given that it was the first time an Indian film won in this category. The speech made by M. M. Keeravani was beautiful as he sang to the tune of “Top of the World” with his own lyrics to take in the moment. It was certainly an extremely proud day to be Indian anywhere in the world, and especially to be a South Indian.

Seeing non-brown folks acknowledging the diversity of Indian culture has been beautiful to witness. The cultural pride of saying an Indian film, specifically a South Indian film, won the Oscar, a Golden Globe for Best Original Song and two Critics’ Choice Awards so far is an absolute joy. Seeing South Indian representation, especially during the awards season, is inspiring for brown creatives. This has been a time of great cultural pride in the South Indian community, and as a South Indian creative myself, I am honored to see it.

Photo Courtesy: Netflix

The opinions expressed by the writer of this piece, and those providing comments thereon (collectively, the “Writers”), are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Brown Girl Magazine, Inc., or any of its employees, directors, officers, affiliates, or assigns (collectively, “BGM”). BGM is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Writers. It is not the intention of Brown Girl Magazine to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. If you have a complaint about this content, please email us at Staff@browngirlmagazine.com. This post is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. If you’d like to submit a guest post, please follow the guidelines we’ve set forth here.
Avatar photo
By S. Kavi

S. Kavi is a South Indian American writer, poet, and artist. Her work involves the exploration of South Indian culture, … Read more ›

Anita Verma-Lallian Talks Camelback Productions and the Need for Greater South Asian Representation

Camelback Productions

Award-winning commercial real estate and land consultant in Arizona, Anita Verma-Lallian, is venturing into the world of entertainment with her newfound production house, Camelback Productions, making her the first South Asian female in the state to do so. Verma-Lallian is a woman used to paving her own way, and now she’s committed to doing it for future generations.

[Read Related: Anita Verma-Lallian Launches Arizona’s First South Asian-owned Film Production and Entertainment Company ]

Through her production company, she aims to contribute towards greater South Asian representation in mainstream media with a focus on storytelling that’s relevant to the community. In a conversation with Brown Girl Magazine, the real estate maven spoke about what inspired her to shift from investing in land to investing in creative dreams.

Tell us more about Camelback Productions and what your hopes are for the company?

The intention is to help communities that are not being represented in the media. As you know, there are a lot more streamers looking for content so that presents an interesting opportunity for people to tell stories that are otherwise not being told.

For us it’s important to tell these stories that aren’t being told, and tell them in the way that we want them to be told. With South Asians, for instance, the roles typically given are stereotypical. There are only four or five roles we are playing repeatedly. I want to show the South Asian community and culture in a different way. 

You come from a business and investor background. I am curious to know what catapulted your interest towards establishing a production company?

Good question. There were a few things that inspired my interest. I was looking to diversify the different opportunities we offered our investors. We’ve done a lot of real estate, so we were overall looking for different investment opportunities.  And then, at the time when I started exploring this, the real estate market was in this wait-and-see for many people. 

Everyone was sitting on the sidelines waiting to see what happens next. There was a slowdown at the end of 2022 which is when I started looking into this more. Film seemed like it was kind of recession-proof and not really tied to what’s happening in the economy, which I thought was refreshing and exciting.

Also, overall, I observed what was happening in the industry with there being a push to see more South Asians in the media. The timing felt right, and I think we’re moving in the right direction.

What kind of content are you looking to create?

Good stories and good quality scripts. We are looking at all types of content — movies, docu-series, comedy shows, and reality shows. We’re open to anything that has a good message. 

On a personal level, what hits home for you with this production company?

Growing up I always loved film and TV. We watched a lot of Bollywood movies because that’s what we related to and I always loved that. But I did feel there wasn’t a lot of representation of people that looked like me. Being able to change that — especially after having kids, and a daughter who wants to go into film — is important for. It’s a contribution for future generations. It’s important to me that as they grow up, they see people that look just like them.  

Is there a significance to the name Camelback?

Yes! Camelback Mountain is a very iconic mountain in Phoenix. It’s one of the most famous hikes we have here and a relatively challenging one.

The significance is being able to overcome challenges and barriers. I have a nice view of Camelback Mountain and it’s something I look at every day, when I’m stressed and overwhelmed. It has a very calming and grounding presence.

To me the mountains signify being grounded and not being able to be moved by external factors. That’s what I want this production company to be!

What would you advise people interested in entering the entertainment industry?

The best advice I would give someone is to align yourself with people that you know are experts in the industry; that have a good track record. Learn from as many people as you can. I learn as much as I can, talk to as many people as I can, and I study different things to understand what was and wasn’t successful.

Photo Credit: Claudia Johnstone

By Rasha Goel

Rasha Goel is a 2X Emmy-nominated television host/producer and international correspondent. Her talent has led to opportunities such as giving … Read more ›

‘BollyWed’: Toronto’s First-Ever South Asian Bridal Series is Here!

For the Singh family, Chandan Fashion has always been bigger than simply a bridal showroom. Located in the heart of Gerrard Street, a bustling Little India in Toronto, the bright blue and pink building can be spotted from a distance. Over the years, Chandan has garnered attention from customers from all over North America, even as far as California and Virginia.

For Chandan and Roop, who work alongside “Mom and Dad,” Chandan Fashion is a family business and a way to showcase the beauty of South Asian culture while playing a helping hand in allowing every bride and groom to feel special on their big day. Chandan is their legacy and one they hope to be able to showcase the beauty and intricacies of throwing that “big Indian wedding” on their new CBC show, “BollyWed.”

“BollyWed” follows this tight-knit family through the joys and difficulties of running a multigenerational business. Throughout the variety of clients, discussions of new generation business practices versus old generation, many lehengas, and plenty of laughs, this is one whirlwind journey through the marriage industry.

Brown Girl had the opportunity to interview Chandan and Roop Singh, who were incredibly down-to-earth and a joy to speak to. Here is the interview down below!

What was the inspiration for opening Chandan?

Chandan: My mom and dad started the vision back in 1984 — they started the business. I have a store in India that was started by my grandfather which my father worked in as well, so it is kind of multi-generational of being within this industry of clothing and fashion. My father had a dream of starting what his father did in India, in Canada. While visiting friends in Toronto, my father knew that the Gerrard Indian Bazaar was the right place for them to start, it was the largest Indian market in the Northern America area. He rented a space for two years a couple of doors down from where Chandan originated and then in 1986 we had the opportunity to purchase the corner unit and grow it from one floor to two, to now a four-floor showroom.

Roop: And it should be noted that 1986 is also the year that Chandan was born, hence the name of the store. Chandan Fashion.

Many cities have their own versions of Little India. What was it like growing up/operating in Gerrard Street East? What do you think makes Gerrard Street unique?

Roop: It is funny you say that because even now when we have people traveling to Toronto, checking out Gerrard Street is on their itinerary. So we get a lot of clientele that are visiting from out of town whether it be visiting for the day or weekend. Some of them will sometimes get a hotel nearby for about a week and do their entire wedding family shopping with us.

Chandan has literally grown up in Gerrard Street, but I grew up in Toronto as well. I spent a good chunk of my own childhood in Little India on Gerrard Street. Growing up in the 90s, it was the only Indian bazaar in the greater Toronto area, so anyone who wanted to meet members of their community, have really good South Asian food, shop for upcoming events, or celebrate Diwali or Holi, this is where [they’d] go. This is where my mom would take me on the weekends and I remember popping into Chandan Fashion when my mom needed an outfit. In that way, our childhoods are connected over Little India and I feel like a lot of first-generation kids will sympathize with me, when we wanted to feel a little bit at home, that is where we would go.

How did you get the “BollyWed” opportunity on CBC? What is it like working with your family? What roles do you all play in the business? How do we get to see this in the show?

Roop: It has been quite a journey. It wasn’t necessarily such a drastic transition because already the family was very close-knit in the sense that they are working day in and day out. We do our social media together and our buying together, go to fashion shows. So naturally things we were already doing as a family were just translated to the TV. That is what I love the most about the show, it is just an authentic following of what we do on a daily basis as a family and as a business. It has been a great experience and something that we are super grateful for. It was actually seven years in the making and I’ll let Chandan tell you how “BollyWed” came to be.

Chandan: It started out in 2014. I was at a wedding show and I was approached by the executive producer, Prajeeth and we shot a shizzle. He had an idea of a wedding show with a family narrative and I had been watching ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ extensively. I knew that there was this really interesting market and this fascination with South Asian outfits and bridalwear given that it was so colorful and the beadwork was so ornate. There was a lot more interesting subject matter, especially if we tie that into a seven-day-long wedding and you tie that into multiple events and families. That is more prevalent in South Asian culture: what the mother-in-law thinks, what the mother thinks. But five to six years went by and we got 22 rejections over that period by almost every network imaginable. I was always excited that we were getting rejected because I knew that eventually, we would get a yes. Eventually at the end of 2021, around the end of the COVID era, the production company reached out asking if we were still interested in the show. I said it was never a question of ‘if,’ it was a question of ‘when.’ From the get-go, I knew that this show would be picked up, I knew it would be a success. In March 2022 we got greenlit. We had this amazing journey of seven months of continuous filming. It has been an amazing journey to be able to represent South Asians on television in a way that has not been done before. I like lighthearted programming and I am glad that we were able to influence the show because of our lives and make it a lighthearted family show that people can watch. But we still get to have important discussions.

Roop: I love that Chandan mentioned this. We get to showcase a lot of pivotal subjects in today’s society. For example, we made sure that inclusivity was showcased across all 10 episodes and that is something that I give credit to our directors and producers, they did a wonderful job showcasing how inclusive not just us as a business, but as a brand and as a family we are. These are values that have been instilled in us, that when somebody crosses your threshold and comes into your store, it doesn’t matter what their background is, their color, or their orientation, that is irrelevant. It is something that we don’t factor in, we just consider that this is the patron, the client. There is no judgment — not in our store, not in our family. And I love that we were able to share that on a big screen for everyone to see. That was one reason why it was so important to do this, but the other reason has a lot to do with Chandan and his childhood.

Chandan: So for me, I was born and raised in Toronto. I went to a very small school where I was the only South Asian for a long time in that school. I was the only Punjabi kid, the only kid with a turban, and eventually the only one with a beard, so I noticeably stood out compared to all my peers. My father with his best intentions sent me to a really small school, a private school, that he could not afford to pay for. Where at times the check would bounce every month, but he had a very strong belief that if he provided me a quality education [so] I would keep something really dear to him —keeping the belief in religion — I wouldn’t cut my hair, I wouldn’t cut my beard, I wouldn’t conform to society. He wanted to give me the best chance to succeed as is, [but] the unfortunate truth was I was bullied, I was picked on. I wouldn’t tell him, but people would grab my jurra, my turban, and my hair. And as a kid I would just let it go because you do not want to go home and tattle to your parents, but also because I knew how sensitive of a topic it was to my dad. And I think that my experience would have been different if people didn’t ask me every month, ‘How long is your hair? What do you keep under that?’ All these questions made me feel really uncomfortable, but the other kids also asked because they had never seen anyone like me. If I had grown up with a show like this, I would not have felt so alone, such a strong desire to belong. This is one of the reasons I really believed in the show, I really wanted to have representation. Even if there is just one other kid who watches this show and grows up in a suburb where there aren’t many South Asian kids; if he is able to turn the TV on and see my dad with such a thick accent — English isn’t his first language — but he still owns it so confidently. Or they see a guy like me with a turban and a beard and see that frankly he still has such a hot wife.

Roop: But beyond that, this gentleman with a turban and thick accent, they are such normal people. They love takeout, they like to play tennis, and they could be your neighbor. Other than their outward appearance, they are very much like you, very similar.

Your support in styling Priyanka for their drag performance was inspiring and refreshing to see. How do you change your styles/designs to foster inclusivity?

Roop: I think that goes back to what I was saying about how Mom and Dad have fostered this universal approach to our clientele. We do not look beyond their needs. I think it is also important to note that some people had thought that we had Priyanka come onto the show to make it more interesting, but their relationship with the store spans over the past five to seven years.

Chandan: Twenty years. Priyanka and their family have been shopping at the store for the past 20 years since they were kids. When Priyanka started exploring the world of drag, they came and said they needed a costume that they would be designing. It also wasn’t even any of my peers or me that made that connection with Priyanka, it was actually my dad, the older generation. He said, ‘Don’t worry beta.’ He actually corrected himself and said, ‘Beti, we will be there for you.’ And he got them a really nice sari and lehenga which they converted into a costume that won the first season.

Roop: And Priyanka put their own spin on it and created something amazing. Only because we were the designers of those pieces could we tell that that is a piece from our lehenga. They did such a fabulous job with it.

Chandan: I think we sometimes think of the older generation, like our parents, as being more conservative, but I think that it is a one-sided narrative. Not all of the older generation is as conservative as we think. And my dad just took it as a paying customer is a paying customer. It doesn’t matter what their orientation or beliefs are, and that just naturally unfolded into the story that we are sharing. He did not treat it as a big deal.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by priyanka (@thequeenpriyanka)

For our readers currently planning their weddings, do you have any pieces of advice on how to balance all the heavy details of wedding planning without losing sight of why they are doing it for?

Roop: One thing for the bride and groom is not to lose sight of themselves in all of this. I’ve been there and done that. You plan this extravagant seven-day affair, you have all these people flying out to your wedding, and you feel this really heavy responsibility to make sure that all these guests are taking time out of their lives to celebrate your union. And like myself — and I am guilty of this, which is why I want to tell my fellow brides — [you] tend to make it less about [yourself] and more about everyone else who is attending. And yes, of course, everyone is important and I owe them respect for joining us. But remember what you want in the heart of heart, if you want a small wedding, go for a small wedding. If you want a big wedding, go for a big wedding. If you want the seven-tiered cake, go for it, if you just want cupcakes, go for that. At the end of the day don’t forget what makes you happy. Don’t lose sight of it, just be authentic to yourself.

Chandan: Oftentimes in the wedding industry, people are really looked down upon. Like, ‘Oh my gosh, you are spending so much for this wedding!’ Or, ‘You are obsessing over these details!’ If it is important to you, it is okay. I would not let judgment get in the way of doing what you want whether it be a small intimate 20-person wedding or a having a 1000-person wedding. This is your moment. The biggest thing I hear is, ‘Oh, it is only for an hour.’ But, if you have a photographer, nothing is for an hour. It is for a lifetime. Those moments last a lifetime. If it is something that you hold near and dear to you, you will cherish it. I wish people would stay true to themselves.

Roop: Yeah, agreed. Be mindful of what sparks joy in you and let that be your compass. The most important piece of advice though: At every function please request that your caterer create a to-go container of the meal at the event for you and your partner to enjoy after because often, and it is so sad to hear this, the bride and groom will eat last at their own event or not at all. And you spend all these months planning [an] extravagant menu and then you don’t even get to eat your own wedding cake. Hah! That happened to us!

Do you have any future plans that you feel excited about sharing with Chandan?

Chandan: Yeah! I would say concrete plans are in the pipeline. In the first episode of ‘BollyWed’ [you] see that we come to the realization that there is just not enough space and we would love to expand into another space.

Roop: And this is where you get a lot of the new generation, old generation beliefs. Because mom and dad believe that the family should stay very close-knit and together to run the one location. And Chandan has the belief that [the] true success of a business is when it is scalable, and has multiple locations nationally, globally even. In Episode 10 you get a conclusion, but we will let the readers watch it for themselves!

You can now watch the inaugural season of CBC’s “BollyWed” on CBC TV every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST or stream it for free on CBC Gem! And that’s not all from the Chandan Fashion team! They’ll soon be featured in an Instagram LIVE chat with Brown Girl Magazine, so stay tuned!

By Vashali Jain

Vashali Jain is a medical student at Virginia Commonwealth University. In her spare time, she likes to experiment in the … Read more ›