In recent times, one of the most closely-followed events are Bollywood weddings – with family, friends and fans following every moment of the beautiful functions. Every aspect of these are dissected, from the decor to the clothes. They can be absolutely enchanting affairs with tradition meeting opulence in venues, outfits and themed décor, or intimate ceremonies where not much gets out. And it’s only a select few that get to document this first hand and present it to the rest of the world.
Sidhharth Sharma is one of them. House on the Clouds, his wedding photography and film-making company, has captured the most weddings of celebrity couples from Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor to Siddharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani, designers Arpita Mehta and Kunal Rawal, Alanna Panday and Ivor McCray, and recently, Parineeti Chopra and Raghav Chadha’s nuptials. His photography has been praised for bringing out their candid yet magical charm. In a chat, Siddharth, who’s an engineer by profession, shares with LuxeBook how he manages to bring sentiments and emotions into his photography and how the Big Fat Indian Wedding has evolved.
Parineeti-Raghav’s recent wedding blew everyone away for its beauty and quiet luxury tones. What was the brief that the couple shared with you for it?
The initial brief was very simple – to keep it real. The couple’s desire was to have us capture their authentic selves, emphasising the significance of genuine moments. They wanted us to capture their worlds coming together. Parineeti, in particular, had specific requests for certain shots, each envisioned with great precision. For instance, she was hoping for a window of opportunity when she could watch the baraat procession from a nook or her entry, which was of special significance. We were thrilled to be part of their warmth and love.
Like in Parineeti-Raghav’s and Ranbir-Alia’s weddings, the photography seemed to be a symphony of refined aesthetics. How do you achieve that?
The photograph should reflect the aesthetics of the wedding. If it’s very modern then the lighting style changes to reflect that. If it’s centred around pastels, the lenses we use change and how far we stand also changes. It’s crucial that the lighting is good. While Parineeti’s wedding was outdoors, Alia’s function was indoors so we had to ensure it was done as per taste.
Alanna’s Panday’s wedding was like a picture-perfect one. She wanted great pictures of her and Ivor (McCray) and she was so involved in the whole process. And here we could control it all to the T, even in terms of the point from where she should be walking. So, I think the beauty also comes in from the couple and their vision, outfit choices, and we come in and justify their vision. Undoubtedly, bringing such innovative projects to life calls for a cohesive team of accomplished individuals with a common artistic vision. To get the outcome you see, it’s imperative for everyone involved to be on the same page and work together.
You’re the man who makes the biggest fairy-tale weddings in Bollywood come true. How do you whip up that magic?
As a group, all of us as a group are very visual people. The moments are there, what we try to bring in is our experience and learning, combined with the couple’s aesthetics. My team and I embrace the chaos and beauty of weddings with our artistic approach since we are aware of how significant these occasions are and the aspirations they stand for. I firmly believe that my continually evolving, innovative approach to wedding photography and videos sets House On The Clouds’ work apart from that of competitors. Our work has gone through refinement developed over time, which is also included in our technical ways.
How did House on the Clouds come about and why this name?
Quite by chance, actually! When I was in the US, I had this dream of opening my own rooftop café by this name in Bengaluru. Then in 2016, when we were trying to come up with an exciting name for our wedding photography and film business, House On The Clouds seemed the perfect fit. I see so many brands creating their names around weddings, but with my kind of photography and films, I was keen that it should have a modern name. It should make folks pause and think.
When you shoot a wedding video, how much prep goes with the couple and their closest friends to bring about a certain comfort showing genuine emotions?
Yes, when we shoot a wedding, we try to capture more than just the visual aspects; specifically, we want to capture the sentiments and emotions, particularly love. We take the time to have genuine conversations with the couple and their closest friends in order to accomplish this. We create an atmosphere where they may freely express their genuine selves in front of our cameras. The fascinating and authentic moments develop inside these sincere connections, producing the most exquisite and touching wedding videos.
When it came to Alia, Kiara and Parineeti’s weddings, the discussions revolved around genuineness. Each of them wanted the moments to be captured naturally.
House on the Clouds believes in shooting from the perspective of a close friend. Please elaborate on how that happens.
Indeed, that’s our approach. Building a strong relationship with our couples and their families is something we appreciate. The magic really starts to happen in these times of real interaction, which leads to some beautiful memories being captured. Our relationship with Parineeti and Raghav went well beyond photography. The images demonstrate the depth of our bond and the real-life situations we managed to capture. Each event was thoughtfully planned and exquisitely carried out, reflecting the couple’s vision and personality. We are incredibly happy and glad to have shared in their adventure, documenting their special moments with our camera.
All your weddings so far have been high-end and intimate. Do you have a smaller, scaled-down staff for certain functions?
Our portfolio encompasses weddings of various scales and sizes, ranging from intimate 8-people gatherings in cosy apartments to grand celebrations in the iconic Eiffel Tower, and everything in between. Our team currently consists of 19 dedicated individuals, including managers, editors, photographers, and cinematographers. Sometimes we shoot with even one person and sometimes it’s a whole team of 15 to 18 people and we are passionate about what we do.
You have done some of the most beautiful weddings in India and abroad. Please give us a peek into that.
We’ve been fortunate and honoured to have had the chance to photograph weddings around the world in places such as Monaco, Paris, quite a few in Italy from the Amalfi Coast to Tuscany and Lake Como as well as Budapest. Each of these presented different challenges and circumstances, but also have been absolutely amazing and wonderful. It’s difficult to single out favourites from among these unforgettable adventures because each has its own meaning and charm.
Couples spare no expense when it comes to their big day. What are some of the fanciest shoots you have done?
Shooting at famous locations like Paris’ Eiffel Tower made for a very fancy and memorable experience. We had the opportunity to capture a wedding in the glamorous Monte Carlo, adding to our list of upscale destinations we’ve worked in. We also did a wedding in Istanbul recently that was very grand. It was also different and refreshing as it had a unique venue, which was a cavern-like place and opulent, interesting décor as well as artistes performing.
As a company that believes in shooting wedding pictures and videos with an understated, classy look, do you think the ‘Big Fat Indian Wedding’ has definitely come a long way from its loud look and feel?
There has definitely been a clear change in the aesthetics of Indian weddings throughout the years. The traditional Big Fat Indian Wedding with its loud and colourful elements has evolved into a classier affair. Although light colours and pastels are currently popular, we have also played with other colours a lot in the past. Today, couples and their families are embracing a muted palette and a refined look-and-feel for their shaadi celebrations, as that is in trend right now. Our objective, which reflects the changing tastes and interests of our clientele, is to capture weddings in their real essence.
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