Monsoon Wedding

Starring:
Naseeruddin Shah as Lalit Verma
Lillete Dubey as Pimmi Verma
Shefali Shetty as Ria Verma
Vijay Raaz as P.K.Dubey
Tilotama Shome as Alice
Vasundhara Das as Aditi Verma
Parvin Dabas as Hemant Rai
Kulbhushan Kharbanda as C.L.Chadha
Kamini Khanna as Shashi Chadha
Rajat Kapoor as Tej Puri
Neha Dubey as Ayesha Verma
Kemaya Kidwai as Aliya Verma
Ishaan Nair as Varun Verma

Special Features:
The Making of Monsoon Wedding
Feature Commentary with Mira Nair

Other Info:
English, French, and Spanish Languages
1.85:1 Widescreen
Running Time: 1 Hr. 55 Mins.
Dolby Digital
DTS
5.1 Surround
Captions Subtitles

Synopsis:
Traditional and modern Indian cultures collide in this film about the days before an arranged marriage. The bride is actually in the middle of an affair with a married man, but agrees to the arranged marriage to prompt him to leave his wife. Little does she expect that she’ll actually fall in love with the arranged groom. As the father of the bride freaks out about the wedding arrangements, other skeletons in the family’s closet are revealed. Meanwhile, the wedding planner Dubey is feeling the pressures of becoming older and being unmarried. Desperately wishing to be married, he meets and falls in love with the family’s maid. It looks like there may be two wedding in the future of this family.

This film is rated R for language, including some sex related dialogue.

The Movie:
This is not my kind of movie at all. It’s not something I would have gone out of my way to see. I would have turned the DVD off if I was not reviewing it. I found it incredibly boring and unentertaining. Despite my distaste for it, I did find the Indian aspect of it interesting. The clash between modern and traditional culture was something new to me. The contrasts between the two are highlighted throughout the story. You see a very traditional Indian wedding, yet everyone running around with suits and cel phones. You hear old and new Indian music. You see an arranged marriage and a woman having a very Western type of marital affair. Yet you not only see the two worlds blend well together, you often see the traditional culture still be favored. The arranged marriage works out best for the young couple.

Another interesting aspect is the language in the film. The people in the movie go from speaking English in one sentence to speaking their native language in the next without batting an eye. What you end up with is a movie that is half subtitled, half in English. At first it’s a little confusing to switch back and forth, but you eventually get used to it. It ends up making the film rather unique.

After watching “Monsoon Wedding,” I went and asked my Indian co-worker about some of the things I saw in the story. For example, there was a heavy emphasis on marigold flowers at the wedding. I asked if there was some significance. He didn’t know. I asked about why white colors were used at funerals and why bright colors were used at weddings. He didn’t really know of that being of any significance either. I guess he’s either pretending to be Indian or he’s really out of touch with the homeland, but it made me wonder how much of what I saw in the movie was representative of India.

The Extras:
There’s not much in the way of extras on this disc. There’s a documentary on the making of the film from the Independent Film Channel. It’s a good featurette because you get to see the director and cast talk about the film and explain what they were attempting to create in Monsoon Wedding. It helped make clearer to me what they were aiming to depict with some of the scenes. It didn’t make me like the movie any more, but it was nice to see it after viewing the movie. I skipped the director’s commentary because I really didn’t want to sit through the film a second time.

The Bottom Line:
I would only recommend this movie to people who are into the independent film scene, and even then with some caution. I don’t think general audiences would enjoy this movie much at all.

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