Thursday, 18 February 2010

America Makes Everyone Give Up Smoking.

Mira Nair's 2001 international hit Monsoon Wedding is a seemingly simple but surprisingly complex tale set around a traditional Punjabi wedding during the rainy season. Expensive and elaborate, it brings together family from all corners of the globe, one of very few things that can do this - guests travel from Australia, the US, all over India.

Ostensibly, the film centres on the father of the bride, Lalit (Naseeruddin Shah), but his connectedness with the family sees a number of subplots come in. The bride, Aditi (Vasundhara Das), has been having an affair with her married boss, Vikram (Sameer Arya), a television presenter who will not leave his wife. Thus, she is having an arranged marriage to Hemant (Parvin Debas), whom she only met a couple of weeks earlier. It is rushed as he lives in America. During the film, they get to know each other for the first time in the couple of days leading up to the wedding, including arguments and reconciliations - a relationship and courtship crammed together into a matter of hours.

Ria (Shefali Shetty), a cousin of Aditi, provides the dramatic subplot, having been abused by an uncle Tej (Rajat Kapoor), Lalit's brother in law. She speaks out over the wedding weekend to stop a similar fate befalling her young cousin Aliyah. The contracted wedding event organiser PK Dubey (Vijay Raaz) gives us what is the true, love for love's sake subplot (as opposed to the pragmatic love story of the bride and groom) as he falls for the family's maid Alice (Tillotama Shome.) There is a gay subplot in the lack of masculinity shown by Aditi's younger brother Varun (Ishaan Nair), and a more modern flirt-fest involving Aditi's cousin, recently returned from Melbourne.

It's a lot of stories, and I think that doesn't help the story. It just feels like too many. Sure, it's a look at what goes on in the lead up to a wedding, the family secrets that can come out when under pressure, the feelings spread through the air, but none of the storylines quite hit home. I think they all get diluted a little too much by having to compete for air. It did look beautiful, however, captured by Declan Quinn, and the colours in the design of the film were, as expected for something taking heavy Bollywood influence, bold, rich and stunning.

It was an ok film, I'd say. Not a great one. Not a bad one. A fine way to spend a couple of hours, but not one I'm going to go back and repeat in a huge hurry. 3 stars.

No comments:

Post a Comment