It is baffling why so much brouhaha was made over Prince Harry’s marriage to Meghan Markle in India. More baffling was the fuss over Priyanka Chopra’s presence at the wedding and the discussion around her outfit at the wedding. Though I was fascinated by her fascinator, it didn’t seem to do that much for India’s post-Colonial relationship with the British royalty. While we focused on trivia at the Royal Wedding, the real lessons for Bollywood couples were served by the spirit of radical change, progress , sheer pragmatism and common sense Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have brought to the foreground through their marriage. Through their marriage, this couple manifests the ultimate liberal union of two individuals, their backgrounds, lineage, race and ethnicity notwithstanding.
As a British White Royal Male and an American actress of mixed race, the couple knows its responsibilities as a celebrity team and intends to work vigorously into being setting an example for youngsters of every race and country. Team work, says the couple, is the guiding factor in their marriage. They’ve revealed how they share a mutual passion for change. What example do Bollywood’s celebrity marriages set for anyone, even for themselves? There are couples in Bollywood who have married across the communal divide (Kareena-Saif, Shah Rukh-Gauri), those who have defied the age-convention (Arjun-Mehr, Abhishek-Aishwarya and now Angad-Neha). In a country crippled by orthodoxy and convention, have they ever thought they could be role models for breaking taboo alliances?
Here is why the Harry-Meghan marriage stands a better chance of working than routine celebrity alliances. Harry knew nothing about Meghan’s work and Meghan was not directly impressed by Harry’s royal antecedents when they met. The process of discovering each other’s background and family details happened as they fell in love. Celebrity marriages often fail because they come with too much baggage. Once the couple leaves their past at the dating door, the courtship starts on a clean slate.
Once love happened, Meghan made sure the Royal Family accepted her. She worked on honing her relationship with Prince Harry’s grandmother and the rest of his family. Meghan now gets a royal welcome into her husband’s home. She worked on it, though not in any obvious way.
There is a lesson here too for Bollywood: when in love, always win the family’s confidence and trust. Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif could never impress Ranbir Kapoor’s mother. But Mrs Neetu Kapoor is already clicking selfies with Alia Bhatt.
Lastly, the way Prince Harry and his ladylove handled the paparazzi and the issue of privacy in their super-celebrity liaison shows how simple it is to avoid being accosted in public. Simply stay home. That’s what Harry and Meghan did during their courtship. Instead of constantly cribbing about a lack of privacy, they built an environment of privacy around their togetherness by following a very simple ground rule: don’t go out for dinner. Stay home. Order a pizza. Watch The Crown together. Don’t insist on going to very public places only to crib about being chased for pictures.
If you don’t like attention, don’t seek it. Simple. I think Harry and Meghan have showed future generations of celebrity the path to a successful alliance. Follow their dreams. Not the clothes and hats that they wear.