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Monsoon Wedding
Directed by: Mira Nair
Written by: Sabrina Dhawan
Starring: Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey, Shefali Shetty, Vijay Raaz, Tilotama shome, Vasundhara Das
Language: English, plus Hindi and Punjabi [with English subtitles]
Look for it at the video store under:
foreign [India]
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something: artsy-fartsy, lovey
The critic says: / 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: /5

Plot synopsis In modern Delhi, the well-to-do Verna family frantically prepares for the marriage of their lovely daughter Aditi. Aditi has been arranged to be married to handsome Henant Rai, who she’ll be meeting for the first time when he flies in from his home in the U.S. to begin the wedding festivities. Naturally, she’s less than certain that she’s doing the right thing in agreeing to this marriage, but the secret affair she’s been having with a well-known local TV celebrity is clearly heading nowhere, and Aditi thinks it may be time to move on with her life. As Aditi wrestles with her own conflicted emotions, her stressed-out father worries about the ballooning costs of the impending nuptials, and the possibility that their shifty wedding planner P.K. Dubey may very well be conning him left and right. Meanwhile, Dubey finds himself smitten with the Verna’s pretty, shy maid Alice, Aditi’s sexy cousin hooks up with Australian-bred Rahul, and friends and family from all over the globe are descending upon the Verma house en masse. But in the shadows of it all, cousin Ria finds herself struggling with the fact that the man who abused her as a child has just turned up at the wedding, and may now have his eyes set on another young girl.

Review I’m a sucker for weddings, big and small, elaborate and casual – they’re just so full of love and happiness and that warm, fuzzy feeling of being surrounded by friends and family. And if they’re a little chaotic sometimes – okay, most of the time – well, that’s part of what’s so wonderful about them. Though the wedding depicted in Mira Nair’s wonderful Monsoon Wedding doesn’t look like any wedding that I’ve ever experienced, it perfectly captures the madness, the frenzy, the stress, and the joy that make weddings of all cultures such amazingly exuberant events. Like the mishmash of languages that the characters speak – English mingles with Hindi mingles with Punjabi as seamlessly as if it were all part of a single hybrid language – Monsoon Wedding transcends culture and locale. It’s not a movie about an Indian wedding as much as it’s a movie about weddings in general – what they mean, why we have them, what people seek when they choose to unite in marriage. It’s so suffused with love and a firm faith in the strength of family bonds that you have to be a cynical, cynical soul indeed not to be seduced by its charms. Even with the darker element of Ria’s story – which works well to ground the movie and keep it from flying off into total fairy-tale land – the overall feeling is one of total, unfettered delight and playfulness. Between Adita and Henant’s growing mutual admiration and Dubey and Alice’s sweet love story, it’s hard not to come away from this movie without a big fat smile on your face. And if there’s one downside to this delicious movie treat, it’s that there’s such a richness of glorious color and a lushness to the visuals – you’re constantly being barraged by bright oranges and pinks and yellows and reds, endless bouquets of flowers and dancing, flowing saris – that after the credits roll and you turn up the lights, the real world looks a little drab and dull and flat in comparison. 
—reviewed by Yee-Fan Sun

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