Mira Nair should be recognized as one of the world’s best directors. Her previous films Salaam Bombay and Kama Sutra were both excellent films and Monsoon Wedding is also. Nair’s films look lush and rich in color and texture. In this film, Nair’s use of rain, as both a metaphor and as a natural weather device is exceptional. You can almost feet the humidity of India after a rainstorm.
The story is set in modern-day Delhi. The city is trying hard to Americanize itself. Economically, the city is not unlike a US city, but there is still the clash of modernism versus Punjabi tradition.
Aditi is the daughter of a Delhi businessman. (We see him playing golf with his friends and worrying about paying for the wedding.) She works for a television studio where her married boyfriend is carrying on an affair. He has told her he will leave his wife for her, but she has been waiting for too long. She is about to enter into a prearranged marriage with an Indian businessman from Houston.
Both Aditi and her husband-to-be express concern about the arranged marriage, but figure all marriages are a gamble. How well do you really know someone else? They make a very engaging couple also, forced to share themselves and their feelings in a vulnerable time to a stranger.
As the generations of family members converge on the wedding day, the differences between generations and opinions can be seen. At one point, a beautiful wedding song is interrupted by a cell phone call.
The beautiful gown she wears as a bride is just covering a modern Indian woman. And like the beautiful, rich tapestries, there is a tapestry of emotions and feelings and secrets woven into this family’s history.
There are also some very sweet scenes here, featuring the lonely wedding planner who goes from businessman to lovesick puppy when he meets a girl in the wedding party.
This film works on many levels. As a love story, it is a very interesting, sweet story. However, it is also a document of the changing times in places like Delhi, India where becoming Americanized means becoming successful. And the reason this film can cross over to American audiences is… although Nair tells the story of modern-day Delhi, this is not a film about India, it is a film about people and their lives, to which we can all relate.