The Big Day isn’t intended to be representative of the majority of Indian weddings, which is just as well – it’s about opulence and extravagance above all, which should please those who like grand gestures with their romance, but perhaps not anyone else.
It’s Valentine’s Day, in case you haven’t noticed. Luckily Netflix is on the ball with their themed releases, and the romantically-inclined docuseries The Big Day should suffice for anyone in the mood – provided they’re in the mood for seeing the kind of weddings they’ll probably never have.
Yes, like that fairly recent reality show about Bollywood wives, Netflix is once again pushing the idea of the Indian subcontinent as some hive of opulence and extravagance, despite the fact that two-thirds of Indian people live in poverty. That’s a fact that should never be far from one’s mind while watching the three episodes – the first of a planned two “collections” – that were released today. If you’re able to put aside the grim reality there’s plenty here to enjoy on a level as superficial as a lot of the weddings that are depicted, but if we’re being frank, the target audience for this kind of thing is probably pretty narrow.
There are two couples in each of the three episodes, but the pacing and structure are such that it’s hard to care about them. The stories of these relationships aren’t necessarily the most interesting, either, touching on predictable themes and ideas for the most part; some couples bicker, some are demanding, some are deeply rooted in India and some are only returning to wed there after a lifetime spent elsewhere, and so on, and so forth. The only really interesting pairing is a same-sex couple in the third episode, but it seems like too little too late for anyone who goes into The Big Day expecting genuine human-interest stories.
Instead, the order of the day is showing off, really, with a go-big-or-go-home feeling to the production that shoves aside the couples to better focus on the grand gestures that ostensibly symbolize their love. But without seeing or feeling that love, it’s hard to buy in; I’m not exactly keen to see gratuitous displays of wealth at the best of times, let alone in the middle of February, but The Big Day offers nothing but that in its purest form. There’s an interesting-ish idea here, but the series has little interest in doing much with it.