Co-actor Shaheer Sheikh underlines how they are not here to change any tradition, but their single is all about setting the message that a girl, too, can be in control.
By Mayur Lookhar
The failure of Laal Singh Chaddha  was a blow to Aamir Khan. The actor though later courted controversy over a TV commercial that saw him play a groom who goes against the tradition and decides to move into his bride’s house after marriage. The right-wing trolls were out with their knives again. Though bizarre, but the controversy reminded us how sensitive certain people have become on matters of faith and tradition.
Young Zahrah S. Khan is a bubbly soul. The singer, budding actor drew one’s curiosity in her single Main Tenu Chadh Jaungi where she was pictured as a bride coming to her wedding on a horse. While the image was promoted as breaking the tradition, but who is to rule out any adverse reaction from the self-proclaimed custodians of tradition.
One may question certain tradition, and decide to go against ancient set norm, but perhaps it is important to first look into the reasons behind the tradition rather than judge it with modern day sensibilities or view it through the prism of any (woke) feminism. Music composer Tanishk Bagchi called the ‘bride on a horse’ idea as Zahrah’s creation.
What was the idea behind the singer, actor deciding to have the bride to arrive on a horse on her wedding day?
“It could also have been the groom and the bride both coming on a mare. Look, at the end of the day you are celebrating love. That’s the reason people get married in today’s age. When you decide to get married it is your celebration of love. You are celebrating with everybody around you. You have the right to celebrate the way you want to. Otherwise, what is marriage?” quipped Khan.
Yesteryear actor, singer and Khan’s mother Salma Agha opined, “This song is a message as a woman activist. Women, too, can dance on their weddings. They should be given equal freedom. It is a very good message.”
Shaheer Sheikh, Khan’s co-actor in the single, reminded all that their song is not about changing any tradition.
“More than changing tradition, we just wanted to give the message that a girl, too, can be in control. It is not so much about riding the horse. It is what she represents,” said Sheikh.
Composer Tanishk Bagchi explained how the song was always conceived from the girl’s point of view.
“This thought [bride on a horse] was Zahra’s. However, while writing, I thought of making a wedding song on a girl rather than a boy. This is her [Zahrah] single. So, I had to write differently. The song is written through a girl’s perspective. The girl is getting married, but she has her own life. It is not that after marriage, she has to evolve [adapt to the culture in her husband’s house]. My song [simply] depicts her,” Bagchi explained.
Khan’s bride on a horse idea also helped us to look into the possible reason behind the tradition. As per Hindu tradition, a groom arrives on a mare to marry and take his bride. A mare is used instead of horse because mare is considered to be more (chanchal) childish than the horse. Riding a mare symbolizes that the man has gained command over his childish behavior and he is ready to take responsibilities.
As often, mythology plays it part too. In Mahabharat, Vidura, the prime minister of the Kuru Kingdom, compared a man’s body to a horse.
Vidura told king Dhritarashtra, “Oh king, a man’s body is just like a ratha (chariot), intelligence (buddhi) like a charioteer (saarathi) and senses are its horses. One who controls all these three, travels happily in this world, just like the charioteer who has controlled the horses of the chariot.”
Clearly many rituals across different faiths all have deep roots in their respective culture. It would be wrong to view Zahrah’s bride riding a horse as questioning any tradition. It would also be wrong to attribute any modern-day feminism behind the creativity.
All said and done, one must simply enjoy the song for the free-spirited soul of Zahrah’s character. Watch the single below.