Large families and big weddings are usually a recipe for major conflict, and this beautiful, layered, and complex family drama is definitely not an exception. Monsoon Wedding is centered around the upcoming nuptials of Aditi Verma (Vasundhara Das) and Hemant Rai (Parvin Das). Aditi’s parents arranged the marriage and though they are old friends of Hemant’s parents, the young couple have only known one another a few weeks when it’s the home stretch for the wedding planning and the date grows nearer. Relatives from all over the world convene to attend the wedding, all of them carrying various forms of baggage, and that’s when the drama begins.
Lalit Verma (Naseeruddin Shah) and his wife, Pimmi (Lillete Dubey) are secretly struggling to pay for their daughter’s wedding, Aditi is unsure if she wants to be married to Hemant, and her live-in cousin, Ria (Shefali Shah), seems deeply bothered by the arrival of her wealthy uncle Tej (Rajat Kapoor) and his wife. Even the wedding planner (Vijay Raaz) and Verma’s maid, Alice (Tillotama Shome), get pulled into the brewing storm, as years secrets and lies threaten to rain on the cermony.
Besides being as culturally and visually rich as one could imagine for a depiction of a modern Desi Indian ceremony, Monsoon Wedding features not only excellent cinematography, but also illustrates the bad and the good of what can happen in a very large family where keeping up appearances has always been given too great a priority. Families are never perfect, and Monsoon Wedding never pretends that they ever could be, but it does effectively stress the importance of honesty, speaking your truth, and never letting fear of the consequences silence you, or force you to swallow pain. The film also beautifully depicts why the solidarity of one’s family is a necessary and vital tool for healing.
I give this one 4.75 stars.