Starring: Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey, Shefali Shetty
Director: Mira Nair
Vibrant and large, Monsoon Wedding is the story of the events leading up to and surrounding an arranged marriage in a middle class family in India. It has a little bit of everything: romance, drama, family secrets, tears and laughter. There’s quite a large cast of characters, with guests attending the wedding from across the globe, but each is well delineated. The parents of the bride, who just want to see their children happy. The bride who has agreed to the match because her affair with her married boss is making her miserable, her groom is a kind hearted man from Texas. The son who’s love of dance makes his parents concerned. The servant who might just be falling for the wedding planner. The woman whose childhood was horribly marred by a man who is at the wedding, …
It’s a film that’s best if you sink into it. It’s got a 2 hour run time, and is full of music, movement and life. It’s about a wedding, so there’s dancing and beautiful colour and music, and what feels like a huge cast. The dialogue slips from English to Punjabi and Hindi, often from sentence to sentence, which I loved because it felt so natural. It’s a film that feels full, but also very naturalistic. It feels much more grounded and real than a lot of the Bollywood fare, which makes it feel more insightful, but it still has that beauty and colour, as well as the high emotions that Indian cinema has become known for.
Winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in the year of it’s release, it’s a delightful film.
See It If: you like big family dramas and weddings, with all the attendant truths coming out and people falling in love all over the place. Rich and colourful.