Monsoon Wedding (The Criterion Collection)
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Though a low budget film, it features high budget, quality acting, as well as an absorbing story and world class direction. It focuses on the arranged marriage of a young, upper class, Punjabi woman in Delhi, India, which is a mecca for Punjabis. It offers a birdseye view at a family in transition, one that is ringing in new values, while maintaining the old ones. Moreover, as in all families, there are many joyous moments, as well as troubling ones.
While the focus is on the wedding celebration and all the preparation and rituals surrounding it, there are five subplots in the film, all of which are interesting, but it is the acting by the ensemble cast that makes the film so memorable. Naseeruddin Shah gives an award calibre performance as Lalit Verma, the financially strapped patriarch who wants all to go right with the wedding, but who, at the eleventh hour, is forced to confront a secret tragedy from the past and make a decision that shows his sensitivity and love for his family. His is truly a magnificent performance.
Shefali Shetty, with her large, expressive eyes, is superb as Ria Verma, Lalit's dead brother's daughter, who is forced to reveal a terrible secret from her past in order to prevent a tragedy from taking place in the present. She gives a performance so soulful that the viewer cannot fail to be moved.Read more ›
A family in Delhi is overjoyed after one of its daughters accepts an arranged marriage with a successful Indian engineer who lives in Houston, TX. The girl's reason for accepting isn't out of respect for tradition. She's simply given up hope that her married lover will ever divorce his wife. When the prespective groom arrives, he turns out to be a really nice guy, and the bride-to-be agonizes over whether or not to be honest about her past. Meanwhile, the man hired to build the wedding tents finds himself head over heels in love with the family's shy young maid.
There are lots of laughs in "Monsoon Wedding", as well as many witty and insightful observations about middle-class Indian society. While there is a fascination in seeing some of the more exotic aspects of life in India, the most satisfying aspect of the film is its way of showing how universal the joys of love and of family are.
Typical of cosmopolitan families outside of the USA, the characters often switch from one language to another while speaking. In this case, they speak Hindu, Punjabi and English. I know some moviegoers can't stand subtitles, but, to me, the use of multiple languages simply adds to this film's charms.
From the opening sequences, the fabulous scenes of monsoonal India, this lovingly detailed film is part Shakesperean comedy with Dubaie the event planner as [...] part realistic family drama, and round to pure escapist romance.
The movie follows a couple of tangents, and various romantic subplots, but is set around a wedding (as the title shouts).
Deciding she can not wait any longer for her married lover to divorce his wife, Aditi asks her parents to arrange a marriage for her and is hopeful that moving to America to live with her new husband will help her overcome her heartbreak and build a new life.
Her doting parents are struggling to put on the most wonderful celebration they can afford, and preparing to receive all the extended family members who are arriving for the wedding.
The parents utter absorbtion in the task is demonstrated when the mother nearly leaves the house with her curlers still in - a feeling mother's around the world about to launch their children into married life would relate to!
When Dubaie (the wedding planner/event manager) first debut's in the movie, he comes across as an abrasive, obnoxious cockrell, entirely self absorbed until someone else intrudes on his sphere, then he falls desperately in love.
I thoroughly enjoyed his portrayal, his ability to skull water whilst grinning cheesily, and the wonderful quote "10 minutes exactly & approximately", which is just such a commentary on the Indian schedules. The meddling workers were also a delight.Read more ›
The movie is set in New Delhi and takes the audience for a wild ride covering the last 4-5 days leading up to a big wedding between the daughter of an upper-middle-class Punjabi family and a "NRI" (non-resident Indian) who's an engineer living in Houston. They're meeting for the first time in the days before the wedding, which is only one of the movie's engaging storylines. My favorite was the romance between the goofy wedding planner and the family maid (culminating in one of the most romantic, make-you-weep moments I have seen in any movie). The movie also includes the requisite creepy uncle, who drives a disturbing storyline that helps take the saccharine edge off the movie.
Director Mira Nair does a fabulous job introducing her characters -- they are so finely crafted that dialogue is totally unnecessary in a number of key scenes. The actors were wonderfully adept at communicating with little more than their eyes and hands.
The music is GREAT and makes you want to get up and dance along with the characters (whose exuberance in the wedding scenes was such a joy to watch). The cinematography is lush and gorgeous -- I attended a wedding in India several years ago and this movie really took me back to the riot of color at Indian weddings. I also loved the authentic feel of the movie -- especially where the characters move seamlessly between three languages, sometimes in a single sentence.
More than anything, the movie is a lot of fun -- any large gathering of family members is likely to generate laughable moments, and Nair mines the heck out of this one. I can't wait for this to come out on DVD so I can watch it again and again!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love this movie. Thoroughly entertaining, engaging characters, beautiful scenery and costuming.Published 2 days ago by Kristin L. Rupprecht
great picture on many levels and I loved the dancing. Issue of sexual abuse was handled well. Also done well were complications around an arranged marriage. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Chal
Great movie. Wrote a paper about it for grad school for Cultural Diversity class.Published 4 months ago by Patricia A. Loy
Why should this movie be one of the top 10 movies that women should see? I don't agree with that assessment due to the harshness of child rape. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
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