FILM REVIEWHHH1 2
Love With Monsoon ForceBy Johnathan Choi
Directed by Mira Nair
Written by Sabrina Dhawan
Starring Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey, Shefali Shetty, and Vijay Raaz
Mira Nair’s new internationally acclaimed film, Monsoon Wedding, playfully crashes through the kaleidoscope of love’s many manifestations. Director Nair beautifully intertwines his intimate, light-hearted style of film-making with a well-written story by Sabrina Dhawan. Friends and family come together for what was meant to be a straightforward, simple wedding ceremony only to be reawakened by the beauty and strength of love bringing people together. Well-written and beautifully shot, Nair’s film is far from a sappy chick flick. It is a colorful romantic comedy that all moviegoers with even the remotest experience in love will enjoy.
Monsoon Wedding’s strength lies in the fact that everyone in the audience can find something to relate to in the film’s abundance of well-developed characters and subplots of relationships. Writer Sabrina Dhawan intertwines this multiplicity of stories with a playful touch of joy that results in an exhilarating emotional ride.
The story begins four days before the wedding of a young Indian couple. The fiancÉe, Aditi Verna, has been promised to a handsome, successful young man from America whom she has never met before. What most of her family does not know is that she is still sleeping with her ex-boyfriend, a married Indian TV host.
Meanwhile, the whole Verna family has come from all over India, Australia and the United States to the Verna household to partake in the ceremonious wedding traditions and festivities. Aditi’s father must take on the role of head of the family, a role that has been vacant since the passing away of his well-respected older brother. He discovers that he cannot do this without relearning what it is to love.
The dilemma of Aditi’s precarious situation and the character development of Aditi’s father are just two stories among the multitude of Monsoon Wedding’s subplots that reflect the many aspects of love and relationships. In this close-knit Indian family, it is the familial love that lies at the core of each these character’s lives. It is a delight to see how the traditions and past of shared experiences bring the family together as they sing, laugh and cry with one another.
The comedy of light-hearted, delightful characters and playful scenes of courtship keep the movie floating over the serious subplots. It is not only the wealthy Vernas who are caught up in love, but the servants, too. The skinny, marigold-eating event manager for the wedding has planned over a hundred weddings for other people and yet has not been able to find a woman to settle down with. His bitter, sarcastic heart, partly due to living at home with a most disagreeable mother, melts the instant he lays eyes on Alice, the Verna’s servant girl. He falls deeply in love with her and they engage in an awkward and entertaining courtship. And what would a movie on love’s many manifestations be without the lustful, hormone-driven youth who push their limits and grow in love’s sweet intoxication.
Nair’s filmmaking accomplishes this with a sensitivity, coherence, and creativity that not only flows with the story but adds much more to it. Monsoon Wedding is filled with moist, vibrant colors and flowers that set the upbeat mood of the film as Nair portrays each character playfully. The angles, pauses, timing and movement of the camera hold an intimate dialogue between the scenes and the audience. At times, the visual dialogue is so strong that it is unnecessary to follow the subtitles in order to understand what the characters are saying and expressing.
Nair’s accomplished workmanship, Dhawan’s well-written story, and strong performances by an all-star Indian cast make Monsoon Wedding a great movie for an upbeat night of playful, delicious enjoyment. Come see this internationally acclaimed film and be delighted, even reawakened, by its vibrant joy.