Wedding Movie? Or recording a sacred ceremony?

When it comes to Anand Karaj, photographers and videographers are not there to make a movie but record the occasion. There is a huge difference, argues DYA SINGH

ONE FOR THE ALBUM: A photo capturing Anand Karaj of Bhagwan Singh Virik and Rarminder Kaur on 21 Aug 1966 – Source: Major (Rtd) Bhagwant Singh Virik.
By Dya Singh | OPINION | 

Being the son of a Granthi Sahib and almost born and definitely brought up in a gurdwara, I have witnessed, participated, conducted and remembered Anand Karaj since I was about 8. I am now 69. Many things have changed about Anand Karaj, let me assure you!

The one ‘growth’ industry besides others is the making of a wedding movie of the entire affair with Hindi songs thrown in and the young ones sometimes even recorded running around trees miming Hindi songs or setting off into the sunset on a motorbike and so on.

I have nothing against that. One wishes to remember how it was, as time goes by.

The one grouse, a big complaint, I will say, I do have is how we allow a team of photographers almost dictate a sacred Anand Karaj so that they can get the best angles! They are everywhere – in front of the couple, standing in front of the sangat, in the parkarmea, backs to Guru Sahib and of greatest irritation for me especially when I am conducting the sacred ceremony, coming between my line of sight of the couple especially as they come around the Guru Granth Sahib so that I can attempt to complete singing the ‘lav’ when their round is completed, or when I am addressing the couple. I once saw a photographer almost sit in the bride’s lap trying to take a photograph of her face under the veil!

My greater amazement is that learned Sikhs, who might otherwise be very careful that ‘maryada’ is followed, even making a fuss, if some brothers and cousins of the bride decide to stand around the back of the Guru Sahib, to help her along, are oblivious to the nuisance of these photographers. Why? For the sake of a good wedding movie?

To add insult to injury, they are normally quite badly dressed. Certainly not well dressed, to complement a wedding! Hard Rock Café T-shirts, tattered jeans – I have seen it all. I have seen horrible rear views of low jeans as some photographer bends down to try to catch a picture of the bride under her veil.

I accept that many will think that a good ‘wedding movie’ (I will not even degrade it by calling it a video or cd) is the ‘in’ thing and perhaps is better than still photography, I will still say that where the Anand Karaj part of the ‘wedding’ is concerned, one should insist that the camera crew is there to ‘record a sacred ceremony’. They are not there to make a movie of the ceremony but record the occasion. There is a huge difference. And there should be an insistence that they should be well dressed at least in long sleeves shirts and proper trousers, as befitting the sangat and the Guru Ji, and most important be as immobile and discreet as possible when the ceremony takes place.

I was at a very good friend’s son’s Anand Karaj in Kuala Lumpur recently. Many former and current Sikh Naujawan Sabha Maaysia (SNSM) members, jathedars and committee members were present. It was a very moving Anand Karaj, as it should be, with Malaysia’s “best” on stage to conduct the ceremony which they did most efficiently. It was a joy especially for me to witness it all, EXCEPT the intrusive over-presence of the camera crew. I even recorded on my I-phone one cameraman who was dawdling about on the runway to Guru Ji, getting in the way of those who were coming forward to metha-tek. The fact is he did whatever he liked and was allowed to. There were 3 camera crew recording every step of the couple and running in front and back of them!

I talked to a number of Sabha gentlemen and the general response was, “Ya-aan! You are right-lah.” Perhaps that is where it will end. But I have got it off my chest!

Malaysian-born Dya Singh, who now resides in Australia, is an accomplished musician and a roving Sikh preacher. The Dya Singh World Music Group performs full scale concerts on ‘music for the soul’ based on North Indian classical and semi-classical styles of music with hymns from mainly the Sikh, Hindu and Sufi ‘faiths’. He is also the author of SIKH-ING: Success and Happiness. He can be contacted at

* This is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.



Dya Singh revisits Kerala ayurveda journey (Asia Samachar, 26 May 2019)

Postcards from the Road: Delhi for Dastarbandhi (Asia Samachar, 18 Feb 2019)


ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Southeast Asia and beyond. Facebook | WhatsApp +6017-335-1399 | Email: | Twitter | Instagram | Obituary announcements, click here |


  1. Day Singh has aptly shared his observations and frustration on this circus clowns during weddings at Gurdwaras. These clowns rule the day, they run in front, back, here and there as though a competition is taking place. Even during ardass they are running, rolling, out doing each other and all in the view of the coward committee who are more worried of their Gurdwara not getting the chanda (donation) they badly need and compromising on decorum and sanctity in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib . Non Sikh video photographers bring along cigrattes inside their pant pockets, etc. Many Christian churches have a do donts guideline, this is made clear to the families concerned in advance to reign in these clowns or take the risk of cancellation. Those who carry a Bible under their arm pit vs ours on the head are more strict but our Jathebandis are cowering shamefully.
    Committees must not take the silence of the sangat for granted, we have seen enough of this beadbi taking place. This people are making money at the expense of Sikh Maryada, they don’t give 2 hoots to respect , if committees cannot reign in these clowns, they shud be removed . A set of guidelines be introduced so that it becomes a bench mark.
    Video and pics , after the 3rd round, no one views, they are later stored in cold storage bcoz the make up of the bride has now wrinkled and the belly of the groom has bloated. No harm in capturing memories without the drama but not at the expense of the sanctity of Guru Granth Sahib. Gurdwara is not a studio, it is a place of worship, many present may not be your wedding guest, they come to listen to path and kirtan and not your enticement of catered good food which is NOT GURU KA LANGGAR. Please stop this circus, sangat has been patient enough, don’t blame the Lone Wolf who will not hesitate to stand up and shout at these clowns if the sanctity is compromised, save the embarrassment before it is too late.

    HELLO, ANY PARBANDAK LISTENING, hello, hello, ello ello

  2. I witnessed a Sikh wedding recently where the groom and his baraties accompanied by louf filmi music danced their way upto the milni time.also both bride and groom were smiling at each other and sometimes holding hands during phere. No one said a word.