Monsoon Wedding

"Extraordinary"

Monsoon Wedding Review


Unlike most of my filmcritic.com colleagues, I don't live in New York or San Francisco, where the movie premieres are numerous. As a result, I'm often left to review less prominent releases. This means having to endure potentially soul-crushing endeavors, watching Soul Survivors and On The Line while the rest of the world doesn't fritter away perfectly good hours.

Then there are the times when I discover a gem, and my faith is absolutely restored. India native Mira Nair's award-winning Monsoon Wedding is such a treasure. It's funny, touching, dramatically forceful, and beautifully shot. It has some great songs. It offers a lingering and informative look at the Indian culture and its traditions. In fact, the more I describe its merits the further I drift into hyperbole.

Set in present day New Delhi, the plot deals with an array of family and friends as they prepare for a big wedding. The bride, Aditi (Vasundhara Das), goes through the motions of the pre-arranged marriage, but she can't keep herself away from her ex-boyfriend. However, most of the burdens lie with Aditi's parents, Lalit and Pimmi (Naseeruddin Shah and Lillete Dubey) who have more to worry about than just paying for the festivities. There's an adolescent son they can't agree on how to raise, a disturbing drop off in passion, and the unavoidable burden of getting older.

Then there are the guests. Among those prominently featured are a potential child molester who's also the bride's family's savior, a young man and woman who seem destined for romance but can't quite get their timing right, and the harried, single event planner who finds time to become infatuated with the family maid.

Nair, who helmed The Perez Family and Mississippi Masala, expertly handles what amounts to a two-hour plate spinning show. Despite some minor problems (the whole angle with the probable child molester is out of place and just plain creepy), Nair and screenwriter Sabrina Dhawan obviously care about the characters. We're allowed to see everyone's vulnerable side. When Lalit sobs in frustration on his wife's shoulders it matters because Nair and Dhawan take the time into making the characters more than just by-products of a sitcom predicament.

Aside from its dramatic prowess, Monsoon Wedding contains an unbridled intimacy and joy. Nair revels in the wedding traditions--the joyous songs, the colorful clothing, and the scenery. As corny as it sounds, there's so much warmth and honesty in Nair's direction that you almost feel as if you're really dancing and mingling with the other wedding guests.

With a riveting dramatic base, sympathetic characters and a love of her country's traditions, Nair eventually makes you part of the tight-knit clan she portrays. The best families, I feel, are able to have their love for each other outride all their other problems. Nair captures that theory on celluloid in a convincing and memorable fashion, and it's applied to a people that have been underrepresented in most movie houses. I'm hoping that Nair's great work helps to end that practice.

The DVD release of the film includes a making-of short and a commentary track from Nair.

Don't cry for me, India.



Monsoon Wedding

Facts and Figures

Run time: 114 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 12th December 2001

Box Office USA: $13.7M

Box Office Worldwide: $30.8M

Distributed by: USA Films

Production compaines: Mirabai Films, Inc., Keyfilms Roma, Pandora Filmproduktion, Paradis Films, IFC Films, Mirabai Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 113 Rotten: 6

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Lalit Verma, as Pimmi Verma, as Parabatlal Kanhaiyalal 'P.K.' Dubey, Tillotama Shome as Alice, as Aditi Verma, as Hemant Rai, Sameer Arya as Vikram Mehta, as Ayesha Verma, Kemaya Kidwai as Aliya Verma, Ishaan Nair as Varun Verma, as Rahul Chadha, as Saroj Rai, as Mohan Rai, Shefali Shah as Ria Verma

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

Advertisement
The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Partisan Movie Review

Partisan Movie Review

With his feature debut, young Australian filmmaker Ariel Kleiman tells a creepy story about a...

The Revenant Movie Review

The Revenant Movie Review

A wrenching saga of survival and revenge, Alejandro G. Inarritu's new epic is just as...

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

The Hateful Eight Movie Review

Quentin Tarantino is a filmmaker who simply can't be ignored, especially when he lobs a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.