Why am I giving such a terse review and such a low rating, then?
Well, as some of you know, DVDs have a mode where they can disable most of the user controls -- you can't fast forward or search backward, you can't skip to a different chapter, you can't even enter the DVD menu.
Most movies use this strictly for the copyright notice. This doesn't bother me at all.
The Monsoon Wedding DVD, which I just purchased and brought home and sat down with a friend who had never seen the film to watch, uses this mode to force you, each and every time you want to watch your copy of Monsoon Wedding, to watch a trailer for another movie and a commercial for the Monsoon Wedding soundtrack.
Even if you've seen these commercials a thousand times, still, you have to pay your dues and sit through the advertisements before you'll be allowed to watch your movie. Not only can you not skip them, you can't even fast forward through them.
You'll know every word of these commercials as well as you know the movie. In fact, one could say that they've been more or less integrated into the movie by tying the two inextricably, except that at least with the movie you can skip to chapters you like or watch only parts, whereas theres no way around these if you wish to watch the film.
Cross-cultural/generational and traditional vs. modern themes have always been a favorite of mine, but here these ideas are explored in layered levels, w/ all of their subtle complexities. There is nothing hackneyed in this presentation. There are various subplots weaving throughout, carrying the viewer through many twists and turns at a perfect pace. Observing the wedding planner Dubey (Vijay Raaz) as he falls in love is especially sweet and charming and funny. Yet this film is by no means a frivolous fluff piece. It has its dramatic and unexpected moments, which serve to enrich one's understanding and empathy for the characters involved.
Oh, and did I mention that the music is delightful? Can't wait to get my copy of the soundtrack (it's on order) to play in the car. I'm also eager to view some of Mira Nair's other films, since she certainly did a superb job with "Monsoon Wedding".