Directed by Mira Nair
Starring: Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey, Shefali Shah, Vasundhara Das, Vijay Raaz, Tillotama Shome
Written by Sabrina Dhawan
Mira Nair has made a career out of beautiful films that empower women and men in most unusual ways. Her female
characters, seemingly entrenched in tradition, make strides in their lives within the margins they are allowed. Male characters are anything but cliche; they love their women fiercely and with much compassion. No movie in her repertoire shows the lives of these living, breathing, crying and laughing people as well as Monsoon Wedding.
The movie starts off much as one would suspect, with a nervous father Lalit (N. Shah) berating his wedding planner, PK (Raaz). This scene gives way to the bride Aditi (Das) to be and her cousin Ria (S. Shah). Aditi is having an affair with her married ex-boss and when her cousin implores her to show respect for her coming nuptials, Aditi takes a shot at Ria, asking what her unmarried cousin knows of passion. Like the slick sheen of a slowly melting icy blue heart, the look on Ria’s face tells us all we need to know.
Wedding planner PK has his hands full with the increasingly tense father. While trying to meet tight deadlines at the sight and on the phone with other vendors offsite, he accidentally bumps into the maid, Alice (Shome). Instantly smitten, he now has one more giant issue to deal with. The passion he feels is easy to identify with, and I will never look at Marigolds the same way again.
Father Lalit, discovering along the way, the difference between what is
agreed upon and what you get, discovers that this expensive wedding is getting more expensive, and sets out to borrow more money to get his daughter the wedding he thinks she deserves.
To give away more would ruin the wonder of discovering this movie for yourself. The acting is superb, with Naseeruddin Shah and Shefali Shah standing head and shoulders above the rest of the stellar cast. I would put both of their performances in the top five on any I have ever witnessed. The themes encountered in the story are not unfamiliar. The resolutions for the themes are peerless in their consideration and compassion for each other. The resolution between Ria and her Uncle Lalit induce tears just thinking about it. I would love to be part of this family, warts and all.
Another strength of the film is the use of colors. Nair is among the most visually talented artists of her generation. The scenes
come alive with color at all times, but also lend intricately to the overall mood of each scene, in much the same way one might use the soundtrack. In the way she joins the amazing visuals the marvelous soundtrack, the deceptively simple screenplay and fantastic portrayals, Nair demonstrates she is a master director. Monsoon Wedding is one for the ages.