TWO FAMILIES FROM DIFFERENT CULTURES COME TOGETHER FOR AN ARRANGED MARRIAGE IN NEW DELHI DURING THE MONSOON SEASON. BETWEEN A STRESSED-OUT FATHER, A BRIDE WITH A BURNING PASSION FOR SOMEONE ELSE, AND A WEDDING PLANNER WITH... more » HER OWN AGENDA, FORGET THE RAIN, IT'LL BE A MIRACLE IF THE WEDDING HAPPENS.« less
Cynthia R. (Honeygirl62) from GASPORT, NY Reviewed on 2/6/2014...
I thought this movie was fantastic and covered several very serious social issues.
Barbara M. Reviewed on 8/11/2013...
This has the romance of a Bollywood movie, and is a movie that draws in much deeper issues at the same time. Like life, it is more complex than "happily ever after". A woman who is having an illicit affair with her boss is engaged to be married to a man she has never met. She has realized her paramour will never leave his wife and she has decided not to wait for him. Her family provides the side plots during the preparations for the upcoming weekend wedding. A brother who is less manly than his father would like is being threatened with military school. A cousin recognises the signs of a rich uncle trying to take advantages with a younger family member and discloses her own secret of how he abused her as a child. Allegiances are challenged, moral questions emerge all while the joyful preparations are being made for the wedding. A wonderful side story is the surprise romance of the wedding planner with a family servant whose kindness sweeps him off of his feet. In all a somewhat complex movie with a happy ending or two.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 11/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is another outstanding film by director Mira Nair, who has previously directed such wonderful films as Academy Award nominee "Salaam Bombay", the lush and erotic "Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love", and "Mississippi Masala". This is a director whose very touch turns all her films to gold. She is truly an artist, and her films are palpable with feeling and emotion that move the storyline. 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 maintianing 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. Aditi, the daughter who is to be married, is a walking paradox, agreeing to an arranged marriage, while simultaneously having an affair with a married man. The role is beautifully played by relative newcomer, Vasundhara Das, who in real life is an Indian pop star. Her prospective bridegroom, Hemant Rai, is played with modern sensiblility, by the very attractive Parvin Dabas, a real life, male fashion model, in his first silver screen role.
Vijay Raaz, in a breakout performance as P. K. Dubey, the wedding events coordinator, adds a deft comedic touch. It is his poignant wooing of the Verma family's maid, Alice, that nearly steals the show. Look for the nightime marigold scene in which Dubey puts Shakespeare's Romeo to shame. Tilotama Shome, in her first silver screen role, brings a subtle, sensual shyness to the part of Alice that is touching. Theirs is an interesting coupling, as P. K. Dubey personifies the new India, with his cell phone, his entreperneurial flair, and his email address, while Alice, the shy servant girl who is always dressed in a sari, seems to symbolize a more traditional India.The film is a polyglot of languages, with English, Hindi, and Punjabi spoken at different times by various family members. I confess that I found it a little confusing to have the subtitles crop up, on and off, and I also found the English spoken a little difficult to understand, at times. So, thanks to DVD technology, I was able to watch the film with English subtitles on the entire time, so as not to miss a thing. The cinematography is beautiful in this film, with lush, vibrant colors throughout. The occasional use of handheld cameras throughout the film gives it the feel of a docudrama, at times, which is very effective, as the film is a voyeuristic look into a family. Moreover, this filming technique adds to the cacaphony of feeling and emotion that abounds in this film.The DVD offers a limited number of features, the most interesting one being the director's commentary, which is an insightful look into the making of the film, as well as the backround and reasons for each scene. It is clear that for the director, who is herself Punjabi, this film was a labor of love. Bravo!"
Colorful, joyous Indian film
Matthew Horner | USA | 10/06/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Occasionally, we Americans are treated to a delightful foreign film. I suspect that lots of these are made every year, but the powers that be long ago decided that we have neither the patience nor the inclination to watch them. One that did get through was the joyous Indian treat, "Monsoon Wedding".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."
I laughed, I cried....it was better than Cats!
Kotori | 04/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is a little bit of everything: a great family drama, a musical, a romantic comedy...I LOVED it!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!"
Dancing in the Rain!
Kotori | Australia | 12/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Grinning from ear to ear for hours after watching this movie, I happily commend it to the humble viewer.
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.
Aditi's cousin Ria is troubled by Aditi's decision to go through with the arranged marriage, and proves herself a wise counsellor with a fierce love for family. Her character is well fleshed out with another thread involving some painful family secrets, which I must confess, I saw coming.
Nontheless the film, and the characters, handling of the emotions is superbly done, and very tear-inducing.
The moment the taps really turned on for me, was when Aditi's father (in a sublime performance)says "sometimes when I look at my children, I feel love which I almost cannot bear" which is a sentiment I relate to on such a deep level.
On another note, it was refreshing to see so many "full figured" girls. They were beautiful in their bounty, and in particular Ria was a gorgeous full-bodied celebration of womanly curves & the appeal of a warm smile and glowing personality. She (the actress) look strikingly similar to Elizabeth Taylor in her Cleopatra!
I was amused to see the "Australian cousin" what a genuine accent he had, and if you watch, do notice how even with his broken finger he is the one who ends up carrying everything (all the time) as well as serving at the bar, which is a bit of a comment on his heritage isn't it!
Loved the wonderful Indian accents, and their sharp little witticisms that were peppered through the script, and the interesting variation in their colouring. Half the families relatives looked no more than partly Indian, in particular the main villian.
Last thoughts? I want an Indian Wedding with the amazing bamboo construction bedecked in silks & flowers! (and I wouldn't mind the roominess of a sari, come to think of it!)
Interestingly after I pressed my father to watch it, he had an entirely different reaction, commenting on the degradation of their society & integration of Western values. But that's a different review all together.
There are moments of sublime beauty, the cinematography and the eye to fine detail are exquisite, and this combined with the script, actors (That and the constant procession of gorgeous males) & humanity of the film found me elated by the final scenes.
kotori Dec 2004 - firstname.lastname@example.org"
Stunning, visually and emotionally
Klarenka | 07/15/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the things that struck me about "Monsoon Wedding" was the colors of the film. There are electric colors everywhere: the orange of the marigold flowers, the exotic saris the women wear, the green of the foliage, the beautiful wedding tent. All these colors assault the viewer's eye in the most pleasurable of ways.
Another excellent part of the film was the way Mira Nair explored relationships, both familial relationships [cousins, father to son] and male-female relationships [the married couples]. I thought the different relationships among the male-female couples was especially interesting. The actors did a very good job, making me believe that I was watching a documentary of a family, not a movie about a "staged" family.
I also enjoyed the mix of Punjab and English spoken in the film. It made the movie that much more realistic, as the characters switched effortlessly between the two languages in conversation.
This movie seems to only reinforce my theory that foreign films are way better than American movies. I strongly and highly recommend this movie to everyone. You will enjoy it whole-heartedly!!"