#66 #Scriptors100BestFilms #Monsoon_Wedding
Monsoon Wedding is not an art movie. It is full of art though.This Story of a typical Punjabi monsoon wedding amidst the colors of multiple human emotions wins your heart. ‘Wedding” often has the energy of a Bollywood spectacle, with its ingratiatingly incongruous shuffles of genres; we even get a handful of musical numbers, including a warm, offhanded song on the pleasures of married life performed by a group of women. But just like how the monsoon rains tampered with Delhi’s summer wedding, this movie also offers a lot of subtle surprises.
Lalit Verma (Naseeruddin Shah) is a wealthy yet quintessential father who is working towards a hitch free wedding of his daughter Aditi. Though familiar with Western ways, he seldom sided with them and was affirmed on the nuptials done properly and traditionally. Disillusioned with her long time relationship with Vikram — a man who is almost twice her age — Aditi (Vasundhara Das) suddenly agrees to submit to an arranged marriage with Hemant, an engineer from Houston. Yet as the ceremony nears, she gets cold feet and returns to see her former lover — even though it could spell disaster for everyone involved. Meanwhile, Aditi’s comely 17-year-old cousin Ayesha is coming to terms with her blossoming sexuality and has her sights set on Rahul, another relative who is a college student in Australia. Then there is Rai — also Aditi’s cousin — who has a shocking revelation to make. Film concentrates on the fraught preparations and the wedding itself, with Dubey(Vijay Raaz)’s eccentric wedding planner falling head over heels in love with the maid, to complicate matters.The resulting entertainment is just a little facile at times but the five interconnecting love stories, ending with a wedding amid the monsoon, are encompassed with considerable skill.
Performances in a movie like this are the key factor and Nair has managed to extract superlative performances from the entire cast. With a cast of established and ever reputable veterans to up-and-coming talented newcomers each and every performer leaves their mark. Naseerudin Shah as Lalit gives a performance, which is in fact, a textbook in acting itself. One can learn so much about acting by just watching Shah. His facials, dialogue delivery, body language, emotional scenes or comedy scenes all get etched into the viewers minds and Mr. Shah proves he is still a talent to reckon with, all he needs is a good role and script. It is clearly another landmark in his career.
Cinematographer Declan Quinn, who according to Meers is ‘a poet of light’, proves that his sobriquet is well-earned. His hand-held camera pans the Delhi landscape to capture the hustle and bustle of the streets with as much equanimity as it frames the riot of colour at the mehndi and sangeet celebrations.The unobtrusive lens captures the tender kiss that Ayesha and Rahul share; it finds P K Dubey spying on Alice who’s trying on the wedding ornaments and moves in, as Lalit breaks down and seeks comfort in Pimmi. Quinn’s craft makes a world of difference.
The ensemble cast puts in a spirited performance. Naseer is his brillant self. Shefali Shetty, Vijay Raaz (who’s perfectly cast) and Tilotama Shome are exceptional.And, thanks to a marvellous script, have well-etched characters. Lilette, Vasundhara and Rajat are pretty convincing. Alice and Dubey’s moments together are awkward and sweet, while Dubey’s interactions with his workers provide much of the film’s comic relief. These characters also serve as a contrast to the wealthier family that employs them. The way Aditi’s father handles the dark family secret shows the fierce loyalty that binds this family and drives its story. And, of course, romance and love bloom throughout, as vibrant and delicate as the marigolds that brighten the film’s landscape.The remaining make the grade.
Kudos also to scriptwriter Sabrina Dhawan, for weaving a deft tale, for staying true to herself and most importantly for imparting believability to her creations.Mira Nair’s conviction is commendable. She doesn’t shy away from calling a spade a spade. She treats her subject with admirable dexterity and the final product is not as disturbing as Salaam Bombay! And 30 days to shoot an entire film, with a cast of close to 62, I’m sure, is no mean task. Pity then that Mira’s fifth cinematic effort, Bollywood on her own terms , won’t find itself vying for an Academy Award.
The high point of this movie is its selective compiled music by Mychael Danna, Several tracks like ‘Kawa kawa’, ‘Aaj jaane ki zid na karo’ and ‘Chunri chunri’ became a regular selection for weddings after this wedding movie.As a director Mira Nair, gives her finest piece of work to date and one of the best pieces of cinema I have seen from Bollywood in recent times. This is not your regular “masala” film and Mira has been very bold by tackling themes like sex and incest. She takes utmost care in directing every scene in the movie and handles it with the right amount of sensitivity needed in a movie of this sort. Though the sexual aspect of the film is surely made for an International audience, outside of the Indian family filmi lovers. Never the less, if I had to list the scenes to note in this movie I would be listing a lot of portions since as the movie is filled with classic scenes.Monsoon wedding , a tale of family, love, and culture in India is a joy to experience — from the moment the infectious Bollywood-esque music booms over the opening credits to the wildly romantic and satisfying conclusion. The film explores Indian culture and how characters both preserve that culture and shake it up. It also reveals contrasts: modern and traditional, young and old, rich and poor, East and West, appearance and reality.
This film was screened at the 2001 Toronto and Venice Film Festivals. At Venice, Monsoon Wedding won the prestigious Golden Lion award.
Movie Buff. Yohaann is a film critic with Jagran Prakashan Limited. He has been associated with Print and TV media as a branding professional. Presently he is a screenwriter trying to bring in some good scripts up for Bollywood. At Scriptors he works as a writer and handles business development.
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